Boats at a marina in Prince William Sound
Photo Credit: ATIA, Michael DeYoung

Fishing in Prince William Sound

Fishing in Prince William Sound

With ten thousand square miles of protected waterways, Prince William Sound offers some of the best fishing in Alaska from May to September. Fishing fans will relish this five-day itinerary that covers incredible fishing spots in Valdez, Cordova, and Whittier.

Day 1: Valdez

Start your fishing adventure in Valdez, which is easily accessed by road or air from Anchorage, or by Alaska Marine Highway ferry from Whittier, a small coastal town south of Anchorage. Valdez is perched on the shores of Prince William Sound, where from May to September you can enjoy some of the state’s best guided charter fishing for salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and halibut—or you can cast a line from shore. Don’t forget to try your luck in one of Valdez’s famous summer fishing derbies, which award thousands of dollars in prize money to the biggest catches. Shark fishing is also popular in Valdez, with some specimens weighing in at more than 300 pounds.

Day 2: Cordova

Take another Alaska Marine Highway ferry to the hard-working fishing community of Cordova, home to the wildlife-rich Copper River Delta. The sailing takes about 14 hours, so make a full-day sightseeing cruise of it; you have great odds of seeing marine wildlife like humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, sea otters, and numerous seabirds along the way.

Day 3: Cordova

Go fly-fishing along one of several rivers near Cordova for salmon, Dolly Varden, or trout, or head back out into Prince William Sound on a charter fishing boat for halibut, salmon, lingcod, or rockfish. The area near Cordova boasts an impressive number of shorebirds, and wildlife sightings here are plentiful as well. If you have a little spare time, stop by the Cordova Historical Museum to learn about Cordova’s fascinating history.

Day 4: Whittier

Board another ferry for the seven-hour trip across Prince William Sound to Whittier, a quaint fishing town accessible by road and rail in addition to the ferry. A variety of sportfishing charters targeting halibut, salmon, lingcod, or rockfish depart from the town's harbors, along with day cruises that explore the tidewater glaciers and marine wildlife of Prince William Sound. Stop by the local museum to learn about the town’s role in World War II and the fascinating history behind the 14-story Begich Towers building, which most residents of Whittier call home today. Spend the night in Whittier at the hotel or a B&B.

Day 5: Whittier to Anchorage

To return to Anchorage, you’ll drive or take an Alaska Railroad train through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America. Once through the tunnel, it’s a scenic 60-mile drive back to Anchorage along the Seward Highway. Consider stopping in Girdwood, a funky ski town about 40 minutes south of Anchorage, for a tasty meal at one of several local restaurants.


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