Ketchikan Salmon Fishing Reports – Next Report for 2021
A look back and a look forward at fishing outcomes in Southeast Alaska.
2021 Projection: This year is shaping up to be a stellar fishing year. With reduced pressure on the fishery last year, we are seeing some improved returns this year. Halibut have been biting hard and fast. We expect this trend to continue. Cruising will be limited in 2021, so this year and next could be grand for fishing.
2020 Summary: We all know 2020 was an unprecedented year. The fishing lived up. We had some big hits landing kings way late into the season. We also had some surprises along the way with runs migrating slightly differently than years past. That’s the joy of fishing, I guess. We didn’t have a single cruise ship in port with the pandemic restrictions. This may have put a bit less stress on the fishery this year, so 2021 could be an epic year.
2019 Summary: For the 2019 fishing season, king salmon had some restrictions. However, with the Rosemary June being a fast and nimble boat, we were able to get to areas where you are allowed to keep kings and where the salmon aren’t as sparse. Pink salmon were quite stellar this year. And the silver salmon fishing, like usual, was good enough to fill my freezer. Halibut, rockfish, and lingcod fishing were landed and tasty as ever, keeping Ketchikan on the list as a top fishing destination.
2018 Summary: Unfortunately this did not turn into the banner year that was expected. Ketchikan fisheries are well maintained and strictly managed by the State of Alaska. For the first time in memory, the Annual King Salmon Derby was canceled due to low returns. Commercial fisherman fared relatively well with their ability to travel long distances. Sport fisherman, however, found another challenging year for those not willing to put in the time. Southeast Alaska remains an incredibly rich and robust fishery. However, it is simply not as easy as it used to be to come home with trophy fish. Pinks and cohos are the low hanging fruit, and we can just about always get our limit in July and August. For the trophy kings though, you will need to commit yourself to more work in terms of distance from town and time with gear in the water.
2017 Summary: This was a down year with unusually low returns across the board. Many salmon species have biannual patterns, which would suggest a dramatic turnaround for 2018. However, like most projections, they are not precise and are based on an ever-changing environment.
The below chart shows the average price per pound for each species of salmon found in Southeast Alaska. The prices are negatively correlated to the overall catch. For example – in 2017 the overall pink numbers were down, which led to an increase in the price per pound. This is why the pink price shot up to 0.42 cents per pound. This is an incredible price for pinks, but unfortunately, the charter fisherman could not catch many. The chart gives you a good idea of the historical numbers for Ketchikan’s commercial fisheries.
Source: Undercurrent News
2021 Fishing Season Projection For Ketchikan, Alaska
2021 Projection: For the 2021 fishing season, we will wait to see what, if any, restrictions will be put on the fishery. With the reduced tourism traffic in 2020 due to the pandemic, we may be seeing epic numbers of returns for 2021. Wouldn’t that be a great way to recover from such a difficult year? We sure think so. The Rosemary June will be in top shape getting some winter maintenance. I am still impressed with how fast and smooth she runs getting anywhere the fish are swimming.