King salmon fishing is very good out of Craig. Craig is the gateway to the Noyes Island area, which is one of the major feeding grounds for kings as they return to their rivers. Captain Joel is also a licensed commercial salmon troller, and he fishes the waters around Craig almost all year for king salmon. He is very familiar with the spots they like to frequent. And, being a local, he knows spots that most of the non-residents do not. 2018 was the toughest king fishing year in the last 20 years. Captain Joel fished the most days of any captain in the fleet in June, and limited his boat on kings every single day.
Captain Joel uses a combination of mooching and trolling to catch kings. Most of the spots he fishes are in less than 100 ft of water, and he and his clients often find themselves alone in the back of secluded bays catching king salmon.
King salmon start showing up in big numbers to the Noyes area in April. Captain Joel typically begins sport fishing in May and has very good success. In May there are few other boats on the water and it is fantastic fishing. The other charter operators start up in June, and Captain Joel tries his best to avoid fishing in a crowd. Kings typically run though August, with them becoming more scarce towards the end of the month.
Multi-Species day in June. Kings, halibut, black bass, lingcod, and yellow eye. This is a pretty typical day in June.
June Charter. As you can see, Kings are just the start of the day. Then we move through the species throughout the 10hr charter. Combo fishing at it's finest! You go home with a wide variety of fish.
Cape Felix King mid June. We usually limit on kings by 9am and then proceed to chase other species.
Some Jumbo Sized Cohos in Late August
Nancy with a great late May king. Because I am a local guide and am very much in tune to what is going on, I can do in May what I can do in June as far as fish catching goes. Many of the larger operations wait to book because their guides do not have the experience or knowledge to catch kings in the early season.
Coho salmon are fantastic fighters and are very fun to catch. We have generous limits for cohos: 6 per person per day, which equals a full fish box after three days of fishing. Mooching is the primary way we fish for them, and it's hands-on action for hours on end. Cohos start moving into our area at the beginning of July. They average about 6.5 lbs each, but grow as the season goes on and can reach over 10 lbs. They bite and fight aggressively, and it is not uncommon to have more than one hooked up at at time, causing fishermen to do the coho shuffle around the boat to stay untangled. Often we will get into a "Wide Open" bite, and it will be fast and furious catching until the limit is secured.
One advantage we have here in Craig is that the largest coho hatchery in the world is located here. They have excellent returns, and we have good coho fishing even on low-abundance years when other ports in Alaska are struggling.
A coho and halibut limit day. Lots of catching.
Scouting trip, early season. We were limited in under 20 minutes. I do a considerable amount of scouting prior to charter season to ensure I can hit the ground running when guests show up. A BIG reason to book with a local guide.
Family Fun. A small sample of what they landed that day.