Southeast Alaska’s Famed Fishing Grounds
The sheer abundance of wild salmon, halibut, lingcod, and rockfish is what has established Waterfall Resort’s acclaim over the last century, first as a record-breaking seafood cannery and today as the most popular fishing lodge in Alaska.
Our region’s fishing season runs May through September. Check out our fish chart below for an overview of the fish runs in our waters by month.
“Our guide suggested I keep my rod tip down when reeling in the bait, to make it ‘swim’ at a more realistic angle. I dutifully followed orders, and then—BOOM!”
—Holly Vagley, McLean, Virginia
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game requires both residents and nonresidents to have a valid license in their possession while sport fishing in state waters, and annual sport-fishing limits are set by the department and the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Booked guests of Waterfall Resort can apply online for a license and pick it up upon arrival.
King Salmon (Chinook)
King salmon or Chinooks are famed for challenging anglers with powerful, drawn-out fights. The largest of Pacific salmon, they average 14 to 17 pounds.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 79.2 pounds
2016 Season Limits: The nonresident limit for king salmon is two fish per day, 28 inches or longer in June; one per day of that size in July and August. The annual limit for kings is six fish. For Alaska residents, the daily limit is three king salmon, 28 inches or longer.
Silver Salmon (Coho)
Alaska silver salmon, also known as cohos, average 8 to 12 pounds and about two-and-a-half feet long. Abundant in Southeast Alaska during their late summer run, these acrobats of the salmon family are known for jumping out of the water while on the line.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 22.75 pounds
2015 Season Limits: The nonresident limit on Alaska silver salmon fishing is six fish 16 inches or longer per day, with no annual limit.
Pink Salmon (Humpback)
Also known as humpbacks or “humpies,” pink salmon average 3.5 to 5 pounds and reach about 15 to 20 inches long. The most plentiful of Pacific salmon species, pinks are also the smallest and have the shortest lifespan. Mid-August, our local pinks return to their spawning grounds, forging upstream and dodging black bears on their journey to reach our namesake waterfall.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 10.5 pounds
2015 Season Limits: The resident and nonresident limit for pink salmon is six fish per day 16 inches or longer, with no annual limits.
Large and flat, the halibut of Southeast Alaska can weigh more than 100 pounds, with the larger adults weighing in at well over 300 pounds. Reeling in a “barn door” can test any angler’s stamina and fill up a boat.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 366.8 pounds
2016 Season Limits: The resident and nonresident limit for halibut fishing is one fish per person per day, which must be either 43 inches or less or 80 inches or more in length. Halibut in the slot between 43 inches and 80 inches must be released. There are no annual limits.
Waterfall Resort’s Bonus Halibut Tag program allows a guest to retain one additional halibut of any size per tag.
Typically inhabiting rocky reefs close to shore, lingcod may weigh over 80 pounds and reach five feet long or more. In spite of their size, lingcod yield only about 20 percent of their weight for your dinner plate.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 69.3 pounds
2015 Season Limits: The nonresident daily and annual limit on lingcod is two fish: one between 30 inches and 45 inches, and one 55 inches or longer.
Also known locally as the “Alaska red snapper,” this bright yellow-orange nonpelagic rockfish may reach two feet long and averages 10 to 12 pounds.
- Waterfall Resort Alaska record: 30.5 pounds
2016 Season Limits: The nonresident yelloweye limit is one per day, with an annual limit of one fish. The limit for Alaska residents is one per day with an annual limit of two fish. There are no size restrictions on yelloweye.
More Than 20 Other Rockfish Species
Over 20 more rockfish species teem in Waterfall Resort fishing spots, swimming near rocky shores. Some species are pelagic (coastal and midwater dwellers); others are nonpelagic (deepwater dwellers). Most average one to six pounds, with some reaching up to 15 pounds and two feet long. There are no size restrictions on rockfish.
Pelagic species include black, dusky, dark, widow, blue, and yellowtail rockfish.
2015 Season Limits: The nonresident limit is five per day per person, with no annual limit.
Nonpelagic rockfish include all other species, including yelloweye.
2016 Season Limits: The nonresident limit is one rockfish per day. There is no annual limit for rockfish, except for yelloweye; that limit is one fish.
Sport-fishing limits are set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the International Pacific Halibut Commission, and subject to change without notice. All limits listed above are current to the best of our knowledge and for reference only. For up-to-the-minute information about limits during your stay at Waterfall Resort Alaska, ask your U.S. Coast Guard licensed guide.
Learn more about Waterfall Resort’s famed fishing tournament.