Alaska Cruise Fishing Excursions & Charters
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Planning time for fishing during an Alaska cruise could, potentially, be difficult because the fishing schedule needs to match the docking and departing schedule of your cruise ship. However, cruise passengers looking to cast a line while in Alaska don’t have to worry much because many charter options along the way will make planning easier.
There are two primary routes for cruise ships and both generally embark from either Seattle, WA or Vancouver/Victoria Canada. Each offer something different for the fishing lovers on board and will let you experience some of the best Alaska fishing possible.
You’ll typically have 4-6 hours to explore a port, but that can certainly vary. The local charters understand that you have a lot to do in a short amount of time – and you’ll want to be sure to let them know that you’re part of a cruise.
The two primary cruise ship routes and ports
The Inside Passage
The Gulf Coast Package
It’s an important note that not every ship will dock at every port (so check your trips ports) and this list of ports is not complete. It does show you the general lay of the land and will get you started in identifying options for fishing along the way.
NOTE: The Inside Passage is generally a seven-day cruise, and you follow the same path back as you traveled going out. You start at Seattle or Vancouver, and you end at Seattle or Vancouver. That's a big difference from the Gulf Coast route which does not return you to the city from which you embarked. It leaves you either in Whittier or Seward, and from there you continue on your own.
Ketchikan, Alaska Fishing Charters
A Ketchikan cruise ship fishing excursion should be near the top of your list when considering which port to setup a fishing excursion out of. It's known as the Salmon Capital of the World, and this is one of the best areas if you want to fish for Salmon in Alaska. In Ketchikan, you can expect to have access to all five salmon species plus other species.
Alaska Strike Zone Sportfishing sails out of Knudson Cove Marina and offers 4-hour, 6-hour, or 8-hour fishing trips for Salmon, Halibut, or both. Ketchikan is home to all five species of Pacific Salmon and the calmer waters are ideal for Salmon and Halibut. There is also a large population of Rockfish here too. All are drawn in by the bait fish who love the calmer and shallower waters of the Inside Passage.
Baranof Fishing Excursions is another excellent option for those who are looking for Salmon or Halibut fishing options while in Ketchikan. They sail out of Baranof Marina, and their trips range from 5-6 hours. You have access to Salmon, Halibut and Rockfish. They work with cruise ship passengers and will meet you at your dock, outfit you and get you on a boat so that you are fishing almost as soon as you dock! All excursions are guided so even someone who has never fished before should feel some tight lines and enjoy a day of fishing.
Juneau, Alaska - The State Capital
Another outstanding port for your cruise ship fishing excursion is Juneau. Halibut & Salmon are the primary targets but there are also opportunities for a short fly-out to freshwater fly-fishing for Steelhead, Trout, Dolly Varden & Salmon as well. The fishing season is generally May through September and one of the best months to fish here is July, but early in the year will give you access to the big King Salmon. In the late season you have access to Silver Salmon and in between are the Pinks and Chum Salmon. The Halibut and Rockfish are here all year round.
You’ll notice that each of the highlighted charter options below also offer wildlife viewing options like whale watching. Be sure to take advantage of that exciting opportunity here.
Three Juneau charter options to put you on the big fish include
The Local Guy - Local Native and Coast Guard Captain, the Local Guy offers customized and Personal charters for whale watching, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The Local Guy is certified via Whale Sense for wildlife viewing and whale safety. Juneau is a prime location to view a variety of big-ticket wildlife from orcas and humpbacks to porpoise and sea lions. Also, local is good. The captain was raised here and knows these waters and how to fish them. He offers a range of charters for fishing from 4-8 hours. He is flexible with customized trips.
Moore Charters - Offers Halibut and Salmon package or you can fish for only Salmon or only Halibut. They specialize in fishing programs for cruise ship passengers. In addition to fishing, you can book a whale watching tour too.
Best Damn Charters - Offers 1/2 and 3/4 day fishing trips for Salmon, Halibut, and Rockfish. They also offer whale watching tours too.
Skagway Port Overview
Usually the third port of call is Skagway, which is an old gold mine town. You can book fishing charters here, but this is a much better destination for land explorations. Visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Park or the Jewell Gardens.
While some of the Inside Passage cruises may spend a day in Glacier Bay, you are likely half way through your cruise at this point. The return to your port of call is a reverse of the adventure thus far.
Additional Ports on the Gulf Cruise Packages
For many cruise lines, the Gulf Cruise Package will follow the Inside Passage route but after Juneau or Skagway, you head into the gulf for a stop at Whittier and then onto Seward. This is a seven-day cruise, and your cruise ends in Seward, AK. The Inside Passage cruise is also seven days, but you go out for 3 1/2 days and then return. The advantage of the Gulf Cruise is that you cover more territory and you can set it up so that you connect with a land-based tour that gives you an enjoyable experience in Alaska.
Whittier, Alaska Fishing Charters
Whittier Marine Charters is an excellent charter for marine fishing. Congratulations, you are in Barn Door Halibut Country now, and Whittier Marine Charters can put you on the big fish. They do salmon and halibut fishing, and you often fish for bottom fish between fishing grounds.
Crazy Rays Adventures is another good option in Wittier. They offer a variety of adventures from sightseeing to fishing for Salmon and big Halibut. This is Prince William Sound, and it is some of the best Halibut and Salmon fishing in the world. You are fishing in the shadow of glaciers and on water that is just glass-flat. The shallow, cooler water draws in the big Halibut, and the Salmon and baitfish are an excellent meal for these big fish.
Seward, Alaska - World Class Halibut fishing
For those of you who love to fish, Seward is the southern side of the Kenai Peninsula, and this can mean world-class Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and Dolly Varden fishing. However, Seward sits along Resurrection Bay, which is one of the best places in the world to fish for big Barn Door Halibut. Now, Halibut can hit the 1,200 pound mark and trust me that you don't want to mess with that. Try a 300 to 500 pound Halibut because that is what you have here. There is also plenty of Salmon in these waters all staging to enter the local rivers and you can always opt to fish freshwater too. It is a fantastic adventure as Seward gives you access to world-class saltwater fishing and world-class freshwater fishing.
Miller's Landing Lodging & Fishing Charters is a good option for saltwater fishing while in Seward. They offer both Salmon and Halibut Charters and have the experience to help you find, battle, and land the big fish. They offer both guided and self-guided fishing adventures.
There are plenty of charters that welcomes anglers of all ages (Miller's Landing is one). However, the good news if fishing isn’t for the whole family is that Seward is a remarkable town with plenty of things to do from fine dining to shopping or land adventures like Exit Glacier.
Alaska Cruises - What are Your Best Options for Cruising and Fishing?
As you can see, cruise passengers will have a great fishing adventure hitting the four-hour charters on the shorter Inland Passage cruises. Of course, if one really wants to experience the thrill of fishing Alaska, you gain more with the Gulf Cruise. This is because you get off the boat in Wittier or Seward and you can fish as long as you want. You can book an Alaska fishing guide and fish freshwater in fabled rivers like the Kenai River (it's just a 2-hour car ride from Seward). That's 100% doable. You can also head inland and visit places like Homer, Alaska the Halibut Capital of the World.
We can’t answer the question for you…but, the reality is that either route leads to great fishing.