We will be taking a cruise to Alaska in late June/early July but will be in Vancouver for several days before departing. We are interested taking a 1/2 day salmon fishing excursion. How is the salmon fishing this time of year? Also, are we better of going fishing in Vancouver, Juneau, or Stika? Any suggestions on charter operators?
We went to Alaska in 2001 and I opted to go salmon fishing in Sitka. Following
is from the journal:
This was a big day for me. This was the day I’d go salmon fishing. It was a beautiful day, the temperature in the high 50s, a few white puffy clouds and a lot of blue sky. I put in for a 5:30 AM wake up call (hey, but I’m on vacation!). Because we had to use tenders to get to shore, only those with early morning excursions could go on the first few tenders. There were 36 people signed up for salmon fishing. This made it easy as it was four guests per fishing boat.
I ended up on a boat with two guys from Alabama who knew each other and a Scotsman, named Alister who lived in Hong Kong. Our captain was Steve and the deck hand was his son, Cody. As we made our way out to where Steve thought the fish were, about eight miles out, Cody came around with the one-day fishing license and one day king salmon stamps. Ten bucks for the license and ten bucks for the stamp.
There were four poles on the boat. It seemed fairly obvious, four guys, four poles, not exactly. Steve (our skipper) came around with a deck of cards and said, “pick one”. As I picked a card, I asked why. Steve said, “to see who gets first fish”. I drew a nine and that put me in second place. Alister drew the highest and therefore he would get the first fish. The way it worked was all four poles were in the water and as soon as one got a hit, they stopped the boat and reeled in the other three poles.
It was not long before we got the first hit. Alister grabbed the pole, the boat stopped, the other lines came out of the water and the fight began. It took Alister about 20 minutes or so to land his king salmon. It was 25 lbs.
Now it was my turn. The wait seemed much longer than it actually was, but finally we got the second hit. I was ready. The fight started. This fish was big, by far the biggest fish I’d ever tangled with. I reeled him in for a while then let him run, reeled in, let him run. After about 10-12 minutes, my left forearm was really getting tired. The fish was still out about 50 ft or so (there was a gauge on the rod). About another 10 minutes went by before I got the fish up to the side of the boat. Steve netted him (it was a him). It was a 30 lb king salmon.
Everyone got their salmon that day - it was a great experience. We are going
to Alaska again this summer - this time I will go salmon fishing in
We cruised Alaska in July 2003 and salmon fished in Ketchikan for half a day--it was the highlight of our trip! There were four of us--my husband, a father and son and me. We caught 12 fish that morning--my husband and I caught 9 of them. I caught the only King salmon that morning--it was about 15 pounds. I found that particularly fun since I was the only female on board! The father and son had fished in Juneau and in Skagway in the days just before and had caught nothing, so they were thrilled to be catching in Ketchikan. We shipped 46 1-lb. Salmon fillets home via Fed Ex and it was worth every penny--delicious eating and we were able to share our "adventure" with family and friends!
We also salmon fished for a whole day in Vancouver a few days later and caught only 1 small fish. The private charter boat we hired just circled the harbor constantly even though we'd hired them for a whole day and we could have gone quite a ways out from Vancouver in that time period. It was an expensive boat ride!
If we ever want to salmon fish in Alaska again (silly question), we'll fly into Ketchikan and hire Darrell Welk to take us out (he was our boat captain via a Holland America shore excursion). He was FABULOUS--quiet, but efficient, knowlegeable and a great sense of humor! He even coaxed an eagle out of the top of an island tree with a dead rockfish we'd caught and the eagle swooped down right beside the boat, with wings completely spread, to pick it up out of the water. Talk about a Kodak moment!
My husband and I both agree that we'd happily fish in Ketchikan again just for the scenery we saw while on the boat that morning--beautiful green, tree-studded islands, blue, blue water lapping at the boat while we fished, flying through the water, propelled by powerful motors, to find the "next spot" fo fish, eagles flying overhead, etc.
Hope that helps answer your question...
1965 S.S. United States
1974 Sitmar Fairwind
2003 HAL Volendam
2003 Mississippi Queen
2004 HAL Westerdam
2005 Norwegian Jewel
2007 Norwegian Sun
2009 HAL Westerdam
2010 RCI Vision Of The Seas
2011 HAL Nieuw Amsterdam
2014 Norwegian Jewel