Alaska Excursions

Alaska Excursions

A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.

Iditarod 41

Photos and stories from the last great race.

Anchorage: 36°/52°/Cloudy

Fairbanks: 32°/55°/Partly sunny

Juneau: 32°/54°/Partly sunny

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Pink salmon (humpback)

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More on Alaska fish species

Smallest salmon are plentiful and fun to catch

Pink salmon -- also known as humpbacks or humpies because of the males' distinctive physique -- are fun to catch as they return in immense schools. Pinks are important to the state's canning industry.


The pink (Onchorhynchus gorbucha) is nicknamed "humpback" or "humpy" because of the distinctive hump the male develops at spawning time. Pinks use the streams of coastal Alaska as far north as Kotzebue.

The pink is the smallest of the five Pacific salmon species, with many running from 3 to 5 pounds. Spawning males develop a brown or black top and white belly; females become olive green with dusky bars or patches and a white belly.

Alaska record

12 pounds, 9 ounces, caught in 1974 in the Kenai Peninsula's Moose River by Steven A. Lee.

Tips for fishing

Each fishery's pinks develop on a two-year cycle, so some streams may have bank-to-bank pinks one year and relatively few the next year. Spinners, flies and spoons all work well.

Best time to fish

Southcentral Alaska

  • Anchorage, Palmer and Wasilla areas -- July
  • Susitna, Talkeetna and rivers flowing into western Cook Inlet -- July
  • Kenai Peninsula / Cook Inlet -- July, August
  • Kenai Peninsula streams -- August
  • Resurrection Bay -- July, August
  • Prince William Sound -- July, August
Inside Passage
  • Inside Passage offshore, north of Stikine River -- July
  • Inside Passage offshore, south of Stikine River -- July, August, September
  • Inside Passage streams, north of Stikine River -- July
  • Inside Passage streams, south of Stikine River -- July, August
Western, Interior and Northern Alaska
  • Bristol Bay and Kodiak offshore -- June, July
  • Bristol Bay streams and Kodiak -- July

Sources of information include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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