This page provides info on Alaska king salmon fishing with Crystal Creek Lodge. Within the treasure trove of species that define the Alaskan fishery, the chinook salmon or king as they are known in Alaska, is the crown jewel. These majestic fish, returning each year to the heart of their spawning grounds in the Bristol Bay region, cruise the deep channels of the Naknek and Nushagak Rivers as a hidden ransom of silver. In fact, the king salmon run on the Nushagak, a major river only 35 miles west of Crystal Creek Lodge, is host to the largest wild king salmon run remaining in the world, with an annual average of 100,000 fish in that river alone.
Prime king season is June 15 through July 30. Kings are the largest of the Pacific salmons. They average 15-30 pounds, though each year a handful of brawlers tip the scales in the vicinity of 50 pounds. Kings generally depart the freshwater rivers at two years of age and spend one to five years in the hardscrabble waters of the Pacific before returning to their natal rivers to spawn. They range thousands of miles at sea as they feed, converting plankton, seaweeds, jellyfish, starfish, and crustaceans into firm (and delicious) pink flesh. Upon re-entering the freshwater system, kings travel the deepest channels in their journey upriver, and they are found either solo or in scattered small groups. The king salmon is a miracle of strength and raw power. The specimens in CCL’s frequented rivers are gunmetal grey fading to silver-purple, slab-sided, angry-eyed, and line-ripping strong. In fact, tail margins feature supporting cartilage that adds to the surging power of these fish, and in the fight, that power will test the angler.
Though fly tackle can be employed for kings, due to their preference of deep river holes most of our guests use casting or spinning tackle, and we encourage fishing from a boat in order to cover the maximum amount of suitable water. Trolling or casting is the general rule; the solitary nature of kings requires an aggressive and expansive approach, and though tidal areas tend to see the greatest incidence of hookups, CCL guides go the distance to find fish throughout the river systems. That said, some of the finest king salmon fishing in the world is within sight of Crystal Creek Lodge, and many a Naknek king has become the cornerstone of a CCL guest’s memorable experiences.
King salmon fishing at Crystal Creek Lodge is quite literally the stuff of legend. To feel the pull of something so fundamentally wild is a rare gift, and one not easily forgotten. The king’s strength, aggression and wild essence are epochal of the Alaskan angling experience. They are called king salmon for good reason.
To view our Photo Gallery page on Salmon click here.
"Seeing my huge King break water to leap before coming to the net is burned into my mind. Thank you, Alex, for a great job of guiding and thank you, Crystal Creek Lodge for a great trip."