Designated a wild and scenic river, you don't find many inhabited places along the shores of this beautiful river. The Alagnak River is located is part of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Southwest Alaska. The Alagnak offers incredible fishing in a remote & beautiful location which is why it's one of the most popular fly-in fishing destinations in Southwest Alaska. It's important to note this is remote Alaska there are no roads. The only way to get here is to fly in with the majority of people flying into King Salmon, Alaska from Anchorage…then from there taking a smaller plane to their final destination on the Alagnak River. The Alagnak River stretches 64 miles from its (arguable) source Kukaklek Lake down through the upper section, into the confluence of the braids, and through the lower part where it empties into the Kvichak River. This is a wild river and it's common to see wildlife including bears which are a common sight on the Alagnak River. It's common to see photos of people fly-fishing the Alagnak River with bears on the other side of the river in the background.
While it's possible to organize a DIY trip to the Alagnak River your best option would be to stay at one of the lodges on the Alagnak River. The lodges on the Alagnak offer fully guided fly-fishing and the experienced guides will be able to help get you to the right spot on the river and help with targeting the species that are running at the time of your visit. Another option would be a float fishing trip where you get float down the river over the course of 5-6 days fishing along the way. With this option you can choose a guided or unguided float trip.
Fishing the Alagnak River
The Alagnak River (known to locals at the Branch River) offers incredible Salmon runs as well as healthy populations of Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char, Dolly Varden & and Arctic Grayling. All five species of Pacific Salmon are found here during spawning. The Sockeye Salmon appear first and in huge runs. There are around 1-2 Million Sockeye Salmon that use the Alagnak River either as a spawning ground or as a highway to reach their spawning grounds. The Kings come next with runs between 25,000 – 40,000 fish. Most King Salmon are 20-40 pounds with a few opportunities to target 60+ pound fish. The Chum Salmon appear next and are often overlooked because they are not considered the best Salmon for eating. But fishing and eating are not always connected. If you are fishing to provide food for your family, you probably want to target the Kings, Sockeye, and Silvers. But for the joy of fishing, it's difficult to beat a feisty Chum Salmon. They are the second largest of the five species of Pacific Salmon, and they are tenacious. They fight like the Silvers but with the bulk of the Kings. You may begin to see why they are a hidden secret for sports fishing.
On the even years, the Pink Salmon show up…hey, too, are often overlooked for sports fishing. On a good day, you could wear yourself out battling the Pinks. The Silver Salmon are the last to enter the River. These are the most coveted of the Salmon on the Alagnak River. They strike hard and fight harder when hooked. Their aerobatics are unparalleled and the stuff of legends. They flip out of the water, tail-walk across the riffles, and dive deep. They raise your pulse rate and cause you to hold your breath. Their remarkable fight is one reason you never want to leave.
That's just the Salmon. One of the most sought after fish on the Alagnak River is wild, Trophy-sized Rainbow Trout. Nothing on the River benefits more from the life cycle of the Salmon than do the Alagnak Rainbows. Big, Fat, Beautifully Long, Wild, and exhilarating are all words that Godsmack your mind when you have an Alagnak Rainbow on the line. The Arctic Char are also quite impressive, and the Arctic Grayling are here in great numbers. Pull the boat up on the sandbar and fish the mouth of the tributaries for hours. When you dial in the Arctic Grayling, you could be here all day.
It is the massive fishing opportunity that brings so many people here. It is the beauty and pristine natural aspects of the Alagnak River that keeps you. Even when you leave, the Alagnak River calls you back.
Top Rated Alagnak River Lodges, Camps & Float Trips
Other Fishing Destinations To Consider
One of the Best King Salmon Rivers in Alaska - Located in remote Southwest Alaska & stretching for 280 miles...if you are looking to target big King Salmon in Alaska the Nushagak might be the place for you.
Trophy Rainbow Trout in Southwest Alaska - Located in Katmai National Park & Preserve in remote Southwest Alaska the Naknek River offers excellent fishing for Trophy Rainbow Trout, Salmon & more.
Trophy Rainbow Trout in the Remote & Beautiful Alaska Wilderness - The Kvichak River is a clear river stretching some 50 miles from Lake Iliamna to its mouth in Bristol Bay with incredible fishing for Rainbow Trout, Salmon & more.
The Kenai Peninsula provides easy access to world-class freshwater & saltwater fishing, fantastic outdoor adventures, friendly and welcoming communities…all within a couple hours drive of Anchorage.
Alaska Parks Highway
A 358-mile adventure from Anchorage to Fairbanks - There are many fishing spots along the Parks Highway...most are smaller walk & wade streams but there are also some small lakes as well.