One of the best months to fly fish in Alaska or to go deep sea fishing is August. August fishing in Alaska means that halibut fishing is in peak season, coho salmon are showing up, and rainbow trout fishing is entering prime season!
If you are primarily targeting coho salmon the fishing heats up after August 15th. Sockeye fishing slows in early August, and is better in the first week of the month. Fishing in Alaska for trout, dollies and grayling is great with some fisheries truly peaking for the year. Another benefit of August is that the bugs are on the downwards trend with the cooler weather!
August Fishing in Alaska for Salmon
Depending on the year, August can be one of the wettest months in Alaska. It’s always a weather gamble, but anglers who take the risk can be rewarded with very productive fishing! After all, August is a favorite month for the anglers who want to catch lots of salmon. So pack that rain jacket!
While the bulk of the sockeye run has already happened across the state, there are still some fresh fish trickling into the rivers. However, it’s not nearly as substantial as July. For anglers wanting to fill a fish box, the first week of August can still be a good time to target sockeye.
On rivers like the Kenai, there are often less people targeting sockeye this month, which provides more open water. Be prepared to catch more sockeye that are past their prime and not ideal for harvest. By this we mean that sockeye that are red in color are not good to eat.
Coho / Silver Salmon:
Coho, nicknamed silver salmon in Alaska, are the real salmon prize fish during August. Coho are a favorite species for beginner anglers who want easy fishing with lots of action. Not only that, but coho are the most acrobatic pacific salmon and give off quit a show!
For fly fishers interested in catching fish on topwater, August is without a doubt the best time to fish on poppers. It is hard not to find success fly fishing for coho as long as you bring a box of the right (pink) coho flies!
Fly fishing for chum salmon during August is usually a short window. At the beginning of the month, a few chums in calico colors can still be found in sloughs and eddies prior to spawning. You might even pick off a chrome fish just entering the river if you use the right chum flies. During August they fight more like bulldogs – watch out for their large teeth!
Most chums have started spawning higher in the river systems, but an odd late fish can still be found. Please be sure to leave spawning fish alone to keep future runs strong!
August Fishing in Alaska for Trout & Dolly Varden
Anglers should not overlook the resident fish species Alaska has to offer. While the salmon fishing is a huge component of he Alaskan livelihood, locals cherish sportfish species, like our indigenous rainbow rout, grayling, and dolly varden.
Across the state of Alaska, August finds rainbow trout fishing turning hot as the peak season begins for the fall months. You can catch trout using a variety of fly fishing methods from using mouse patterns, flesh flies, trout beads or even trout spey tactics!
With the days growing shorter the resident trout begin to eat whatever they can to prepare for the long winter ahead. The big reason that trout fishing really turns on is that the sockeye are in full spawning mode during August, providing a surplus of protein for the trout to feed on. In the Bristol Bay lake systems, this often brings the big lake dwellers into fly friendly water!
Like trout fishing, August is the beginning of ‘dolly season” getting really, really good! These opportunistic fish pack on pounds eating chum and sockeye eggs. In fact, this is the reason anadromous forms of dolly varden have already returned to the rivers – they don’t spawn until early winter.
Late August finds some dollies getting some gorgeous colors, also called ‘clowned up’. Bring a camera and prepare for lots of action when dolly varden fly fishing. Once you have hooked one, you are bound to find more! Depending on your fishing location, you might catch arctic char as well!
August fishing in Alaska marks the end of the good summer arctic grayling fishing window in many parts of the state. Some of the best arctic grayling fishing in Alaska can be accessed from the Denali Highway or areas around Fairbanks. This is also a great month to hike to alpine lakes on the Kenai Peninsula to target grayling. Higher elevations will be the first to show off Alaska’s autumn colors so give it a try in August.
Dry fly fishing for arctic grayling is our recommended method as it is the most interactive technique. Most fish will willingly take a well presented dry fly but some nymphs and streamers work as great flies for grayling as well!