Alaska Salmon Fishing: The Unalakleet River Experience

The Unalakleet River: A World-Class Fishing Destination

The Unalakleet River is renowned for one of the planet’s most impressive Pacific Salmon runs. Anglers can expect:

  • A variety of salmon including King, Chum, Silver (Coho), Pink Salmon
  • Other species like Dolly Varden and native Arctic Grayling
  • Accessible wade fishing with gentle banks and large gravel bars
  • The North River’s clear waters, offering a more technical fishing experience
  • Sloughs and oxbows, ideal for targeting resting Salmon

Its proximity to Norton Sound and the Bering Sea ensures that the fish caught are often described as hot, fresh, bright, and chrome.

A Typical Day on the River- Guided Fishing

Each fishing day begins with guests meeting their guide at the dock. The day’s journey involves:

  • Traveling in a G3 aluminum Jet Boat
  • Fishing two anglers per boat with a guide
  • Use of conventional or fly tackle
  • High-quality tackle and gear for safety and comfort
  • Instruction and guidance from highly skilled guides

Our guides aim not just for a productive day but also to enrich anglers with a deeper understanding of the Unalakleet River’s abundant resources.

Gearing Up: Personalized Fishing Experience

Whether you prefer using your own gear or need to borrow ours, we’ve got you covered:

  • Guests are welcome to bring their own waders, rods, and gear
  • Waders, boots, and rods are available for guest use
  • Guides provide all necessary equipment for a successful day
  • Fishing licenses prepared in advance based on pre-arrival information

This personalized approach ensures that every angler, regardless of experience level or gear preference, has a memorable and successful fishing experience on the Unalakleet River.

Species Available at the Unalakleet River Lodge

King Salmon – Called Kings for a reason, The Unalakleet hosts a healthy run of these powerful Salmon. The fish may get as large as 50 pounds in the Unalakleet drainage but average 18 to 25 pounds. Preferred methods of fishing for these powerful fighters include back trolling with plugs and drifting streamers while Spey fishing. The King Salmon fishing season commonly runs middle June to early July.

Chum or Keta Salmon – Without a doubt the most overlooked species of all the salmonids. These fish dig deeper and pull harder than any other pacific salmon, pound for pound. The Unalakleet’s Chum Salmon max out around 20 pounds with 10 to 14 pound examples common. Streamers on a 7 to 9 weight rod is a productive fly set up while spinners on medium heavy 6-7 foot spinning rods are effective as well. These fish begin running the Unalakleet drainage in late June and continue all the way into late August.

Pink Salmon – The Humpy and The Hen! An incredibly prolific Salmon that when targeted can easily yield an angler the coveted “100 Fish Day.” Five to Eight weight Fly rods, medium action spinning outfits, or a commemorative Barbie Issue Zebco in the hands of a young angler are suggested outfits for these small but vitally important Salmon. The Pink run starts in early July and continues into August.

Silver or Coho Salmon – The Unalakleet River’s unmatched Salmon run. Truly, Unmatched. These acrobatic fish average 8 to 12 pounds and top the scales every season at 15 pounds and higher. Seven to Nine weight fly rods throwing streamers and wogs are successful, as well as medium to heavy action spinning outfits. Silver Salmon begin their run in late July and continue on into September.

Dolly Varden and Arctic Char – Unalakleet River Lodges’ sea run trout. These beautiful examples of the Char family are aggressive and punchy fighters that test the skill of anglers looking for a one of a kind trout fishing experience. Dolly Varden can reach ten pounds in the river system but are more common weighing three to five pounds. Suggested Fly outfits are 5 to 7 weight with beads, streamers, flesh flies, and sculpin patterns while light to medium spinning outfits throwing Mepps, Pixie, or Vibrax spinners are also successful. Dolly Varden run all summer in the Unalakleet River drainage.

Arctic Grayling – Grayling are a classic fly fishing target. A beautiful long dorsal fin with turquoise to jet black coloration makes the Arctic Grayling a visually stunning fish and their voracious appetite for everything from dry flys to mouse patterns matches their beauty with fishing excitement. These abundant non-running native fish are caught up to and over 20 inches in the Unalakleet all summer long. The Unalakleet River Lodge practices a catch and release only program for the noble Arctic Grayling.

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