Fishing Bird Creek
Location: Mile 101.5 Seward Highway
Map:USGS Seward D-7 NW
Fishing Pressure: Moderate to Intense
Key Species: Silver, Pink, and Chum Salmon
Tides: Anchorage Tide Chart
As you head south out of Anchorage into "The Real Alaska,"
Bird Creek is the first major salmon river you will come to. In many
ways it has all the same charms of fishing Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage
like the amazing mud, combat fishing, a small fishable area, and dangerous
traffic patterns. What Bird Creek does have over Ship Creek though is
a natural setting and a sense of fishing Alaska.
The creek has historically had a very productive Silver Salmon run that
draws many resident and visiting anglers. Also, because it is on the
heavily traveled Seward Highway, it is also a popular stopping point
for tourists. There is an impressive viewing platform just east of where
the creek passes under the highway and while you are fishing the creek,
you will be on display as tourists stop to check out "Alaskan Fishing."
Unfortunately, the creeks accessibility and popularity has been its
own undoing recently. To ease some major problems with parking and dangers
of fishermen crossing the very busy Seward Highway, the state has been
working on a major parking lot construction project. During the project
the ADFG stopped stocking Silvers in the creek in 2000-2002, leaving
only Chum, Pink, and weak Silver runs in the creek. 2005 should see
both the end of construction and opening of the parking lot and the
first strong Silver Salmon return in years.
The Creek itself is a somewhat silted but clear enough to be able to
sight fish the salmon. At times heavy rains or unusually warm stretches
which melt glaciers, may cause the waters to cloud up. There is fairly
little structure to the creek with only a few well known holes. One
is below the bridge, another is about where the river runs against a
stone wall and the last was right at the boundary cable. You will probably
be fishing more small structure like eddies behind boulders. Only the
first 500 yards are open to public fishing, beyond that all lands are
Fish the creek on the rising tide. At lowest tides, fish will start
to build up at the mouth and will start moving into the creek with the
tide. The entire area that is open to fishing is tidal and all areas
are unfishable at high tide.
Bird Creek Salmon Runs
For the most part, fishing Bird Creek is about the enhanced Silver Salmon
run that starts returning in the first part of July. However the numbers
don't peak until Late July through the month of august. Fish will continue
to be present through October. It won't be hard to tell that the silver
run is in, just check to see if the parking areas are full. This is
a very popular freezer filling location for Anchorage anglers as well
as being a visiting angler destination. For more details, check out
the Bird Creek Silver Salmon page.
There are two other Bird Creek salmon runs of interest. In even years,
there is a fairly strong run of pink salmon which can make the creek
a good place to test out the light gear (be careful though, hooking
into chum can make for a long or more likely, a very short fight ending
with the need to tie on new tackle.) The run starts returning in late
June with a peak during the last half of July and trickling on through
most of August.
The last run is the Chum Salmon run that starts in late June and runs
through early September. There is a peak in number from the middle of
July through the first week or so of August. This run is of special
interest because it is your best chance of hooking into a chum in the
In addition to these runs there are small numbers of King
and Sockeye Salmon than enter the creek. King Salmon are closed to fishing
in Bird Creek but the incidental Sockeye can be added to your limit
of three salmon per day. Also there are some Dolly Varden available
in the creek.
General Ship Creek Fishing Regulations
Probably the most important regulation for Bird Creek
is the boundaries of the fishable areas. The creek is open year round
to salmon fishing (except Kings) from the mouth of the creek below the
Seward Highway to the marker that is roughly 500 yards upstream of the
mouth. Above the marker, all lands are private. Do not trespass beyond
the marker without permission of the land owners.
There is no King Salmon fishing in Bird Creek and all incidental catches
must be returned immediately to the water. The limit is three salmon
per day with three in possession. The three salmon can be any combination
of species except for Kings.