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By Gunnar Pedersen

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Home > Fishing > Locations > South Central > Anchorage > Bird Creek

Fishing Bird Creek

The viewing Platform at Bird Creek. Photo Use Policy.

Location: Mile 101.5 Seward Highway
Map:USGS Seward D-7 NW
     Delorme page 71,83
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 private property.

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 Anchorage area.

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.





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