Kodiak Island Fishing

Is this the Alaska fishing spot for you? Let's go fishing in Alaska!

Is this the Alaska fishing spot for you? Let’s go fishing in Alaska!

Kodiak Island fishing is remote and pristine.  Our first family fishing vacation was to Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge.  We have returned many times and Kodiak will always be one of our favorite places to fish.   Bill has written several articles about our family trips to the Lodge including Our First Family Fishing Vacation on Kodiak and Kodiak Fishing Seasons and Our Family Memories.  We hope you enjoy reading these stories about us and how much fishing has changed our lives.

Kodiak Alaska fishing lodges are accessible only by boat or airplane.  With higher fish limits and fewer boats and people, Alaska residents make the trip to Kodiak Island for their fishing trips versus fishing in local waters.   Kodiak Island is the perfect destination for people wanting to focus mostly on catching fish and some wildlife viewing.  We have more information for planning your vacation to go fishing on Kodiak in the categories at the right about traveling to Kodiak, other activities on Kodiak, the culture and people of Kodiak Island, and of course the fish species you catch going fishing on Kodiak Island.

The chart below shows the most popular Alaska Fish Species and the months they are running.  Each location may have different times and not all fish may be available at every lodge.

chart of all alaska fish with size and seasons

People want something more when they go fishing on Kodiak Island.  They seek a very remote area and to fish in places where few people have gone.  Kodiak Island is a rare adventure vacation where you come back with more than just big fish.  My family’s first trip to Alaska was fishing together on Kodiak.  Our family has gone to Kodiak Island many times. Some of the best times of our lives together have happened going fishing on Kodiak Island.

Fishing Vacations in Alaska

Fishing Vacations in Alaska – What A Catch!

What do best fishing vacations include? The excitement of watching your rod pop and hearing a resounding “FISH ON!” generates the adrenaline rush that makes deep-sea fishing vacations thrilling.  When I am sitting in my office and remembering my most fulfilling, best fishing vacations and big fish adventures, my thoughts immediately recall the summer fishing vacations in cool, misty Alaska. While trolling for salmon everyone decompresses soaking up the sunshine, clearing their stresses with deep breaths of the clean, crisp air and enjoying easy conversation. Then right when you almost forget why you are in this beautiful surrounding, there is a rod-doubling hit, the reel is screaming and immediately you know that a Trophy King Salmon is ready for a fight. And while the thrill of the Kings is always at the back of your mind, in Alaska the bottom fishing is also great.  It is like a present every single time you reel that fish to the surface, the anticipation of what natural wonder will be on the end of the line?  A huge, flat halibut, a prehistoric ling cod, or a delicious yellow eye?  Can you imagine yourself on the boat with the reel screaming? Our article “What is Your Favorite Alaska Fish Species? A Difficult Decision” provides details about all of these fish and when they are running.

How to Get to Kodiak Island

Traveling to Kodiak Island fishing lodges is complicated.  Our article “Flying In Alaska Is a Way of Life” explains how to plan flights and contains information to make your trip comfortable and worry free.


There are two scenarios for travel to Kodiak.  If you live in the Pacific Time Zone with early flights to Seattle or Vancouver for connections, we recommend flying to Anchorage and spending the night to start your Kodiak Island fishing vacation.  Most people will fly from their home airports to Seattle and then on to Anchorage.  If you are meeting a group from other locations, it is best that they meet you in Anchorage.  The next morning, you proceed to Kodiak City.  The other scenario is to make the trip to Kodiak all in one day. This gives you the next day to enjoy Kodiak prior to your fishing time.  If you are fishing at Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge, our preferred lodge, another short flight is required that departs a small commercial airline in late afternoon.   Flights from Kodiak City to Old Harbor, Alaska take about 30 minutes.

  • Departure Kodiak City to Old Harbor 4:30PM arrive 4:50PM
  • Return to Kodiak City from Lodge late afternoon to connect with your flight off the island.

The local island airlines are just outside the Kodiak Airport Main terminal.  Don’t let “terminal” confuse you—it is very small and luggage slides in through a roll up door.  No jet ways here—you walk down the stairs and a few feet to the building.  Once you have gotten your luggage, you can walk to the local airline.  You will see them from the front door of the terminal.  If you are staying the night in Kodiak City, there are shuttles to the Best Western which in in the small town area.  We recommend that you do not use taxi cabs as they are very expensive (approximately $80 round trip to town).

Where To Stay

There are two hotels in town.  The Best Western has a shuttle and is within walking distance of the marina, restaurants, and small local museums.  The Comfort Suites is across the airport parking lot.  They have a restaurant available so you don’t need to go into town.  There are also various Bed & Breakfasts in town that require a car rental.

Things To Do

If you rent a car you can drive the road system to see more of the island.  There are wild buffalo and other wildlife to be seen.  Fort Abercrombie is an interesting place with an interesting hiking trail and WWII history.  There are historical tour guides or road system fishing guides that can be scheduled for more information about the island.  There are fly-out tours for bear watching, river rafting, and flight historical tours available.  There is so much wildlife viewing from the fishing boat taking a wildlife tour on the water isn’t necessary.


On a Kodiak Island fishing vacation, you come home with much more baggage than you take.  Pack as lightly as you can.  We recommend each person bring only a carry-on bag if possible.   Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge has free washers and dryers you can use.  Remember you will be returning with 50 pound boxes of frozen fish as checked luggage.    What you need to bring is one of our most frequently asked questions as well. Drafted these two FAQ’s from web site materials


Kodiak Island fishing vacations do not require a passport or any other additional documents.  The same identification document (e.g. your driver’s license) is all you need to travel to Alaska.  Luxurious Fishing Vacations In AlaskaPurchasing sports fishing licenses is quite simple.  I will help you get your licensing after booking your fishing vacation.  All anglers over 16 must purchase licenses.  Licenses may be ordered online, purchased at many sporting goods stores or at Alaska Fish and Game offices.  Sometimes the licenses are available at your fishing lodge as they are at Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance should be considered for Kodiak Island fishing trips.  As with many places in Alaska, Kodiak has periods with fog and wind which will impede travel.  Typical airline insurance does not cover your cost for many issues that can arise on a trip to a remote destination – especially cancellation fees. A quote is easy to receive with a quick call to us and you can travel with additional peace of mind in the event there is a hiccup in your travel.

Kodiak Island Fishing

Kodiak Island is one of the premier Alaska fishing vacation destinations.  Your first day fishing at Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge starts with your favorite beverage available around 6:00 am and then breakfast.  You suit up in rain gear and grab your camera! A short van ride to the marina and we are at the boats at 7:30 am.  All lunch, beverages and snacks will be on board waiting for you.

You will get to know your captain well.  You will head out in the morning for salmon and then fish for halibut, ling cod, and the other bottom fish.  Kodiak Island fishing ends around 5:00 pm returning to the harbor and the professional fish processor waiting to filet, vacuum seal and flash freeze your catch.

Alaska fishing guide Conrad Peterson with Erin Montgomery

Our favorite fishing guide in Old Harbor – Conrad Peterson

Local fishing guides are the key to great fishing, as they know the tides, the species, the local waters and what spots have been hot.  Their personalities range from quiet to sassy to very

friendly…that’s part of their charm!  Guides are a wonderful resource to learn about the local folklore, helping you spot wildlife and explaining their activities, and most importantly for a Kodiak Island fishing vacation, filling your box with fish to take home and enjoy for the coming year.

Fishing limits are always a concern, as they are different in all of the areas in Alaska.  There are many fishing miles with hundreds of different locations.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game determine the catch limits.  I stay abreast of the current laws, as do the lodge owners, guides, and captains so that our clients stay within the limits, no matter where they are fishing.  Limits change annually and vary depending on the location of each area in Alaska.  Kodiak Island fishing are some of the highest limits in Alaska.

Kodiak 2017 Limits – Per Person

Alaska Giant Halibut Fishing

Alaska Giant Halibut Fishing

  • 2 King Salmon per day
  • 2 Halibut per day: 1 any size, 1 under 28” – 4 per person per year – no halibut fishing on Wednesday
  • 5 Silver (Coho) Salmon per day per person
  • 1 Yellow Eye per day
  • 4 Black Sea Bass per day
  • 2 Ling Cod per day
  • Gray Cod – no limits

Timing is everything when it comes to a Kodiak Island fishing vacation.  You need to decide what is your favorite fish and plan your trip during the best time to catch them.  Fish size, taste, and the type of fishing you want are important.  Salmon and halibut are the most popular fish but other Alaska fish species are fun to catch and many people believe taste better.    Alaska rock fish species and their mild and most flavor have become our family’s favorite fish over time.   Your fishing vacation to Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge for your favorite fish starts with finding the best time to catch them.  The chart below shows the most popular Kodiak Alaska Fish Species and the months they are running.  Each location may have different times and not all fish may be available at every lodge.

Kodiak Island Fishing starts in May with large king salmon runs through June.  The silver salmon runs start in mid-August through typically go through September. Many fishing lodges in Alaska catch halibut and salmon throughout the season.  Don’t forget about a Kodiak Island fishing trip in  July—especially if you like to bottom fishHalibut, ling cod, yellow eye, and sea bass are all biting in July and the king salmon also continue to migrate.  Our article “What is Your Favorite Alaska Fish Species? A Difficult Decision” provides details about all of these fish.

Kodiak Island Other Activities

Your Kodiak Island fishing vacation starts in Kodiak city.  You may just see the local airport, but you can arrive early and see some of the sights.  There are many sites to see on Kodiak.  Fort Abercrombie State Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has nice walking trails and views. The largest Coast Guard Air Station in the Pacific is in Kodiak City.  There is a large Russian Orthodox community in Kodiak and you can visit the Holy Resurrection Cathedral which was established in 1794.  The Discover Kodiak website has a listing of “Things To Do & See” during your visit. Need some specific examples that our clients have done and liked and need some pictures if we have any.  I can get many if needed from the Internet.

There is also stream fishing, rafting, and other activities.  I can hire a guide for you that will know the waters and where the fish are each day. There are many different excursions and tours and I can recommend local restaurants you will enjoy.  Let me know if there is something special you would like to do.  Keep in mind that guided activities need to be scheduled in advance as there are limited resources on the island.

brown bear in river with salmon in his mouth

Adventures Available

  • Glacier/Volcano Tour
  • Scenic historical flight seeing tour
  • Bear viewing
  • Bear viewing glacier tour
  • Fishing day trips
  • Full day guided wildlife/bear view adventures
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Historical ground tour

The wildlife is magnificent around Kodiak Island. While you are fishing, you will see whales, Kodiak bears, seals, Puffin and Bald Eagles.  At certain times, mountain goats and deer can be seen from the boat.  Your guide is always on the lookout for wildlife as it never gets old for them and sharing it is fun!

Kodiak Island History/Culture

Kodiak Island is approximately 3,588 square miles and is the second largest island in the United States (Hawaii is 4,021 square miles).   The island is approximately 99 miles long and its widest point is approximately 60 miles across.

Kodiak Island Map

Approximately 14,000 people live on Kodiak Island. The largest city is Kodiak with around 11,000 residents.  The topography ranges from mountains and spruce forests in the north and east with mountains, few trees and thick grassy expanses in the south.  Kodiak Island is on the northern edge of the Pacific Ocean “ring of fire” where earthquakes from tectonic plate activity and volcanic eruptions are frequent.
The Alutiiq people are the principal southern coastal people native to Kodiak Island and other areas of southern and southeast Alaska.  The people’s ancestral name is Sugpiaq.  There are many native tribes recognized by the Federal government on Kodiak Island.
The Kodiak brown bear is the only native, large mammal on Kodiak Island.  The Sitka black-tailed deer and mountain goats you may see were introduced to the island in the 1950’s.  There are many small mammals on the island.
The Kuroshio Current (Japan Current) with its counter-currents provides Kodiak mild temperatures for northern waters.  The average low and high temperatures are 25 degrees to 35 degrees in January and 49 degrees to 61 degrees in August.  Precipitation varies widely on different parts of the island which is a rain forest.  Snow accumulations on the coastline are rare but heavy snows do accumulate in the mountains.
Russian Fur Traders founded a settlement at Three Saints Bay near Old Harbor, Alaska and also founded Three Saints Church, the first Russian Orthodox church in North America. in 1784.  The current church was built in 1953 and is included in the collection of Historic American Buildings Survey.  More information is available from the Library of Congress.
Russsian Orthodox Church
The Russian settlement was moved to the Kodiak City area in 1792 and became the Russian commercial center.