June 20, 2024

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The Complete Guide To Seward Fly Fishing

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Seward is a magical place in Alaska. Here, the ocean breeze carries the promise of adventure. There are very few people and hundreds of miles of coastline. Fishing in Seward is an experience every outdoor enthusiast should have at least once in their life. It’s not just about untouched forests, crystal-clear rivers, and deep blue seas. In Seward, you get to truly connect with nature and everything it has to offer.

Fishing in Seward allows you to explore this timeless landscape, venture out into deep seas, or just enjoy the remote wilderness. Speaking of which, Seward has access to the Kenai Fjords National Park with its towering ice cliffs and unparalleled beauty. What more can an angler wish for?

In this guide, we’ll talk about the most interesting fish species you can catch in this remote Alaskan town. You’ll also learn about the best time to wet a line and the most productive techniques to come back home with some bragging rights. Let’s dive right in.

What can I catch while fishing in Seward?

A sign saying "Caught at Seward, Alaska" with numerous Halibuts of various sizes, a couple of Salmon, and a Rockfish hanging from it on a cloudy day

Seward is nestled on the shores of Resurrection Bay, a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska, which means that you can target the best saltwater species in the Last Frontier. Salmon, Rockfish, and Halibut are all in the cards for any saltwater fishing enthusiast. And we’ve got more on that below.

But it’s not all about the ocean. Seward is home to various rivers and streams. The Resurrection River flows through the town, offering several species of Salmon, along with Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden. In addition to that, you can explore the area’s lakes and creeks, and get your hands on Char and Northern Pike.


It’s safe to say that Salmon are among the most important game fish in Alaska. In Seward, you can find Chinook (King) Salmon weighing well over 50 pounds, along with smaller – yet still pretty big – Coho (Silver) Salmon. And that’s not all! Anglers can also get their hands on Chum, Pink, and Sockeye Salmon.  

A female angler in a baseball cap, smiling and holding a Salmon, with the calm waters of a river, a boat, and fall foliage behind her on a clear day
Photo taken by Alaskan Angling Adventures

So, where can you go Salmon fishing in Seward? The best spots are along the coastline, especially if you’re after Chinook. Silver Salmon, meanwhile, enter the outer areas of Resurrection Bay, such as Cheval Island and Pony, Agnes, Porcupine, and Bulldog Coves around the last week of June.

The season typically starts in May and runs through September, peaking during the summer months. Some anglers troll for “feeder” Kings year-round, although it’s not that common. Fly fishing, trolling, and drift fishing are all possible. But, depending on which Salmon you’re after, you might need to bring some heavy tackle.


Speaking of heavy tackle, if that’s what you’re into, you’ll love the Seward Halibut fishing action. Anglers report catches weighing well over 200 pounds every year, and you can even come across a 500 lb fish!

An angler in full fishing gear, holding a large Halibut aboard a fishing boat in Alaska with the water and a trolling rod behind him and some land in the distance
Photo taken by Anchor Down Sportfishing

Seward Halibut typically hang out around deepwater reefs, craggy bottoms, and along remote coastal stretches. We suggest booking at least an 8 hour trip to fish for Halibut, since some of the best fishing takes place over 50 miles from town. These species are highly adaptable, so anglers tend to look for them in depths ranging from 90 to 2,500 feet. Montague Island and Hinchinbrook Entrance are good spots for a Halibut trip, along with Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska.

You can go for Halibut anytime from May through October. If a regular fishing trip isn’t enough, consider taking part in the Seward Halibut fishing tournament that takes place in June. Get ready for some serious action, though, as these monsters are incredibly tough fighters!


It’s no secret that there are more than 30 species which fall under the umbrella of “Rockfish” in the Gulf of Alaska. In Seward, you can target anything from Yelloweye to Black and Quillback Rockfish all year round, especially from May through September. In fact, a lot of anglers end up with Rockfish when fishing for Halibut.

An angler wearing fishing gear and orange gloves, holding a bright orange Rockfish aboard a fishing boat in Seward, with the water behind him on a sunny day
Photo taken by Anchor Down Sportfishing

The best action normally happens around reefs, rocky bottoms, and underwater structure just outside of Resurrection Bay. Depending on which species you’re after, you might want to switch tactics when fishing. Trolling, jigging, and bait fishing are the go-to techniques.

Different types of Rockfish that patrol the local waters may have their own specific regulations. For instance, you can keep one Yelloweye per person per day, while the overall Rockfish limit is five. Note that the majority of Rockfish in Seward are anywhere from 10 to 60 years old, making them very susceptible to over-harvesting.


Some locals say that Lingcod can scare even the most experienced pro. Alaskans often call these fish “mean,” mainly due to their incredible fighting abilities – especially if you catch them on a light rod.

A man in an orange beanie hat holding a large Lingcod by its gills on a fishing charter in Alaska, with two men behind him fishing and the water in the distance
Photo taken by Blue Ice Alaska Charters

When the conditions allow, you can fish for Rockfish, Halibut, and Lingcod on the same trip. In fact, some even call it the “Ultimate Seward Combo.” Look for areas with shallow rock piles, rocky reefs, and ledges in and around the Montague, Rugged, and Chiswell Islands. The season usually opens in July, although you’ll need to check the exact days ahead of time.

Unlike Rockfish, Lingcod don’t have air bladders, which helps if you’re interested in releasing the fish back into the water. A lot of locals practice catch-and-release without the worry of unintentionally harming the fish.

Where can I go fishing in Seward?

A view of the entrance of the municipal boat harbor in Seward, with a blue sign arching over a path towards the dock, saying "Welcome: Seward Municipal Boat Marina" on a cloudy day

Now that you’ve got an overview of the top fish species in Seward, it’s time to talk about where to find them. The best way to explore the local waters is on a boat, although there are some locations that can keep shore anglers busy, too.

Here’s a list of Seward fishing spots for you to consider:

  • Resurrection Bay: Arguably the most popular fishing spot in Seward, Resurrection Bay is known for its Salmon and Halibut. There are various honey holes in the bay, including Thumb Cove and Fox Island.
  • Kenai River: If you’re after some of the best Salmon fishing in Alaska, head to Cooper Landing, which is just an hour’s drive from Seward. This spot gives you easy access to the mighty Kenai River.
  • Montague Island: This is a remote island off the coast of Seward, accessible via boat. You can fish for Halibut and Rockfish around Boulder Bay, Lighthouse Reef, and Jackson Cove.
  • Lowell Point: This spot is located just south of Seward and is perfect for shore fishing. If the conditions allow, you can target a variety of interesting fish species that hang out close to shore.
  • Resurrection River: This is a freshwater river that flows through Seward. Here, you can target anything from Salmon to Trout when the season allows.
  • Aialik Bay: Aialik Bay is located within Kenai Fjords National Park and offers a remote fishing experience for Halibut, Salmon, Rockfish, and who knows what else.
  • Seward Small Boat Harbor: The Seward Small Boat Harbor is a great place to start your fishing adventure. You can also fish right from the dock.

Fly-in Fishing in Seward

It’s hard to picture a real Alaskan fishing adventure without thinking about the most remote locations to wet a line in. There are a couple of lakes between Seward and the Sterling Highway that offer fly-in fishing opportunities. There are closed seasons and restrictions, though, so you’ll need to check them in advance.

Fly fishing enthusiasts can hop on a float plane and head to Johnson and Bench Lakes. If you’re after something a little bit different from Salmon fishing, consider fishing the inlet and outlet of Crescent Lake, along with the Upper and Lower Paradise Lakes. These areas are known for their excellent Grayling fishing, while there’s also a small population of Rainbow Trout in the Lower Paradise.

How can I go fishing in Seward?

A view across the water on a misty morning of a fly angler casting their line with an outstretched arm in the freshwaters of Alaska
Photo taken by Lakeview Outfitters

You’re almost set for your Seward fishing adventure, but there are a few things left to discuss. You have the list of your potential catches, spots you want to check out, and a trip booked during the peak season. So, how exactly can you catch your Salmon and Halibut?

The short answer is: you can try your hand at anything from fly fishing and trolling to jigging and bottom fishing. However, there are various tips and tricks that locals use to tempt the fish onto their hook. Read on.

Seward Salmon Fishing Techniques

As one of the most prized fish in Seward, King Salmon are also pretty tricky to catch. Locals recommend fishing for Chinook a couple of hours before and after a tidal change. In some cases, fly fishing works best at low tide, while bait and lures are perfect at high tide.

A view across the water of a small aluminum fishing boat, featuring a few anglers, casting into the water near Seward on a cloudy day, with green foliage behind them
Photo taken by Chugach View Outfitters

You can get the fish to bite if you use large, bright flies. King Salmon are notoriously light biters, so you might want to set the hook and hold on if your fly stops. Adjust the weight whenever necessary and let your fly flow down the river, following the current.

If fly fishing isn’t your style, there’s always good old trolling. Downriggers are the accessories of choice if you’re after saltwater Salmon, along with bait plugs. In addition to trolling, you can also go spinning and casting with large, bright lures. When picking bait, consider salmon roe or herring for saltwater.

You’ll use a similar technique for landing Silver, Pink, and Chum Salmon, although you’ll most likely be fishing in clear water. If you can’t find any clear spot around, look for deeper holes where the water slows down. That’s where your spooky Salmon are hiding.

Seward Lingcod and Halibut Fishing Techniques

Some of the best Seward Lingcod fishing happens in offshore waters near rocks and underwater structure, so you’ll need to use a heavier weight line and leader. A lot of anglers hook into a large Halibut while fishing for Lingcod, which, to be honest, can hardly disappoint anyone who’s into jigging or bottom fishing.

An angler struggling over the side of a fishing boat in Seward, as he battles it out with a big Lingcod or Halibut with the water and some land in the distance on a sunny day
Photo taken by Anchor Down Sportfishing

A medium stour rod and level-wind reel loaded with 200–400 yards of 30–80 lb test line is a common Lingcod combo. Pair it with a 12–18″ leader made of wire or heavy monofilament to fish like the locals. Terminal tackle typically includes silvery lures or jigs that you can aggressively bound on or near the bottom. Bait such as Herring also works well.

You’ll also need some seriously heavy tackle to bring Halibut to the surface, such as 400 lb monofilament leaders with beefy circle hooks and bait—salmon belly strips, squid, octopus, and herring. Of course, you can use plastic and metal jigs as well, mimicking the fish Halibut feed on. As for the gear, consider a stout 5–7′ rod with a star-drag reel that’s capable of holding up to 300 yards of 30–80 lb test line.

Seward Fishing Regulations

An infographic featuring the flag of Alaska and text that says "Seward Fishing Regulations: What You Need to Know" against a dark blue background

Fishing licenses and other permits aren’t normally included on Seward charter fishing trips. You’ll need to purchase a license for fresh or saltwater, depending on where you’ll be fishing. If Salmon is on the list of your potential catches, you’ll also need a separate Salmon stamp. Check out our handy guide concerning all Alaska fishing permits.

Note that you’ll have to wait until June before the season opens if you’re planning to fish the Resurrection River. Plus, you’re not allowed to keep freshwater King Salmon, while other species are available in certain parts of the river.

Some parts of the Resurrection Bay are also closed. For instance, there are certain regulations in place when it comes to Lingcod fishing inside the Bay, as well as in the area north of the line from Cape Aialik to Cape Resurrection. It’s never a bad idea to head out with a local guide, as they keep you from fishing the protected waters.

Fishing in Seward: Mountains, Glaciers, Ocean, Fishing

A couple pose next to a sign saying "Caught at Seward, Alaska" with five Halibuts of various sizes hanging from it on a clear day with snow-capped mountains in the distance behind them
Photo taken by Fantasea Charters

It’s hard to picture a better place to wet a line in. Fishing in Seward allows you to explore Alaska’s beauty and get to know the state’s prime sportfishing destinations. Its reputation is well deserved, with an incredible diversity of species and a myriad of honey holes. But don’t just take our word for it—see it for yourself!

Have you ever been fishing in Seward? Was it Salmon that made you fall in love with the place? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Seward Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Seward Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/seward-fishing/
Published Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2023 12:10:33 +0000

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