Glacier Bay National Park

Fishing on Glacier Bay National Park.
Fishing on Glacier Bay National Park. (Melinda Webster/courtesy, NPS)

Most of the fishing in Glacier Bay is saltwater: The park's water has excellent runs of silver, king, and pink salmon as well as Pacific halibut, the largest sport fish in Alaska.

King salmon runs from late May until mid-July, then takes a break until the end of July, when it picks up again through August and September. Catches range between 15 and 60 pounds, and even larger.

The silver and pink salmon move through the bay on their way to spawning rivers. The best time is from the end of July through September. The Dry Bay area and the Alsek and the East Alsek are good bets for both salmon and Dolly Varden trout.

In August and September, the salmon migrate into the park rivers to spawn. The park rivers are very underfished: You might see an occasional small kayaking group. And beware of bears. Probably the most popular spot is the mouth of the Bartlett River, since it is fairly accessible from the main visitor center and because it can be fished from the shore. Other likely rivers include the Excursion River and the Beartrack River. Stay away from the Dundas—it's glacier fed and silty.

If you want to go after Dolly Varden trout, the best time is from May to July. The fish favor sandy beaches with a steep drop and beaches of sandy gravel. In August and September, the Dolly Vardens follow the spawning salmon into the freshwater rivers, feeding on salmon eggs and hapless salmon fingerlings.

And if you want to go after the big guys, the Pacific halibut, hit the park from May through September (a good long season). We hear the lower part of the bay from Icy Strait to Bartlett Cove is good.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »