Alaska Fishing: Ketchikan Management Area (Ketchikan Roadside Fishing)
Ketchikan is Alaska’s first regional hub north of Seattle. The city has roughly 14,000 people and it sits on a bench on the southwestern side of Revillagigedo Island, in the Alexander Archipelago. The primary industries there are commercial fishing, fish canneries, logging and tourism. It is the first port of call along the Alaska Marine Highway system and usually sees several cruise ships a day during the summer months.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Ketchikan Management Area covers the southern portion of the Cleveland Peninsula, Revillagigedo, Gravina, Annette and Duke Islands, and the area east of Behm Canal to the Canadian border.
How This Section is Organized
Because this area is so large and complex, we’re breaking it down for you. This page deals with the road system on Revilligigido Island, where the town of Ketchikan is located. We will discuss road-accessible or trail-accessible freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities on this island only.
For information on remote freshwater fishing in other parts of the Ketchikan Management Area, including remote locations on Revilligigedo Island, check our Ketchikan Remote Fishing page. For information pertaining to the saltwater fishery in the Ketchikan Management Area, refer to our Ketchikan Saltwater Fishing page.
For information pertaining to specific species, including recommended gear and techniques to catch them, refer to our species pages, our fishing methods pages, and our fishing gear pages.
Ketchikan Fishing: What to Expect
Ketchikan lies at the center of some really great freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities. Available species include all five species of Pacific salmon, in addition to halibut, assorted types of rockfish, lingcod, steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout, brook trout, grayling and kokanee. It’s a fisherman’s paradise and crowds are almost nonexistent.
Fishing Ketchikan’s Road System
A number of streams enter the ocean along the limited road system, and can be accessed by highway vehicle (there are car and boat rental outfits in Ketchikan). Additionally, several beach fishing opportunities exist, but be advised that some of the land in these areas is privately held. Be aware of the land ownership status, along with where you are allowed to park. Parking citations are common along the road system!
NOTE: Freshwater king salmon fishing is closed in this area, unless opened by emergency order by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game!
North Tongass Highway
The North Tongass Highway extends north of town along the shoreline just over 18 miles, and ends at Settlers Cove state campground, which has a parking area, a picnic area, tent / trailer campsites, rest rooms and other amenities. Here are the most popular fishing areas along the North Tongass Highway, starting with areas closest to town.
1. Carlanna Lake. Species: Rainbow trout. Access: Half-mile hike up a gated gravel road at the west end of Ketchikan.
2. Ward Creek and Ward Lake. Species: Rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout, and Dolly Varden year-round, along with steelhead, silver and pink salmon during August and September. Access: Exit the highway at mile 7.1 to the Ward Lake Recreation Area.
3. Perseverance Lake. Species: Brook trout. Access: Follow North Tongass Hiway for six miles and turn right at Revilla Road. Turn right at Ward Lake Road and park just past Ward Creek bridge. The trail starts 100 feet past the 3 C’s Campground, and continues about 2.2 miles to Perseverance Lake. The trail splits just before it gets to the lake. The left-hand split takes you to a tent platform at the head of the lake. The right-hand split takes you along the shore of Perseverance Lake, to a tent platform, and continues on to become the Minerva Mountain Trail, which leads back into Ketchikan.
4. Connell Lake and Talbot Lake. Species: Cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout. Access: Travel along the North Tongass Highway six miles out of Ketchikan. Turn off on Revilla Road and continue two miles. Turn just past the entrance to Last Chance Campground, onto the Connell Lake Road. Park at the end of the road. The Connell Lake Trail makes its way 2.1 miles along the west side of Connell Lake, ending at a tent platform at Talbot Lake.
5. Lake Harriet Hunt. Species: Rainbow trout (stocked). Access: Travel six miles out of Ketchikan on the North Tongass Highway to Revilla Road. Right on Revilla Road 7.7 miles to junction with Harriet Hunt Road. Left on Harriet Hunt 2.4 miles to Harriet Hunt Recreation Area. There’s a small loop road before you get to the end of the road. Turn right here and there’s a rough place where a canoe or raft may be launched.
6. Clover Passage area. Species: This is a shore-based marine fishery. Park and fish on public land only! Some shore-based opportunities exist for king, silver and pink salmon, as well as halibut.
7. Lunch Creek. Species: Pink salmon, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout. Access: Drive 18 miles north on North Tongass Narrows Highway to end of road.
South Tongass Highway
Both the North and the South Tongass Highway offer occasional shore-based saltwater fishing for Dolly Varden, salmon, rockfish and even halibut.
8. Mountain Point. Species: King, silver, pink salmon, rockfish, halibut. Access: Seven miles south of Ketchikan on South Tongass Narrows Highway. There’s a boat launch.
9. Whitman Lake. Species: Brook trout, Dolly Varden. Access: Drive ten miles south along the South Tongass Narrows Highway to primitive trailhead. Trail is three miles to Whitman Lake. Special note: The Whitman Lake area is important to anglers because of the privately-owned hatchery nearby, which produces king, silver and chum salmon. The bulk of the salmon reared in the Whitman Lake raceways are released elsewhere, primarily intended for commercial harvest. Some king and silver smolts are released at the Whitman hatchery in order to produce enough brood stock to keep the program running. This has produced a popular marine sport fishery near Mountain Point, where these kings stage before entering the hatchery. Silver salmon smolts released at Whitman are of minor recreational interest, as other marine silver fisheries draw larger numbers of fish in the area. No chum smolts are released at Whitman.
10. Upper and Lower Silvis Lakes. Species: Rainbow trout. Access: Drive the South Tongass Highway to the Beaver Falls hatchery and the Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) power station at the end of the highway. The trail to the lower lake follows the KPU service road two miles to the lower lake. Picnic tables and a pit toilet are located here. The road / trail continues a half-mile to the Lower Silvis Lake powerhouse. Cross the bridge at the powerhouse and continue along the western shore to the upper lake.
11. Beaver Falls. Species: Sockeye, silver and pink salmon, Dolly Varden (tidal marine fishery). Access: At the farthest end of the South Tongass Highway. Fishable at low tide as private native-owned lands block much of the access. Check with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for access info.
Alaska is bear country! Anglers must be aware of the possibility of encountering bears along any salmon stream. Revillagigedo Island has a robust black bear population and due to heavy vegetation in many areas, encounters can happen at close range. In recent years there have been reports of brown bears on the eastern side of the island. Take the following precautions:
- Make plenty of noise while hiking or fishing.
- Don’t give bears a reason to associate people with food! Keep food and your catch in a backpack on your back.
- Protect yourself! Bring a firearm or pepper spray to use as a deterrent.
Classic Alaska Charters offers excellent overnight custom cruises aboard the “Saltery C”, their fully-outfitted 40’ live-aboard Bayliner Explorer Motoryacht. Each trip is an adventure customized to your requirements. Meals prepared by the onboard chef are unequalled in the business, and include healthy entrees such as fresh Alaska seafood and delicious desserts. Activities include fishing (freshwater and saltwater), kayaking, wildlife viewing, photography, crabbing & shrimping, hiking and just relaxing along the spectacular waterways of Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island and Misty Fjords National Monument.
Need More Information?
Check out our other Ketchikan Management Area fishing pages!
If you’re looking for other areas to fish in Southeast Alaska, check out our pages for the following areas:
If you’re interested in hunting opportunities in Southeast Alaska, check out our hunting pages at the following links:
Rules and Regulations
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is responsible for maintaining the sport fisheries across the state of Alaska. Their website provides a wealth of information about our sport fisheries as well as the regulations you need to know. Additionally, the Department issues Emergency Orders throughout the season, that have a direct bearing on last-minute changes in bag limits, openings and closings of seasons and much more. Fishermen are responsible for knowing the regulations, including these Emergency Orders. You can find all of that information and more at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s website, or at the regional office in the area where you are fishing.ADF&G Sportfisheries DivisionKetchikan Office:
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
2030 Sea Level Drive
Ketchikan, AK 99901
1 (907) 225-2859