Believe it or not, Sitka is America’s largest city. The town of 9,000 counts the whole of Baranof Island and beyond within its city limits, making it 25 times the size of New York. With such staggering beauty and bountiful fishing found all around the island, we can hardly blame them for wanting to claim it all. The fisheries of Sitka Sound alone are enough to give most port towns a run for their money. Sitka fishing charters take full advantage of this, targeting monster Salmon, Halibut, and Lingcod while keeping an eye out for the area’s incredible wildlife.
And it really is incredible! Whales, seals, and sea otters splash in the cool Pacific waters, while bald eagles swoop through the air above. Local conservation centers like the Fortress of the Bear work to protect this wildlife, caring for orphaned bears until they can be released back into the wild. Sitka also lands more King Salmon than any other port in Alaska, and their Halibut and Lingcod are almost as good. Add in freshwater fishing for Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Dolly Varden, and we’re surprised there’s any room for the people!
Sitka Fishing Spots
Sitka looks out into open Pacific waters. It has great access to deep water when the weather’s good. That’s not always the case in Alaska to say the least, so luckily there are plenty of secluded spots to hole up even in the depths of winter. All Sitka fishing guides have their own secret favorites, but here are some of our top picks, just to get you started.
Why travel further when there’s great fishing right on your doorstep? Chinook and Coho Salmon can both be caught here, as can Halibut, Rockfish, and various other bottom fish.
Tucked away between Krestof and Kruzof Islands, this is a great fishery for Halibut and Salmon when it’s too rough in open water. It’s only ten miles from town, too.
The calm waters of the Olga Strait are about as scenic as you can get, bordered by dense forest and full of trophy King Salmon. We don’t know who Olga was, but she must have been special.
Head out to the mouth of the Sitka Sound and you’ll hit some of the best Salmon fishing Sitka has access to. These waters also have big Lingcod and Rockfish, but can get pretty rough in bad weather.
As you head further from town, fishing pressure gets lower and the catch gets even better. Target Salmon, Halibut, Lingcod, and Rockfish in these remote waters. Keep an eye out for whales too - they didn’t name it for nothing!
Don’t fancy a long boat ride? Swan Lake is right in the middle of town and has great catches of Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout as well as some big Dolly Varden.
The Indian River is a great place for freshwater anglers to start as it flows right into town. Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye Salmon all run in this river, and while they’re protected from harvest, the Dolly Varden and Rainbow Trout are fair game.
This remote waterway holds some of the best fly fishing Sitka has to offer. Pink and Coho Salmon make their runs here, joining resident Trout and Dolly Varden for a summer of incredible angling.
And that’s not all!
There are a hundred spots you can hit on Sitka fishing charters, and freshwater guides could take you along dozens of creeks, rivers, streams, and lakes. It’s a huge island, and the fishing’s on form everywhere. Go wherever your guide suggests and have a great time!
Sitka Fishing Techniques
When Salmon fishing Sitka Sound or other saltwater fisheries you’ll normally be trolling or mooching, using live, cut, or plug-cut Herring. These techniques are used all along Alaska’s Gulf Coast to devastating effect. Sitka Halibut fishing is very different. You’ll be dropping lines at anchor, with a chum bag on the bottom and some juicy baits like Herring and Salmon on your hooks. Jigs are a great addition to your setup, but you’ll need a bit of bait to make the fish take interest.
Fly fishing rules Sitka’s freshwater fisheries. That’s hardly surprising, with five species of Salmon and two species of Trout to play with. You can get away with a single-handed 8-weight when battling Trout, but you’re better off with a sturdy switch rod when going after big Alaskan Kings. Your fly choice will depend on your fishing style, but Dragg’n Flys, Chewy Eggs, Guide Signature Intruders, and Fish Tacos are all local favorites.
Need to Know
You need a fishing license to enjoy these local waters. Some Sitka fishing lodges do include them, but most charters and on-foot guides don’t. Chinook Salmon require an additional stamp which is well worth buying even if they’re not your focus. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t get one and have to throw a trophy King back.