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Fishing in the Mat-Su Valley

Visit Mat-Su, Alaska; the Mat-Su Valley offers both roadside and remote access to all five of Alaska’s Pacific salmon species, as well as resident rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, northern pike and more.

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Mat-Su Valley Overview

The Matanuska-Susitna Valley manages the feat of providing spectacular opportunity to the outdoor enthusiast while remaining rather under the radar, being somewhat overshadowed by its big-name, big-fishery neighbors.

For anglers, the Mat-Su Valley offers both roadside and remote access to all five of Alaska’s Pacific salmon species, plus resident rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, northern pike and more. There is good to excellent lake fishing throughout the valley, which boasts the most aggressive stocking program in the state, with more than 90 area lakes stocked with rainbow trout, grayling, Arctic char, landlocked coho and Chinook salmon. However, it’s the tributaries of the Susitna River—most of which intersect the Parks Highway between the town of Wasilla and Denali National Park—that garner the most interest. And despite the occasional crowds, anglers willing to get off the beaten path can still find fantastic angling mixed with a true wilderness setting on many of these clearwater streams.

It’s not just all about the flowing water, however. There are more than 120 named lakes in the Mat-Su Valley, both stocked and wild, offering anglers virtually unlimited opportunity. More than 90 of these lakes are stocked, containing rainbows, grayling, landlocked salmon, Dolly Varden and even Arctic char and all lie within a short drive from the towns of Palmer or Wasilla, making the Mat-Su Valley Alaska’s stillwater fishing capital. To round out an angling excursion into the Mat-Su Valley, one would be wise not to forget the area’s plethora of lakes. For solitude, exceptional scenery and of course, excellent angling, they’re hard to beat.

As always in Alaska, timing is a key, but in an area as large and varied as the Mat-Su Valley, you can be certain there is hot fishing somewhere, every week of the year. Favorite times and places then often come down to personal preference, and whether you already have a favorite or are looking to get out on the multitude of water available and discover a new one, you can be sure there is something for everyone in the Mat-Su.

Salmon Run Times

Salmon run times are not static events; even when populations are healthy and booming the peak of a run can change from year to year, sometimes differing by as much as two weeks from previous years’ returns, especially when a season coincides with drastically altered environmental conditions such as unseasonably warm weather or flooding. In the end, close study of the historical run-timing data for a drainage should put an angler close to a return’s peak dates, but unfortunately, an element of luck plays at least a small part in even the most well planned trips. In the last several years we have experienced a decline in king salmon numbers but the most recent news points to a positive growth. While they are covered below in run times be aware that you will want to research the body of water you want to fish for any closures or regulations pertaining to kings. With that in mind, here are some general run times for the major species and waterways of the Susitna drainage.

Parks Highway streams:

Little Susitna River

King Salmon:
Lower: Late May through late June.
Upper: Mid-June through season close in mid-July.

Silver Salmon:
Lower: Mid-July through mid-August.
Upper: Early August through early September.

Red Salmon:
Mid-July through early August.

Also available:
Rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling

Willow Creek, Little Willow Creek, Caswell Creek, Sheep Creek, Goose Creek, Montana Creek, Kashwitna River, Sunshine Creek:

King Salmon:
Late May through early July.

Silver Salmon:
Early August through mid-September.

Also available:
Sockeye, chum and pink salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling

Remote Fisheries (accessible by boat or floatplane):
Deshka River

King Salmon:
Lower: Late May through late June.
Upper: Early June through season close in mid-July.

Silver Salmon:
Lower: Mid-July through early August.
Upper: Late July through early September.

Also available:
Rainbow trout.

Alexander Creek

King Salmon:
Late May through third week of June.

Silver Salmon:
Mid-July through August.

Also available:
Northern pike, rainbow trout.

Lake Creek

King Salmon:
Early June through early July.

Silver Salmon:
Early August through late August / early September.

Also available:
Sockeye, chum and pink salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, northern pike

Talachulitna River

King Salmon:
Lower: June.
Upper: Mid-June through season close in mid-July.

Silver Salmon:
Lower: August.
Upper: Mid-August through mid-September.

Also available:
Sockeye, chum and pink salmon, Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, grayling

Talkeetna River

Click here for more Talkeetna information.

King Salmon:
Mid-June through season closure in mid-July.

Silver Salmon:
Early August through September.

Sockeye Salmon:
Late July.

Also available:
Chum and pink salmon, Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, grayling

Other Susitna River Tributaries

King Salmon:
Early June through late June.

Sockeye Salmon:
Mid-July through mid-August, but not very abundant.

Silver Salmon:
Late July through mid-August.

Pink Salmon:
Early July through mid-August (best in even-numbered years).

Chum Salmon:
Mid-July through mid-August, but not very abundant in this area.

 

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