Ketchikan, Alaska, The First City, and the Salmon Capital of the World is a modest city of 8,300 people sitting along the beautiful Inside Passage midpoint on Revillagigedo island. Ketchikan features a deep and vibrant native history and culture that is very much alive and active today. It is known as the city of totem poles and for a good reason. These remarkable pieces of native art and culture are everywhere. It sits in such a spot that one could spend their entire vacation doing nothing more than admiring the beautiful scenery. Yet, many people come here to fish the salmon-rich waters of the Inside Passage and the Tongass Narrows.
The Alaska Marine Highway runs through Ketchikan, and you can fly here thanks to the Ketchikan International Airport. Getting here is not difficult, though the Alaska State Ferry System can take several days. It is much easier to fly here and rent a car unless you are bringing a vehicle or RV.
Why Visit Ketchikan?
Ketchikan has a lot to offer everyone. It is a city with a deep and rich native history, and it is full of monuments. It sits in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and many outdoor activities include options for the whole family. Fishing is one reason people come here, but it is rarely all that they discover they love once they arrive.
Ketchikan is known as the Salmon Capital of the World, and the calm waters around the Inside Passage never disappoint. The town is also a major cruise ship port of call and makes an excellent base for those who want to explore the area.
Things to do here include sea kayaking and guided tours of both the city and the remarkable surrounding area. Misty Fjords National Monument makes a beautiful example. The multi-million-acre national monument runs deep into the Tongass National Park as it sits between the mountains and the ocean. Expect sweeping 3,000-foot snow-capped mountains that end dramatically at the deep and steep Fjords. Sit and watch the glaciers calve or take a tour of the quiet bays and enjoy the wildlife. Sit and watch eagles soar, orcas hunt, or the mountain goats play amid the high reaches of the snow-capped mountains. There are wolves, black bears, wolverines, otters, sea lions, many sea birds, terrestrial birds, and whales here.
The local area has many hiking areas that are DIY or guided, and with two harbors, you can find many companies that offer tours of the Fjords, monuments, and national parks. Inside the city is a wealth of historical and cultural venues. The Ketchikan Waterfront Promenade is park-like and dotted with monuments, historical markers, and benches from which you can watch endless sunsets and take in the majestic wilderness views. An excellent walking tour for the DIY or for those who want a guide is Creek Street, which features a long wooden boardwalk suspended over Ketchikan Creek.
Lodging is relatively easy, though, with the significant number of visitors who come here each summer, reservations are required. You can find luxury fishing lodges, cabins and vacation rentals, and even campgrounds. Settlers Cove State Recreation Area, which is 18-miles outside of Ketchikan, offers RV and Tent Camping. Signal Creek Campground also makes a beautiful destination for tent campers. It is not difficult to find the perfect place to call home in Ketchikan or the surrounding area.
Fishing Ketchikan, Alaska
The fishing options in Ketchikan are fantastic. You can book a Ketchikan fishing charter for King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Halibut, bottom fish, big Lingcod, Snapper, Bass, and even Salmon Sharks. You can opt for guided freshwater fishing or DIY fishing for Trout, Dolly Varden, Salmon, and Steelhead. The local area has more trout options than other areas of Alaska. The Trout species include Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, A hybrid of the two, Brook Trout, and Dolly Varden. The local area, which is dominated by the Inside Passage, is actually "flooded" with small clear water creeks and glacial blue lakes, all of which provide endless options for Trout and Salmon Fishing.
Many of the Saltwater charters are optimized for Cruise Ship Passengers who may have short amounts of shore time…many charters will even pick you up at the dock where the cruise ship dropped you off to make things as easy as possible for cruise ship guests. The most popular cruise ship fishing charters are a 4-hour saltwater fishing charters for halibut & salmon. For those with a longer time in shore you can opt for a 6 hour fishing charter or a helicopter fishing fly out.
You can book a charter or find places where you can DIY fish from roadside or shoreline. You can hire a guide or book a pilot and fly out to remote areas to fish in world-class streams for Trophy, Wild Trout or Salmon.
The fishing season generally begins in mid-spring and stretches into Mid-fall. The Salmon are gone (freshwater) by late summer and early fall, but they and the Halibut are available year-round in the quiet, calm waters of the Inside Passage.
With so much to do and see, it is no wonder that Ketchikan is known as the First City. The accessible lodging and dining options make this a beautiful place to call home, even if that is for a short period. The remarkable fishing - this is the Salmon Capital of the World - makes Ketchikan a place that many return to every year.
Top Rated Fishing Charters, Lodges & Resorts
Other Fishing Destinations To Consider
Saltwater & Freshwater Fishing - Juneau, the state capital of Alaska has a small-town feel and offers a excellent saltwater fishing for Halibut & Salmon on the Inside Passage as well as freshwater fishing for Trout, Steelhead, Dolly Varden & more
Fishing & Adventure on Baranof Island - Visit Sitka for great fishing for Halibut & Salmon, a good variety of lodges from luxury to afforable and a wealth of outdoor activities & wildlife viewing on Baranof Island.
Prince of Wales Island
Experience Alaska Fishing & Nature on the 4th Largest Island in the United States - A beautiful & remote island in Southeast Alaska that offers world class saltwater fishing, freshwater fly fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing & more.
A beautiful stretch of calm coastal waters in Southeast Alaska - Fantastic guided saltwater & freshwater fishing, self-guided fishing options, spectacular views, wildlife viewing & more with a wide range of towns & islands from which to base your trip.
The Hailibut Capital of the World - Located at th Southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Offers easy access to excellent saltwater & freshwater fishing as well as a wealth of activities, restuarants & lodging options to choose from.