Chinook (King) Salmon
Oh the Mighty King Salmon, largest of the 5 Pacific Salmon that are native to Alaska. Kodiak, while having only 2 rivers with natural runs of Kings, is one of the most consistent for Kings. Fish from all over the PNW and Alaska spend their lives feeding in Kodiak’s highly nutrient rich waters. Kodiak is also home to the most concentrated schools of 50+ pound kings, there are more 50+ pound saltwater kings caught in the waters on Kodiak Island than anywhere else in the world. They are here in our Kodiak waters all year, with Apr-June15th being the best time for chances at joining the 50lb club. Their fatty red and white, yes, about 33-50% of our Kodiak Kings are white, they are amazing on the grill and by far the best tasting of the salmon. In Kodiak we are currently allowed to retain 2 kings per day, no size restrictions, no residency restrictions.
Coho (Silver) Salmon
The acrobatic Coho spends its life somewhere offshore in the North Pacific, returning to Kodiak Island on their spawning runs in July. July 1st we start seeing a few, and every day brings more and more as they converge in great schools, devouring anything they can to put on weight before returning to local Kodiak Rivers to spawn. When they first arrive they are in the 3-5lb class, by the time mid-August arrives these fish are in the 9-13lb class. Acrobatic, ferocious and delicious with a succulent, firm bright red meat, they are the prime fish for filling the freezer before winter. Currently in Kodiak, 5 per day per person.
Kodiak does receive 5 of the 6 Pacific Salmon species, the remaining 3 we don’t necessarily target in the saltwater. The Chum, or Dog Salmon, is the 2ng largest of the Salmon species and we catch them in July. They are decent table fair and good for the smoker. Pink salmon, small, feisty and can be a ROYAL pain in the put when targeting Kings and Silvers. They are the smallest of the 5 and return in numbers that can’t be described in words. Sockeye aka Red Salmon are a rare catch in Kodiak Saltwater’s. They are extremely acrobatic, anyone that has fished the Great Lakes for steelhead in open water, that’s exactly what they’re like. Their bright red meat is nearly neon in color and is a delight in the smoker or on the barbie.
Pacific Halibut are the largest sport fish in Alaska and will put any angler to the test. In Kodiak here the halibut average 20-45lbs, with 100lb fish numerous and 150+lb fish not uncommon. They pull hard, making reel screaming runs and are a lovely treat at the dinner table…after a nice hot oil bath of course. In Kodiak we see much more liberal limits than Southeast Alaska where they have a reverse slot limit allowing you to only keep fish under 40lbs and over 186. Here charter anglers are allowed 2 halibut a day with one being under 29”, the second any size and an annual limit of 5 fish.
These beasts, ya….. Lingcod are a member on the Greenling family, and just like the perch to the walleye, greenling are great baits for Lingcod. Lingcod here in Kodiak average 15-30lbs with 40-60lbs not uncommon and the world record being 82lbs. Lingcod are truly enjoyable to chase here in Kodiak as we target them shallower than most other areas and enjoy more liberal limit and season for both resident and nonresidents. We fish them in water 60-130 feet deep on large rock piles with large jigs and live herring. On flat calm days they will migrate up to the surface to check out the boat, attacking your jigs as you drop them in the water and devouring the rockfish that are likely hiding in the shade beneath the boat. If you love actively working gear likes jigs and having rods nearly ripped out of your hands, this is the fishing for you. While not the greatest of fighters, the vicious strikes, ferocious eat anything including each other king of the rock pile attitude they have, makes them one of my favorites to chase, 2nd only to the big kings. And they can be dangerous in the boat, with a mouth full of teeth that makes Dracula look like a school girl, you do not want to try a lip one like a bass. For table fair many people place them at the tops of the whitefish ranks, including me. They have a moist flavorful meat that is great in tacos, for a fish fry and grilled or baked. In Kodiak anglers are allowed 2 lingcod per day, no size limits with a season that runs from July1st thru Dec31st.
Old reliable rockfish, they have saved a many days of slow fishing all over Alaska. There are more species of rockfish than I could ever try and list, the main ones here in Kodiak, Black and Yelloweye. Black Rockfish could be described as smallmouth bass on steroids. They average 3-5lbs with 8 and 9lbs being the upper end. They fight like there’s no tomorrow, and the feed like a starved fat kid that just found the cookie jar, and they are perfect for the kids to fish, honestly. They will swarm under the boat come out of the water to attack jigs, feed with a reckless abandon and are one of the most entertaining to fish. They have a firm white meat that is very scrumptious, and they can fill a cooler quickly. Yelloweye aren’t as abundant, their haunts are deep water rock piles and targeting them is deep water fishing. They are the most gorgeous orange colors, and their meat is as tasty as their skin is bright. They are very slow growing with the large specimens probably having been alive during the Civil War, and take a very long time to reproduce, making them very susceptible to over fishing. For this reason I do not normally target them and usually take them as a “bonus” catch.