Ship Creek King Salmon Run
2005 Season: Not released
Average Size: 15 to 25 lbs.
Limit: 1 Daily (photo)
Run Size: 4000-5000
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About Ship Creek King Salmon Run
The King Salmon run on Ship Creek is a hatchery fishery. Salmon are
produced and return to a hatchery on grounds of Elmendorf Air Force
Base just north of Anchorage. On average, the hoped for escapement is
750 Kings to return 300,000 Smolt. These generate an average return
of 4000-5000 spawning Kings each year. The 2000-2002 average was 4700
The returning fish are of moderate size running 15-25 pounds, topping
off around 40 pounds. Any bigger and the combat fishing conditions on
Ship Creek would be a complete knot of lines.
This is nearly the only King Salmon fishery in the Anchorage
area so it is very popular. In 2004 a new King fishery was started at
the Eklutna Tailrace,
but for all purposes, if you want Kings in Anchorage, this is your only
When to Fish
The ship Creek King Salmon begin returning in early May but the action
doesn’t start to turn on until end of May. Action remains good
from the end of May through June and early July. The creek closes for
King fishing in mid-July
For the best time to catch an influx of new Kings from the Cook Intlet,
fish the incoming tide. The best times being an hour before and after
the low slack tide. Be sure to be careful when fishing the tidal flats
on the incoming tide. The Cook Inlet mud is sometimes reluctant to let
go of you.
Remember that the daily limit of King Salmon is one. Once you harvest
a King, you must immediately stop fishing. Also, make sure you mark
your fish on your harvest card before leaving the creek. If you are
caught with an unrecorded fish, you face a fine upwards of $100. Ship
Creek is definitely not the place to try to bend the rules.
Fishing is allowed from Ship Creek’s mouth upstream to the cable
100 feet below the dam. To aid with escapement, the fishery closes nightly
from 11 PM to 6 AM. Otherwise the Kings popularity would have round
the clock crowds forming the gauntlet.
Tackle is pretty much wide open on Ship Creek, bait and multiple hooks
are all allowed.
Note: Alaskan Sportfishing regulations change
greatly from year to year, even day to day with emergency orders. Be
sure to always check for the most up to date regulations from the
Because this is combat fishing for a large powerful fish, you will want
to gear up a little heavier than you normally would. At a minimum you
want a rugged reel with over 150 yards of 20-25 pound line. Stronger
line may be even better so you can horse your fish a little more. Stronger
line would also help you win the battle when tangled with other fisherman.
Be sure you have a strong drag and terminal tackle.
Here is a list of recommended tackle.
Assorted Spoons 1⁄2 to 1 ounce
Vibrax or Mepps spinners Sizes 4-6
Yarn or Coho Flies
4/0 – 6/0 hooks
20-40 Pound Leaders
Weights 3/8, 1⁄2 and 3⁄4 oz