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The best way to catch salmon is on an Alaskan Cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan is the “Salmon Capitol of the World” and also a popular port on an Alaskan cruise. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced fisherman—or fisher-woman—you’ll love the adrenaline rush from reeling in the “big one.” It’s a little bit like the casino—you don’t know who’s going to “win” the biggest catch of the day.

If you love salmon—there are five kinds you can catch on a fishing excursion during your Alaskan cruise.

Happy Traveler Comment
Cesar - many thanks for a wonderful vacation on Celebrity. Your attention to the details were absolutely magnificent. Thank you for all of your hard work. - Dr. Ron and Nancy Morgan

What kind of salmon can I catch in Ketchikan?

King Salmon—May-June—especially the 2nd and 3rd week of June–you’ll need to purchase a $10 King Salmon stamp from your chartered boat captain if you want to catch the Kings because there’s a limit. The average size is around 15-20 lbs, but it’s not uncommon to catch one between 40-50 lbs. Once you snag a King, patience is the key. You can’t just reel in a King Salmon. You have to wait until they’ve exhausted their energy trying to swim back down to the bottom. Just hold the reel and wait. Once they’re tired, you can reel them in.

Coho Salmon—Aug & Sept—these little delicious babies are about 5-8 lbs. They’re jumpers and fighters and fast, so expect a good show. During their peak season, expect to be busy catching fish often and quickly.

gdresamplePink Salmon—End of June-Aug—fishing for pink salmon in the ocean isn’t for the faint of heart. They are full of energy and will put up a good fight on the line.  They are easier to catch once they swim upstream and run out of energy—you just have to share the stream with the bears.

Chum Salmon—Jul-Aug—A 7-12 lb average Chum is easy to catch, but be prepared for the “trophy” 20+ pounder. They are very “dramatic” while being pulled in and makes for a fun competition between man and fish.

Sockeye Salmon—If you’re lucky enough to catch a Sockeye, they are the best tasting of all the salmon. They only average 4-7 lbs and only a lucky few have caught one over the past couple of years. So, if you snag one, it’s like winning the Alaskan lottery.

Another popular fish in these waters is Halibut—mid-July through mid-Sept. A small Halibut is about 15-20 lbs. However, they can be much bigger. Two 130-pounders were caught on one excursion. So be prepared…just for the “Halibut!”

Ketchikan mapIf you don’t want to “catch and release,” you can ship your catch home

There are fish processors nearby that will fillet your fish, vacuum pack and flash freeze it. Then provide them with a U.S. address and let them know what day you want your fish delivered. They will ship your fish overnight. It costs approximately $2.20 per pound (min of 20 lbs) to prepare the fish and then add the cost of shipping.

What you need to know to plan your Ketchikan salmon fishing excursion

The chartered fishing boats are steps away from your cruise ship. Depending on how long your boat is in port, you can choose a 4-, 6- or 8-hour fishing excursion. Anyone 16+ years will need to purchase an Alaskan fishing license (approx. $20). And, if you plan to fish for King Salmon, you’ll need to purchase the stamp. You should be able to purchase both from your captain.

Charter boats typically hold six passengers. The price of the excursion includes the captain who guides you to the fish hangouts. All the necessary fishing equipment is on board, too. There is also a heated, enclosed cabin and a restroom on board for your comfort and convenience.

There’s plenty more to do in Ketchikan

  • Ketchikan is a brightly painted town full of history. It was a favorite stop back in the days when frontiersmen needed a place to rest—and a place they could catch a little more than fish. (Visit The Museum at “Dolly’s House” for more information on the red-light district history.)
  • Visit the totem pole parks. Ketchikan is home of the largest collection of totem poles.
  • Creek StreetGreat shopping on Creek Street is just one block from the cruise ship. Spend the day shopping for locally, hand-crafted jewelry, sculptures, masks and smaller versions of totem poles.
  • If you want to see some log-rolling, axe throwing, pole climbing competitions then attend the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show.
  • Watch the bears catch salmon swimming upstream on a Tongass National Forest floatplane excursion.
  • Stretch your legs and get some exercise and fresh air, then take the 3-mile hike up to Deer Mountain.

It’s time to book your Alaskan cruise for 2014

Now is the time to book your Alaskan cruise for next year. Call a agent today to get more information on Alaskan cruises and cruisetours. Call 1-888-804-CRUIse(2784) or visit our website at

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Linda Brandt

Linda Brandt joined the team at in November 2011. She has been working with the marketing team in many capacities. Her new role is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. She studied journalism and writing in college and was a writer for The Campus newspaper for two years at the College of the Sequoias. She is also currently working on her Bachelor’s degree.

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