Pacific salmon are anadromous fish, meaning their life cycle includes time in both fresh and salt water. When you are fishing for salmon on the Narwhal you will be targeting adult Pacific salmon in the saltwater. The salmon we catch are on their way back to their natal creeks to spawn. These fish are in optimal health and are full of vim and vigor. You’ll have a heck of a good fight to get one in the boat and you’ll earn every filet you bring home.
There are five species of pacific salmon and they are all found in the waters around Juneau. The “runs” are staggered throughout the summer, therefore the time of month you plan to fish will dictate what salmon species you will likely encounter.
Please remember there are state and federal regulations set in place to regulate the size and quantity of salmon and halibut we can retain. This is to protect the resource for future generations. These regulations are subject to change, if you have any questions about them please feel free to ask Captain Alan.
Adult Chinook (AKA The King Salmon)
The Chinook is perhaps the best known of all the Pacific salmon. It is the largest of the salmon species growing up to 90lbs or more, although the adult Kings we encounter are typically in the 15-25lb range. Wild King salmon runs have been on the decline recently, however we target hatchery raised Kings in specific areas and the fish we keep have no impact on the wild run but are just as delicious! We target Chinooks from Mid June to early July. There are juvenile Chinooks eating and living in the coastal waters around Juneau too. They are too young spawn yet. We can only retain a feeder King salmon if it exceeds a certain length, otherwise we release it to grow bigger! Like the adult Kings, feeders put up a great fight. Feeder King salmon are present in Juneau waters year round.
Pink Salmon. (AKA The Humpy)
Pinks are without doubt the most numerous salmon in our waters. They are very bitey, hitting lures with abandon. They are great fighters for their size and provide a huge amount of sport on the deck! Pink salmon are the most abundant of all salmon species harvested in Alaska. They are especially good smoked and often used in pasta’s, soups or salmon burgers (our personal favorite!). Pinks arrive in late June.
Chum Salmon (AKA Dog Salmon)
Chums are the “Rodney Dangerfield” of the Pacific salmon, they “get no respect.” But they certainly deserve an angler’s respect! Chums are hard fighters, make tough runs and will bulldog it out beneath the boat testing the skill and strength of even the most seasoned angler. Their flesh smokes up beautifully and they taste much milder than their cousins. Chums arrive in late June/ Early July.
Coho Salmon (AKA Silvers)
Cohos are a favorite with locals and visitors alike. Unlike Chums and Kings who fight deep, Cohos are acrobatic surface fighters who will run and jump at breakneck speeds. Fighting and landing an energetic coho is the stuff tall fishing tales are made of and their power is enough to test novice or experienced anglers! Not only are they great fighters but they freeze well and taste amazing. Cohos arrive in mid July and you can catch them into September.
Sockeye salmon are a huge part of the commercial fishery but do not appear very often in our fish box. The reason for this is they feed on microscopic plankton, so they aren’t interested in eating big lures or herring when they see them behind the boat. Occasionally, one will hit a lure, if that happens embrace your good luck! They taste fantastic… if you can catch them!
Halibut are deep sea dwelling flat fish. We target them below 200ft so bring your “strong arm” for reeling! They are ferocious fighters but it’s worth the battle to get them onboard! These are limited to one per person along with size limits so ask us for clarification. Halibut fishing is especially fun because everyone is engaged as it is very “hands on” because you are “jigging” with the rod. Anyone who has never been fishing loves this experience. Halibut freezes well, and tastes great no matter how its prepared ( in pan, on the BBQ,, in tacos, battered, etc). We target Halibut from late June through mid August when they are most plentiful but that does not mean they aren’t around otherwise.
Processing your catch:
At the end of the trip Captain Alan and Tanja will have the fish cleaned and ready to go to the processor. We recommend using Jerry’s Meats. He is local and we take our own fish to him. Jerry’s will pick up the fish, fillet, freeze and ship your catch directly to your home. Alternatively if you are staying in Juneau and flying home, a cheaper option is for you to take your fish to Jerry’s so that they can process it/ prep it for you to take as checked luggage. Jerry’s is very familiar with doing this, and Alaska Airlines ship thousands of pounds of fish on their flights throughout the summer, so no need to worry about it getting home with you. Processing fees are NOT included in your charter. You will pay the processor directly for processing and shipping. These are calculated based on weight and shipping distance.