Alaska Salmon Fishing
Alaska's salmon fishing remains very popular summer activity. Chinook or King salmon, Silver or Coho salmon and Sockeye or Red salmon top the list with anglers heading out on any of the great Alaska fishing trips available to campers. Let's take a look at some of the options in Alaska salmon fishing trips that are available around the campgrounds in Alaska.
First a little background to this exciting fishery; Alaska's nutrient-rich water provides for a wide range of marine life, salmon being one of them. There are five species of Pacific salmon that mature off the coast of Alaska: king, silver, sockeye, chum, and pink salmon. Each of the five species run upstream in the thousands at varying times throughout the summer months. A salmon run refers to the time in which salmon leave ocean water for freshwater with the purpose of reproducing.
Pacific salmon are anadromous, which means that they spend a portion of their lifetime in freshwater and another portion in saltwater. Young salmon fry (the name for a fish in the second stage after hatching) typically remain in streams for about a year or two after hatching, depending upon the species. The freshwater environment provides a safe haven for young salmon from large ocean-dwelling predators. After a period of growth, all salmon species eventually migrate to the ocean where they can further feed and mature into adulthood.
All of the Pacific salmon have a fascinating lifecycle. In addition to being anadromous and developing unique colors when spawning, Pacific salmon also die just after reproducing. Salmon return to the same place where they hatched themselves to lay their own eggs. It is thought that they smell their way back to the stream in which they hatched using incredibly astute sensory mechanisms. As a result of this homing behavior, their lives both begin and end in the same freshwater location.
Salmon are a very important piece of an ecosystem. In addition to being consumed by humans, salmon also lure bears and birds to freshwater when spawning. Scientific studies have been conducted following elements from a salmon body into trees. Thousands of salmon run synchronously to reproduce and then die together, their bodies decomposing, returning to the land, and then being absorbed into the roots of trees. Salmon are just one example of the interconnectivity and natural recycling processes in nature. During the summer months the abundant salmon runs are certainly a sight to see.
Two of the best places to see salmon run between July and August in Juneau, Alaska are at Sheep, Steep, and Fish creeks. Sheep creek has a pretty decent Chum salmon run around July and is located south of downtown, past the ferry terminals. A little bit later Steep creek is a great place to watch spawning silver and sockeye salmon in their vibrant red colors. Many view this run from raised platforms near the Mendenhall glacier, also a safe place to view black bears whom frequent for feeding. Fish creek is on Douglas Island and has king and chum runs beginning in July. Watching the salmon push upriver in the thousands, turning bright colors, for the sole purpose of reproducing before their life ends, is just one of Alaska's natural wonders. Attempt to correlate your Alaskan travel with the salmons' schedule!