If you’re like most people, you probably associate sports fishing in the great state of Alaska with long summer days and the thrill of reeling in your catch under the iconic midnight sun. However, summer isn’t the only season in the Last Frontier when the fishing is good. One of the most well-kept secrets among many Alaska residents and visitors alike is that autumn offers a unique and rewarding fishing experience that rivals that of high summer. Following are just eight of the many reasons why you should book a fishing trip during the fall.
1- Ideal Water Temperatures
Water temperatures begin to cool down as summer fades away, and this means that most fish species will naturally become more active. Fish are also more likely to stick more closely to the surface of the water as seasonal temperatures decline, making them easier to spot. This is also the time of year when fish are actively feeding to prepare their bodies for the upcoming winter.
2- Fewer People
Fishing spots in Alaska can be nearly overwhelmed with visitors during the height of summer fishing season. In fact, there’s a phrase for fishing elbow-to-elbow with others — combat fishing. Autumn fishing offers a more relaxing experience with less crowding. As an added bonus, few people means that your guide will have more time to provide personalized service.
3- Cooler Weather
Although Alaska typically isn’t thought of as a warm-weather destination, summer temperatures can reach the 80s and 90s in some areas. Those who like it cooler will appreciate the pleasant relief that autumn brings.
4- Autumn Foliage
Fall foliage is stunning in Alaska, with plenty of vibrant purples, reds, oranges, and yellows accented by dark green conifers. You’ll have plenty of amazing photo opportunities, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
5- Diverse Species
Autumn offers a diverse variety of both fresh and saltwater species to target. Possibilities include silver salmon, chum salmon, brook trout, grayling, Northern pike, and Dolly Varden. Groundfish such as halibut and cod can also be caught during fall if you decide to go ocean fishing.
6- Exceptional Steelhead Fishing
Autumn in Alaska is particularly renowned for its iconic steelhead runs, which occur in wild rivers throughout much of the state. Steelhead fishing can last as long as the end of November, depending on location and how soon below-freezing temperatures arrive.
7- Decreased Costs
After the summer swell of tourism subsides, prices in Alaska tend to follow suit. By booking a fishing trip in autumn, you’ll be able to save money on everything from lodging to gear rental to meals in local restaurants. You may also be able to save a significant sum on airfare to and from Alaska during fall.
8- The Northern Lights
Visiting Alaska during autumn comes with the possibility that you may see the Aurora Borealis. During summer, the skies are too light in most of the state for this natural phenomenon to be visible, but as the days grow shorter and nights longer and darker, your chances of witnessing this breathtaking display of dancing lights increase substantially.