Website Feedback Button
Fish and Game Home

Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Fish Viewing

caption follows
Spawning sockeye salmon

Alaska’s world-class fisheries draw hordes of anglers every year, but watching fish can be fun too.

Time it right and you will see king, coho, sockeye, chum, or pink salmon battling en masse to make their way up Alaskan rivers and streams to spawn. Stroll along the Kenai Peninsula’s Russian River Falls in mid-summer and watch bright red sockeye salmon dodge anglers and bears as they power up the roiling waters-lunging and leaping as they go. Pull off the road at Juneau’s Sheep Creek in late summer and witness a run of chum salmon clogging the waters from shore to shore.

Photo of a steelhead
Steelhead trout

Other fish that don’t return to spawn in huge “runs” take more effort to find, but their unique beauty will reward your effort. Look for the elegant and elusive Arctic grayling with its sail-like dorsal fin dotted with large iridescent red or purple spots; the feisty steelhead, a silvery rainbow trout that spends part of its life in the ocean; or the Dolly Varden, a type of char. This pretty speckled fish derives its name from a character in Charles Dickens’ "Barnaby Rudge," a young woman described as “the very pink and pattern of good looks.”

To get in your good looks, take a tip from Alaska Department of Fish and Game sport fish biologists who have named the following locations some of the best places in the state to view fish. But first, help us protect this wonderful resource by considering these simple rules. Not only will you have a better experience, the fish will too!

  • Avoid damage to the stream. Eggs and newly hatched fish are sensitive to silting or any physical disruption. You can reduce stream bank erosion by staying back from the stream edge.
  • Use binoculars and polarizing glasses to see into the water without having to get too close. If stressed during spawning, fish may move to less suitable spawning sites, leading to reduced reproductive success.
  • Consider crouching when you approach a stream to avoid being seen by watchful fish. Keep an eye on your shadow so it doesn’t cross the water. Move slowly and tread lightly to cut down on vibrations that carry into the water.

Anchorage

Ingram Creek
Species — Coho and pink salmon
Timing — August
Access — At Seward Highway near milepost 75, look for turnout by the bridge and walk along stream-side trails.

Portage Valley Road
Species — Sockeye salmon
Timing — July
Access — Look for viewing platforms and foot trails by the roadside.

Potter Marsh
Species — King and coho salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — At Seward Highway mile 117.4, take the Potter Marsh exit and follow road south to a parking lot by the boardwalk.

Ship Creek
Species — King and coho salmon
Timing — July (Chinook) and August through September (coho)
Access — Accessible from Ship Creek Avenue between downtown Anchorage and the Air Force Base. The creek parallels the rail road tracks from the boat launch up through the air base. Handicapped access is available from the raised wooden platform behind the Comfort Inn on Ship Creek Avenue.


Interior

— Tanana River Drainage

Chatanika River
Species — King and chum salmon
Timing — July through early August
Access — May be able to view fish from Elliot or Steese Highway bridges but runs are small and probability of seeing fish is low.

Chena River
Species — King and chum salmon
Timing — July through early August
Access — Follow the paths to footbridges by downtown Fairbanks and the Carlson Center.

Delta Clearwater River
Species — Coho salmon
Timing — late September through late October
Access — View fish from the Clearwater State Recreation Site or float the river downstream to Clearwater Lake.

Salcha River
Species — King and chum salmon
Timing — July through early August
Access — Richardson Highway Bridge
Comments — Find a safe place to park and watch for traffic

— Upper Copper River Drainage

Copper River
Species — King and sockeye salmon (dipnet fishery)
Timing — June through August
Access — At milepost 34 on the Edgerton Highway, follow the paved road to a gravel and silt floodplain where there is a public campground and restrooms.

Fish Creek
Species — Sockeye salmon
Timing — Late July and August
Access — Turn off the Tok Cut-off to Mentasta Lake and follow a rough gravel road to the boat launch area and an old bridge over the creek.
Comments — Comments – Permission from Mentasta Village is required to access the site. Call (907) 291-2319.

Gulkana River
Species — King and sockeye salmon, Arctic grayling
Timing — June and July (king), August and September (sockeye)
Access — Turnoff at the Richardson Highway Bridge at milepost 129 on the Richardson Highway and follow a gravel road to an undeveloped public parking and camping area.

Indian Creek
Species — King salmon
Timing — July
Access — Milepost 43 along the Tok Cut-off section of the Glenn Highway
Comments — Look for a paved pullout with restrooms

Little Tonsina River
Species — King and coho salmon, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden
Timing — Mid-July through mid-August (king) and late August through September (coho)
Access — Just south of Tonsina along the Richardson Highway is gravel road access to the confluence of the Tonsina and Little Tonsina Rivers.

Mendeltna Creek
Species — Sockeye salmon and Arctic grayling
Timing — Late May and early June (Arctic grayling), late July through August (sockeye)
Access — Look for a paved pullout with restrooms at Milepost 153 of the Glenn Highway.

O’Brien Creek
Species — King and sockeye salmon (dipnet fishery)
Timing — June through August
Access — At milepost 33 on the Edgerton Highway follow a paved and gravel road to a parking area with restrooms.

Summit Lake outlet
Species — Sockeye salmon, Arctic grayling, whitefish and suckers
Timing — June through September
Access — Pullout at Milepost 194 on the Richardson Highway
Comments — Restrooms and a viewing platform


Kenai

Anchor River
Species — King salmon
Timing — June and early July
Access — Heading south, the Anchor River follows the Sterling Highway for several miles beyond Anchor Point. Look for roadside foot trails along the stream.

Crooked Creek
Species — King and coho salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — At milepost 111 on the Sterling Highway at the intersection with Coho Loop Road, park at the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail pullout to walk to creek viewing platform.

Dave’s Creek
Species — King, sockeye, and coho salmon
Timing — Mid-July through September
Access — At milepost 38, the junction of Seward and Sterling Highways, follow signs to Tern Lake campground.
Comments — At milepost 38, the junction of Seward and Sterling Highways, follow signs to Tern Lake campground.

Ptarmigan Creek
Species — Sockeye and king salmon
Timing — Mid-August through September
Access — Leave your car in the parking lot at Seward Highway milepost 23 and walk along the trail to the creek. You may hike up or downstream from there.

Quartz and Crescent Creeks
Species — King and sockeye salmon
Timing — July through mid-September
Access — From highway pullouts between milepost 41 and 45 of the Sterling Highway, walk to Quartz Creek. Or take the turnoff to Quartz Creek campground at milepost 45 and walk to the creek from the campground.

Resurrection Creek
Species — King, pink, chum and coho salmon
Timing — Mid-July through September
Access — At milepost 56 along the Seward Highway, follow the 19 mile road to Hope to access Lower Resurrection Creek.
Comments — Viewing is best at lower stages of the tide

Russian River Falls area
Species — Sockeye and King salmon
Timing — Mid-June through September
Access — Turnoff to the Russian River campground at Sterling Highway milepost 52.5. Park at the Russian River Falls trailhead a walk or bike about two miles to the falls viewing platform.
Comments — Salmon are present at the falls all season. You may also hike up or down stream from the falls.


Nome

Nome River
Species — Pink, chum and coho salmon
Timing — July (pink and chum) and August (coho)
Access — By vehicle either from the Nome River Bridge 3.5 miles from Nome on the Council Road or from the bridge located on Kougarok Road 3 miles northeast of Dexter.

Snake River
Species — Pink, chum and coho salmon
Timing — July (pink and chum) and August (coho)
Access — View fish from the bridge located 7 miles west of Nome on the Teller Highway.

Solomon River
Species — Pink, chum and coho salmon and Dolly Varden
Timing — July (pink and chum) and August (coho). Dolly Varden in spring after breakup.
Access — View fish from the bridge located at Mile 50 on the Council Road.


Southeast

— Haines

Big Boulder Creek
Species — King salmon
Timing — August
Access — Mile 33.2 of State Highway 95 (Haines Highway)

Chilkat River - Mile 10
Species — Pink salmon
Timing — August
Access — Milepost 10 of State Highway 95(Haines Highway)

Chilkat River – Mile 14
Species — Dolly Varden and silver salmon
Timing — July through October
Access — Milepost 14 of State Highway 95 (Haines Highway)

Chilkat River – Mile 21
Species — Chum salmon
Timing — October through January
Access — Milepost 21 of State Highway 95 (Haines Highway) at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

Chilkat River – Mile 35
Species — Dolly Varden and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Milepost 35 of State Highway 95 (Haines Highway)

Chilkoot River
Species — Pink salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — Mile 10 on Lutak Road

— Juneau

Fish Creek
Species — King and chum salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — 2400 North Douglas Highway

Salmon Creek
Species — Chum salmon
Timing — Late July through September
Access — Located at mile 2.5 of Egan Drive

Sheep Creek Bridge
Species — Chum salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — Across from Sheep Creek Hatchery at 4451 Thane Drive

Steep Creek
Species — Sockeye and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Located along the Glacier Spur Road in Mendenhall Valley

— Ketchikan

Herring Cove
Species — King and silver salmon
Timing — July through October
Access — 14 Borch Street

Ketchikan Creek
Species — King salmon, steelhead and pink and chum salmon
Timing — July through October
Access — At the intersection of Water and Bay view streets

Settlers Cove/Lunch Creek
Species — Pink salmon
Timing — August through September
Access — Mile 18 along North Tongass Road

Ward Creek
Species — Steelhead; pink, chum, sockeye and silver salmon
Timing — July through October
Access — Take Revilla Road 2.2 miles to campground

— Petersburg

Anan Creek
Species — Pink and some chum salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Only by charter boat, private boat or floatplane to the Anan Creek trailhead at the mouth of Bradfield Canal, Southeast of Wrangell.
Comments — A US Forest Service permit is required to enter the bear viewing facility, which will put you in close proximity to large numbers of migrating pink salmon as well as black and brown bears.

Blind River Rapids
Species — King, pink, chum and silver salmon
Timing — August through September
Access — Milepost 13 of Mitkof Highway

Falls Creek fish pass
Species — Pink, chum and sockeye salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Milepost 9 of Mitkof Highway

Man Made Hole
Species — Chum salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Drive south on Mitkof Highway to Man Made Hole recreation area at approximately milepost 20.
Comments — Use boardwalk and trails to cross inlet and outlet stream.

— Prince of Wales Island

Big Creek viewing platform
Species — Pink, chum and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Forest Road 27 miles NW of Whale Pass

Black Bear Bridge
Species — Pink, chum and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Mile 10.5 of the FH 9 road (Road 929)

Harris River foot bridge
Species — Pink, chum and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — The trailhead is located on the Hollis-Klawock Highway approximately 2 miles east of the Hydaburg Road junction at milepost 23.

Hatchery Creek Falls
Species — Pink, red and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Forest Road 3030850 at Hatchery Creek

Maybeso Creek Bridge
Species — Pink, chum and silver salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Mile 1.7 on the Hollis-Klawock Highway

— Sitka

Indian River
Species — Pink, chum and sockeye salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — 106 Metlakatla Street

Sawmill Creek
Species — Pink, chum and sockeye salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — Mile 9.5 of Sawmill Creek Road

Starrigavan
Species — Pink, chum and sockeye salmon
Timing — July through September
Access — End of Halibut Point Road, ¾ mile from Alaska Marine Highway Sitka Ferry Terminal

— Skagway

Pullen Creek Weir
Species — Pink and king salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — Dyea Road

— Yakutat

Cannon Road Bridge
Species — Species: Sockeye, pink and chum salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — Intersection of Cannon Road Bridge Road and Tawah Creek

Lost River Bridge over Tawah Creek
Species — Sockeye, pink and chum salmon
Timing — July through August
Access — Intersection of the Lost River Road and Tawah Creek

Nine Mile Bridge
Species — Steelhead, king, sockeye, silver and pink salmon
Timing — April through October
Access — Approximately mile 9 of the Alsek Road (FH 10)

Please take a moment to help us improve your experience at the ADF&G website.
How did you arrive at our website?
Why did you visit our website today?
Did you find what you were looking for?
How easy or hard was it to find?
Very Easy Very Hard
Please provide any other comments or suggestions about your experience on the ADF&G website.

Having Trouble with this form?