Kodiak Fishing Season For 2017

Kodiak Fishing Season 2017-Year of Anticipation

With the 2016 Kodiak fishing season being strong for bottom fishing and very challenging for salmon, everyone was looking forward to 2017 with high expectations.  Last year year was one of the lowest harvest years for Alaska salmon in decades.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game projections last spring estimated about 20% more silver salmon overall in 2017.   

The king salmon Kodiak fishing season started off very slowly for all of May into early June.  Then, kings came in very strong and stayed around all season.  We had a boat limit out (eight kings) the third week of August which has never happened before.  Kings were smaller in all areas in Alaska and British Columbia in 2017.  This Kodiak fishing season kings were mostly in the 25 to 35 pound range with only a few fish over 50 pounds.

Our First Day on the Water

We had planned our trip for the silver salmon run–our first day on the water was August 22.  The first morning out, the silvers had been slow so we headed for the bottom fishing spots.  Within a couple of hours, we had limited out ling cod.  We knew we would be lucky as Bill kept catching greenlings – the favorite snack of ling cod.  You take these and rehook them, drop them back down to the bottom and slowly reel up when you feel a nibble.  Ling cod will bite the bottom of the greenling and hold on as you reel.  The ling cod must be gaffed before it breaks the surface of the water, otherwise it lets go and swims away!

Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773

We caught more ling cod that first day than we had caught on all of our other trips combined.   The past two Kodiak fishing seasons have been very strong for bottom fish.  We knew the salmon were late so after the lings, we head to some favorite halibut spots.  After jigging for a while and trying several spots, no halibut.  So we decided to spend the rest of the day trolling for silvers hoping this was the day.

Kodiak fishing season_855-711-7773 Lisa with ling cod

Like my Ling?

We got a good hit on a rod and thought, “Here we go.”  We reeled in one of the largest black bass I had ever seen.  In the past, we have jigged up the bass pretty quickly on rock piles but not this trip.  We limited out on the bass that afternoon trolling for salmon and they were all huge.  OK by me–great grilled fish and tacos.  Caught a lot of pinks which we threw back as well, but still not a single halibut or silver.   All our Kodiak fishing seasons have been different and this time would be no exception. I think that people get an expectation that fish will jump in your boat in Alaska.  I find excitement in the entire hunt as conditions and fishing changes daily.

We Love Whales But Go Away Shamu!

We headed out on day two with determination.  There were some great whale shows on the water our first day.  We had some breaching whales within just a few hundred feet of the boat.  Every Kodiak fishing season for us has had lots of whales and they are mostly baleen whales that eat krill like the humpback–except for one species.   I am looking off the boat as we are running out into the straits.   In the distance, I see some fasting moving, black dorsal fins lunging through the water.   More than a dozen orcas were cruising along one side of the straits.  We watched and heard reports from other boats as the mega-pod cruised up one side of the Straits, crossed over, and the swam back down the other side.  Of course, all the fish just scattered and were gone.  We knew until they passed through the straits it would be slim pickins’ fishing.


Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773 Orcas

Uggg – Orcas will screw up your fishing.


The good news was this all happened first thing that morning.  We bottom fished and got more lings–still no halibut.  Salmon trolling got our limit of big black bass again and we did catch a few silvers.  Hope springs eternal when waiting for the start of a salmon run.  Dinner that night was full of optimism as always in the lodge.  While we are all there to catch fish, the friends, guides and scenery always keep us happy and laughing.  Anglers understand that every day is a new opportunity for that dream fishing experience.

Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773 breaching whale

This humpback gave us quite a show. Pretty close!

The Difference A Day Makes

We fished hard the last two days.  On day four, we went around Sitkalidak Island to the open ocean and caught some nice halibut finally.  A few more silvers and more bass ultimately filled a couple of boxes for us.  It just wasn’t in the cards for us with the salmon this trip.  We would see a nice bait ball, head toward it and then see a whale suck the whole thing down right in front of us.  This happened multiple times. I have eaten a lot of salmon so having the bottom fish to take home is great.  Sure–I say that about whatever fish I catch.  I was really disappointed about the salmon.  We did make the best of our time with our favorite guide, Conrad Peterson.  We’ve been friends for 14 years now.  He always puts us on the fish and we laugh and laugh together.  You can’t beat that.

Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773 Lisa Conrad and Bill

Our favorite guide…the mighty Conrad!

We had come to fish for five days but the weather forecast was ominous.  A “big blow” was coming–you could see a hurricane looking storm with an eye and everything in the Pacific and coming toward us.  We were going to the Kodiak Brown Bear Center from the lodge and decided to leave a day early so we would not get weathered out.  That morning, our friends head out as we flew out on the float plane.  Wouldn’t you know, every boat limited out on silvers that day and for the rest of the trips into September.  All you can do is laugh. That’s fishing folks!

Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773 Bear Chasing Salmon

One of our many photos I took of Kodiak Brown Bears!

Our 2017 Kodiak Fishing Season

The oceans are a dynamic place.  The salmon are recovering from whatever catastrophic events that happened in the deep waters in 2016.  Each Kodiak fishing season is different.  For me, the disappointment I feel at the time when the fishing is slow gives way to why I really fish and what we all logically know.  You put yourself in the best place, with the best people, and the best time and hope Mother Natures smiles on you.  I know there is always a smile–perhaps just knowing that we all come back to do it again.

Kodiak fishing season 855-711-7773 Bill on the Boat

Bill enjoying a cigar with Bear Claw Beach behind him. What a beautiful fishing day.

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