The mighty king salmon are for sure the most sought after species of salmon in Alaska. While they are the largest, King Salmon are also the least numerous…but don’t let this fool you as far as how many king salmon you can catch in a day.
Sure, there are tough days and great days on every river in Alaska – consistency of fishing should be something to consider when looking at locations to target king salmon in Alaska.
The most famous king salmon river in the world is the Kenai River in Alaska. This Kenai has the largest kings in the world…it has produced the world record king salmon and there are 80 plus pound kings caught every year on it. However, it’s important to know that the Kenai river has probably the slowest catch rate and actually shut down mid season to even catch and release fishing in past seasons due to poor returns.
There are two standout king salmon rivers in the Bristol Bay area – the Nushagak and the Alagnak Rivers. The Nushagak River shut down to sport fishing in 2010 due to a poor return, but thankfully has had strong seasons since. Guests of Anglers Alibi fish the Alagnak River, which never shut down, and we’re happy to say that our guests have never gone home empty handed. Sure, we have slow days but even on a slow day we were far ahead of a good day on the Kenai in quantity. Over the years I have had several days with over 30 kings landed in my boat for the day, a good amount landing over 50 kings in a day, and one day where we hit the 70 king salmon landed mark. This best of best days for me took place in 2007. The king life cycle would dictate that 2012 will be another banner year with the 2007 offspring.
I do not know how most anglers feel about fishing, but I would rather have good action day in and day out catching kings from 25 to 50 pounds, than fishing for days to land 1 king that MIGHT be over 50 pounds. On the Kenai, you are done fishing after you land a king salmon for the day! Not the case on the Alagnak, or you would be done fishing shortly after we leave the dock!