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

Fishing Ship Creek

Fishing Ship Creek Anchorage Alaska

A "small" crowd fishing between runs on Ship Creek. Photo Use Policy.

Location: Downtown Anchorage
USGS - Anchorage A-8 NW
     Delorme - Pages 82-83
Fishing Pressure:
Moderate to Intense
Key Species:
King Salmon, Silver Salmon
Anchorage Tide Chart

Where I grew up, fishing downtown meant catching carp and coat hangers. But in Alaska, even urban fishing can be incredible. Where else can you be fighting a forty-pound King Salmon ten minutes after leaving the office or thirty minutes after your plane touches down?

Of course we aren’t letting you in on any secret here. Ship Creek is very well known and very accessible. In fact it is one of the only places you can experience urban combat fishing. But despite the crowds, a trip to the north side of downtown Anchorage can be well worth your time. Especially if you are trying to squeeze a few more casts in before your flight home.

There are a few other things that make Ship Creek unique to the area. First, other than a small run at Eagle River and the stocked fishery at the Eklutna Tailrace, this is the only location near Anchorage you can fish for King Salmon. Also, this is one of the few non-glacial salmon streams in the area. The water typically runs clear, except after rain storms or spring flooding.

The fishable section of the creek is just a short, half mile stretch, from the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet to the demarcation cable just below the dam at the Chugach Power Plant.This short length makes the creek very easy to learn. Try to fish the creek an hour or two before or after the slack tide to catch the next wave of chrome salmon coming in from the salt water.

Ship Creek Salmon Runs

Ship Creek Salmon Run Chart

There are two main salmon runs on Ship Creek, a King Salmon run from early June until the season closure on July 15th and a Silver Salmon run that starts in very late July and runs until Late October. The run peaks in late July through August. In addition to these runs there is a moderate Pink Salmon run on even years. Also, there are occasional Chum Salmon and Dolly Varden and very infrequent Sockeyes.

Only the stretch downstream of the dam to the Knik Arm is open to salmon fishing. However, above the dam there is a catch and release Rainbow Trout fishery. For those not interested in fishing, there is fantastic fish watching from the platforms around the dam. In fact, if you lost tackle while fighting a fish, or if you were wondering what other fishermen are using, go to the platform and check out the collection of tackle embedded into the fish in the sanctuary below the dam.

General Ship Creek Fishing Regulations

There are just a few regulations specific to Ship Creek to be aware of. First, salmon fishing is only allowed from the creek's mouth to the marked cable, 100 feet below the dam. Also, there are a few closures for King Salmon. The King Salmon season usually ends mid-July (July 13th in 2004) and the creek is closed from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM for the duration of the King Salmon season to aid in escapement.

Remember, the limit is one King Salmon per day and once you harvest a fish, you must register the fish on your King Salmon harvest card and stop fishing immediately. For more detail on regulations check the pages for the King Salmon and Silver Salmon runs. Also, be sure to check current regulations and the Alaska Fish and Game site for up to the minute regulations and emergency orders.





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