June Alaska Fishing Reports 2023
June is our best month for catching large ocean-run king salmon. This tour is one of our most uniquely Alaskan tours fishing for the Alaska State Fish and our largest salmon species in the state. Kings are bulldog fighters with both strength and endurance. For those who would like an opportunity to harvest and eat a king salmon (my favorite salmon) the Knik River boat fishery provides that harvest opportunity in a scenic but smallish setting. For people more interested in the opportunity to fight a larger king salmon, in a more remote setting, with numerous prime fishing holes, and less fishing pressure, we provide catch & release king salmon fishing trips to Little Susitna River during the 2023 fishing season. Little Susitna River charter fishing often provides better wildlife viewing opportunities as well. You may want to bookmark this page for easy reference. Scroll down for our latest daily June fishing report.
2023 June Fishing Reports
June 1, 2023 — I took 3 friends fishing for king salmon in my guide boat. two of them caught one jack king salmon each. All 3 of them felt multiple fish, however, it appeared all of the fish that bit their rigs may have been small. One other fish was hooked and although we were unable to identify the species of the third fish, we could tell it was not very large. One jack king salmon was caught on a #2 pink spin-n-glo and one jack king salmon was caught on a K-14 Kwikfish. During the trip we saw a moose along the river, ducks, and a bald eagle. Water was quite clear.
June 2, 2023 — I guided a family group of one grandmother, two younger adults, and two young kids. Knowing the fishing conditions they chose to start later in the day, and were primarily looking for an enjoyable family outing on a river a couple of them had fished several times in the past. Three adults fished at the first hole, but after that two adults fished while one adult was keeping the diss comfortable or occupied. They got some bites from smaller fish, but only briefly hooked them on the large king salmon gear. The fish looked to be either jack king salmon or rainbow trout. During the trip they saw a moose and bald eagle along the river, and relieved some stores of past fishing trips. Everyone was dressed warm and enjoyed their time on the water on a cool day. I am hopeful they will be able to join us again in early August for a better harvest opportunity of coho salmon.
Saturday June 3, 2023 — I scouted some water I had not fished for a while with a friend. We were looking for king salmon, and managed to hook only smaller fish. We briefly fought and lost a couple fish, and my friend caught two jack king salmon and a rainbow trout. Two fish were hooked on Flashtrap Spinners, one fish was hooked on a Kwikfish, and two fish were hooked on a #6 Vibrax Spinner. During the trip we saw two moose each with a single calf, and one lone moose along the river. We also saw a few fish surfacing during the trip, ducks, and a bald eagle. My friend was so impressed with the custom fishing rods we were using that he asked to purchase one.
Sunday June 4, 2023 — New Daiwa Spinning Reels from 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle. I purchased four Procyon Aluminum Light & Tough (L&T) in 4000-size and and four 3000-size. Specifically for casting spinners for silver salmon, I purchased two 3000-size Ballistic MQ L&T spinning reels. I spent some time today getting new reels ready to fish with custom rods I built last winter. I plan to fish for king salmon with a friend tomorrow, and intend to post a fishing report from that trip — so check back Monday evening if you would like to know what we catch — and also for a report on the new reels, rods, and other gear I may try.
June 5, 2023 — I fished for king salmon with Dan Suprak in his boat this morning, and I hooked one king salmon while catching with a #6 Magnum bladed Flashtrap Spinner. The fish became unhooked, however, before we were even close to netting it. In the brief time I had the fish hooked, I could feel its power, and it was pulling line off the reel. It, for sure, was a larger king salmon. We fished with renewed effort, but were unable to hook any additional fish. We saw some small fish surfacing during the trip. My new fishing reels and custom rods worked well together.
June 7, 2023 — I guided a group of 6 visitors on an afternoon king salmon fishing trip. One of them reeled a king salmon she hooed on a Kwikfish. We saw other small salmon surfacing during the trip, and other members of the group had some light bites, but we were unable to get any additional hook ups. During the trip we saw a bald eagle along the river and some other groups out enjoying the day as well.
Eklutna Tailrace — Later in the day I drove to the tailrace and fished a Flashtrap Spinner for a few minutes. I did not see any fish or get any bites. Water was extremely clear for this time of year, and the Knik River side-channel was low and clear, so perhaps king salmon are waiting for the river to rise before migrating up into the tailrace.
June 9, 2023 — I guided three people on a morning king salmon fishing trip. Two of them caught young king salmon. One guest caught his fish on a #6 Vibrax Spinner, While the other guest caught three fish on a K-14x Kwikfish. We fished holes along several miles of the river and caught all of the fish in different spots. During the trip the group saw a bald eagle, a beaver, a large bull moose, a couple cow moose and one calf moose.
June 11, 2023 — I guided a family of 4 from California. They fished for king salmon on the Susitna Flats Wildlife Refuge and started the trip boating along the river until we saw a cow moose and big bull moose feeding near the river. One young king salmon was hooked on a K13x Kwikfish, but it managed to tangle in another line and came off before being landed. We saw a couple salmon surface during the trip, and another member of the group had a bite near where we saw a salmon surface, but we were unable to hook it.
June 12, 2023 — My wife and I drifted Fire Cured salmon roe under ESB Bobbers at Eklutna Tailrace for about an hour in the morning, but did not see any salmon and did not get any bites. We did see another angler cleaning a king salmon when we first arrived.
Tuesday June 13, 2023 — I guided a group of 5 guests who were visiting from Minnesota for king salmon. They caught 4 small king and one beautiful big buck king salmon in the 25 – 30 lb. class. One fish was caught on a #6 Pink bladed Flashtrap Spinner, one fish was caught on a #6 Orange magnum blade Flashtrap Spinner, one fish was caught on a #5 Vibrax Spinner, one fish was caught on a #6 Vibrax Spinner, one fish was caught on a K14x Kwikfish, and one fish was hooked, but lost on a K14X Kwikfish. During the trip we saw a bald eagle perched close to the river. Weather was cool and wet.
Wednesday June 14, 2023 — I guided 4 visiting guests on the Knik River. Water was lower than normal for this time of year with good clean color to it. My guests fished with Spin-n-glos and Fire Cured salmon roe, Kwikfish and Mag Lip Flatfish plugs, and casted with Flashtrap and Vibrax Spinners, but were unable to get any bites. There were several other groups in boats fishing the same stretch of water, and we watched two king salmon get caught. During the trip I only saw one salmon surface. We watched a bald eagle and two moose for a while during the trip. On the drive home I spotted 3 additional moose feeding near the highway.
Thursday June 15, 2023 — I guided a group of 4 guests including a family of 3 visiting from Kansas. They caught 1 large king salmon and 2 jack king salmon. One fish was caught casting with a #6 orange magnum blade Flashtrap Spinner, One fish was caught on a K13x Kwikfish, and one fish was caught with a K14x Kwikfish. During the trip we saw plenty of mosquitos.
Friday June 16, 2023 — I guided a man and woman from Callifornia who were interested in learning how to fish. They caught one larger king salmon and one king salmon jack, and also briefly hooked 3 additional fish. One fish was caught on a K14x Kwikfish and the other fish was caught on a K13x Kwikfish. The mosquitos were still friendly today, but not as friendly as yesterday. During the trip we saw some ducks and a bald eagle along the river. Water is relatively low and clear because of the cooler than normal temperatures we have had this May and June.
Saturday June 17, 2023 — SOCKEYE — I guided a group of 3 guests from Colorado who caught a small king salmon, a jack king salmon, a rainbow trout, and a sockeye salmon. In addition, they also hooked two good-sized king salmon which that fought for a while but were unable to bring in. Fish were caught on K13X Kwikfish, Mag Lip Flatfish, and a #5 pink bladed Flashtrap Spinner. During the trip we saw some bald eagles, ducks, and ducklings. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and a fun time on the water, we saw several other groups out enjoying he day as well. Driving home from the river I watched a red fox crossing the road in front of me.
Sunday June 18, 2023 — I guided a group of 4 guests who caught 2 jack king salmon on K13X Kwikfish. An additional two small fish were also hooked but lost during the trip. We fished plenty of good spots, but did not get many bites — although the mosquitos were extremely friendly this morning — especially early in the morning. we saw a few ducks , some ducklings, and a couple bald eagles along the river. Although our boat did not hook into any larger king salmon today, the other part of this group caught a king salmon about 30 pounds while fishing with Corey Berg. We briefly talked with an ADF&G staff member at Little Susitna River weir who told us 4 king salmon had swum through the weir this morning and about 30 sockeye had also passed the weir recently.
Monday June 19, 2023 — Two friend, my wife, and I went on our annual camping trip. That evening they caught some sockeye salmon and a few king salmon.
Little Susitna River Weir — largest king salmon count of 2023 — 68 king salmon passed the weir today. This was more than triple the next largest daily count. Water depth below Hatcher Pass 4.2 feet, at weir 3.36.
Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) Commercial — the drift fleet had their first opening of the season and 56 edited to 18 permit holders harvested 1402 sockeye, 102 chum, 10 pink, and 2 king salmon.
Tuesday June 20, 2023 Camping trip continued — My wife and friend each caught a king salmon and some sockeye salmon. The river was rising and our catch rate dropped off in the evening.
Little Susitna River Weir — 64 king salmon passed the weir today. This more than doubled the 2023 annual king salmon countt in the past two days. Water depth below Hatcher Pass 4.7 feet and rising, at weir 3.9.
Wednesday June 21, 2023 — Camping trip continued — We fished early in the morning, but the water had risen significantly, and we did not see or catch any fish. We took a nap, ate a late brunch, travelled home and packaged up fish for the freezer.
Little Susitna River Weir — 31 king salmon passed the weir today. Water depth below Hatcher Pass peaking near 5.75 feet, at weir 4.46.
Thursday June 22, 2023 — I started cutting and curing salmon roe from our trip. We use Pautzke’s Fire Cure, which is gentle on the curing person’s hands, but produces a great bait the salmon really like. We may gat a chance to fish some of the new bait at the Eklutna Tailrace / Knik River fishery in the next day or two.
Little Susitna River — Water depth below Hatcher Pass starting to drop from 5.75 feet — at underwater weir 5.18.
Upper Cook Inlet Commercial today — 31 drift permit holders harvested 2,730 sockeye, 78 chum, 17 pink, 3 king, and 1 coho salmon.
Friday June 23, 2023 — Eklutna Tailrace — I fished for about 3 hours between 7 – 10 am upstream of the pedestrian bridge where there were less people. I saw a few smaller salmon surface and fished with Fire Cured salmon roe under an ESB Bobber and also with a #6 spinner, but did not get any bites. I did not see anyone else even hook a fish while I was fishing and at the tailrace, however, I saw a man filleting a king salmon of about 20 pounds and I saw another angler carrying a king salmon of about 15 pounds. The tailrace water remains very clear for this time of year, and the Knik River side-channel is high enough for king salmon to easily migrate up to the tailrace.
Little Susitna River water depth 5.6 at underwater weir — Water depth below Hatcher Pass relatively stable around 5.5 feet.
Saturday June 24, 2023 — Little Susitna River water depth at underwater weir peaking at 5.8 — below Hatcher Pass stable and dropping slightly ranging from about 5.25 – 5.5 feet.
UCI commercial — 6 drift permits reported harvesting 164 sockeye salmon in the Expanded Kasilof Section.
Sunday June 25, 2023 — I guided a group of 4 fishermen and one person just along for the trip. At the first spot they fished one guest caught a king salmon jack on a #6 Vibrax Spinner. My guests fished the rest of the trip without hooking another fish. the casted a variety of spinners at 3 spots and back trolled plugs at several more spots –covering plenty of prime water. During the trip they spotted a pair of bald eagles close to the river and also potted a moose right beside the river. The river was high and the water was dark-colored, but looked clean enough to catch salmon. I expect the water level to continue to drop and visibility to increase over the next few days.
Little Susitna River water depth at underwater weir 5.5 ft. — below Hatcher Pass ranged from about 4.7 to 5.5 feet today.
Monday June 26, 2023 — I guided a family of 3 visiting from North Dakota. Since they wanted a chance to harvest a king salmon we fished the Knik River side-channel below Eklutna Tailrace. The Knik River was very high and turbid, and although we saw a few salmon surface, my guests did not get any bites — and therefore did not catch a fish. They fished Fire cured salmon roe behind Spin-N-Glos the entire trip, but for most of the trip also fished a K15 Kwikfish on one line. It was raining lightly for most of the trip and we saw a squirrel as we were leaving the boat launch and a mouse swimming the Knik River during the trip along with some ducks.
Little Susitna River depth at underwater weir 5.2 ft, below Hatcher Pass approximately 5.2 — 4.5
In an Upper Cook Inlet commercial drift opening today 59 permit holders harvested 6,611 sockeye, 254 chum, 40 pink, 5 coho, and 1 king salmon.
In a 9 hour Northern District set net opening: 42 permit holders harvested 623 sockeye, 255 king, and 11 pink salmon. **ADF&G edited to 15 permit holders harvested 552 sockeye, 234 king, and 11 pink salmon.
Tuesday June 27, 2023 — I guided 3 men from Michigan on Little Susitna River. The waterway still high, but appeared plenty clear enough for catching salmon. We back trolled several miles of river and each of the guests thought they had a strike and set the hook at different times during the trip. One guest hooked a small king salmon on a K14X Kwikfish, but the fish managed to shake loose before he could bring it to the boat and release it. The guests tried a K15 Kwikfish and a Spinning Cheater as well, but we were unable to hook a big king salmon. It rained lightly most of the trip, and the guests spotted som merganser ducks along the river and a bald eagle perched in an overhanging tree.
Little Susitna River depth at underwater weir 5.0 ft., below Hatcher Pass approximately 4.5 – 4.3.
Wednesday June 28, 2023 — I guide a grandmother and her 12-year old grandson on the Little Susitna. Grandmother caught a king salmon of about 5 pounds on a K14X Kwikfish. In addition she had another bite on the same plug and also hooked but lost another salmon on a #6 Vibrax Spinner. Grandson briefly hooked one salmon on a K13X Kwikfish. During the trip the saw some ducks , ducklings, and a pair of bald eagles along the river. We had light rain the entire trip, however the water level appears unaffected.
Little Susitna River depth at underwater weir 4.6 ft., below Hatcher Pass approximately 4.25 – 4.0.
Thursday June 29, 2023 — I guided a morning group of three people, two of whom were visiting from Missouri. They caught 1 king salmon jack and 1 small king salmon. Both fish were caught on a K14X Kwikfish. During the trip they saw bald eagles, a cow moose, 3 calf moose, some ducks and an arctic loon.
I guided an afternoon group of 4 guests, who caught 1 small king salmon on a Mag Lip Flatfish 4.0. During the trip they saw some ducks and a bald eagle along the river.
Little Susitna River depth at weir 4.2 ft., below Hatcher Pass approximately 4.25 – 4.o. Note: Only a small portion of the weir was still underwater in the afternoon.
In an Upper Cook Inlet commercial drift opening today 102 permit holders harvested 11,841 sockeye, 2,388 pink, 755chum, and 18 coho salmon.
Friday June 30, 2023 — Little Susitna River water at weir 4.3, below Hatcher Pass 4.1 – 4.0.? Our next fishing report update will be posted on our July Alaska Fishing Reports 2023 page.