Coho Salmon

Probably the best sport fishing for salmon is for the Coho, or Silver Salmon. Coho rear in freshwater for one or two years before smolting and traveling to the sea. They remain at sea for about 14 months and begin to enter our rivers during late July. The run peaks in mid-August and continues into September. Silvers are known for their acrobatic leaps and their long runs. Many Seward Peninsula Rivers receive good returns of Coho Salmon.

Caught early in the run, you will get a beautiful bright silvery fish. As they get closer to spawning, the fish will darken to a bronze or purplish color, and then finally turn all red. But don’t think you’ve got the upper hand; a red-colored Coho can still put up a mean fight.

Fly-fish for these spectacular fish with an 8 weight fly rod. Coho are very aggressive and will usually attack most bright attractor patterns. Tie simple streamers with a combination of colors including red/white, orange/white, and pink/yellow. A little bit of silver flash or sparkle will add to the appeal.

Sockeye Salmon

The Sockeye or Red Salmon is a beautiful fish and one of the best eating salmon available. Once they get closer to spawning, their entire body turns red, and their head turns green. We catch these fish on two rivers in substantial numbers, and occasionally see a few on other area rivers.

Sockeye Salmon rarely bite anything offered on fly or conventional gear although with persistence you may occasionally entice one to bite at a Green Eyes, Red Hot, or similar fly.

Post-spawn, these fish are much more aggressive, and you will not have a problem hooking into a beautiful red and green fish that will give you a considerable fight.

Pink Salmon

The Pink salmon, or Humpy, runs in Seward Peninsula waters in larger numbers than any other fish. Young pink salmon travel directly to the sea after emerging from the gravel in the spring. They return the next year as adults ready to spawn, completing their entire life cycle in two years. Males are easily recognizable by the large hump that develops on their back as they approach spawning. Even our small Seward Peninsula Rivers swell with millions of fish during the strong even-year runs, and several hundred thousand fish run in the odd-numbered years. Caught early in their run, these can be a good-eating fish. If you’ve always wanted to catch fish until your arms ached, this is the fish for you. They are comparable in size and fighting characteristics to a Dolly Varden.

Pink salmon runs provide tons of marine derived nutrients that fertilize our rivers, and provide food for other fish in the form of eggs, fry and flesh. Conventional gear fishermen will catch these salmon on pixies or any other flashy spoon or spinner.

Fly fishermen will have luck with green woolly buggers, flash flies, or any other typical salmon attractor pattern.

Chum Salmon

The Chum or Dog salmon is unfortunately one of Alaska’s most underrated sport fish. They are one of the larger salmon in the bunch, with Seward Peninsula chum averaging 8-12 lbs. Young chum salmon migrate directly to the sea after emerging from the gravel in the spring. They return to spawn in fresh water after three to five years in the ocean.

Fresh out of the sea these fish are bright silver in color, turning darker with vertical stripes and growing large teeth as they near their spawning grounds. You don’t hear of many people targeting the Chum, however they are a strong fighting sport fish and will give any fisherman a challenge. Many Chum salmon are caught each year by anglers fishing for other species.

Fly fishermen should be prepared with no less than an 8-weight rod when fishing waters inhabited by Chum salmon. Use flies that you would use for any other salmon, such as bunny flies, flash flies, the Popsicle, or any multi-colored streamer.