Matsu Valley Catch and Release King Salmon Fishing with Miller’s Riverboat Service
February 11, 2022

Catch and Release King Salmon FishingOne of the best, most affordable and convenient opportunities to catch King Salmon (Alaska’s State fish) in south central Alaska and perhaps the entire state, is on the beautiful and wild rivers of the Matanuska Valley on a guided trip with Miller’s Riverboat Service.  We have good success catching King Salmon in the Matsu Valley from May 20- July 13 with the best success occurring throughout the month of June.

In 2022, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has decided to start the season for King Salmon fishing in the Susitna Drainage and Little Susitna River, with catch and release only regulation. This is responsible management by the Department and justified by current run forecasts. Contrary to a lot of opinions, multiple accredited biological studies indicate King Salmon catch and release mortality is minimal. Although starting the season with mandatory catch and release is a disappointment for many, including myself, there is a bright side.  We have found the catch and release trips provide an excellent opportunity and overall experience for the angler, due largely to a dramatic decrease in angling pressure.  The data from our daily fishing journal’s indicate a more reasonable opportunity for our customers to catch King salmon under catch and release regulation.  Also, after you catch a King salmon you can continue to keep fishing.  Under standard harvest regulations once you harvest a King you are done fishing for the day.  I have had hundreds of anglers in my boat over the years take a couple of casts, catch their King salmon and then sit in the boat and watch others fish the rest of the trip.  (Harvesting a fish, when allowed I have always let that decision be the customers, unless the fish was gushing blood.  I have an extremely high success rate getting my customers into fish but it has never been an objective of mine to limit out trips as quickly as possible so customers could go back to their hotel or cabin at 7am.  A quality trip consists of so much more than harvesting fish and me and Ryan are prepared to fish as hard as we can and provide the customer a quality experience for the complete duration of the fishing charter.)

Catch and Release King Salmon FishingWhile King fishing in the Matsu Valley the past 2 seasons, during the first 2 weeks of June (prior to leaving for Gulkana June 15), my boat has consistently caught between 5-15 Kings per 6 hour charter.  A typical Matsu Valley King weighs 15 pounds with many in the 20- and 30-pound range and 40 pounders are not uncommon.  These fish are chrome and are impressive fighters.  Getting to catch and fish for these fish in a freshwater river is truly an amazing experience.  We strive to get a quality photo of the angler with their catch but taking care of and ensuring survival of the King Salmon remains top priority.

On our King salmon trips, we employ a variety of techniques including casting lures, drift fishing and trolling.  Quite often in other areas of the state, guides will almost exclusively backtroll for kings, most often with rods in the pole holder.  While at times we fish this way, we prefer to employ a variety of techniques during a trip to break up the monotony by involving the angler in the catch.  Our mission is to be the best fishing guide service in the Matsu Valley, by focusing on customer service and providing the customer with the best opportunity available to catch fish and enjoy the Alaska outdoors.

Catch and Release King Salmon FishingCatch and Release King Salmon Fishing

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