By Trent Jonas
Alaska’s renowned fisheries keep the country—and the world—in fish, from snow crab and king salmon to halibut and king crab. The fine fishing of Alaska, in turn, attracts anglers of all sorts, from seasoned locals to halibut-happy tourists. The one thing they all have in common, though, is the need for the right gear. And here are our favorite places to get the bait, tackle, and fishing equipment you’ll need in Alaska.
Whether you’re a novice angler in town for a week or a seasoned veteran who knows every rock in Ship Creek, the Bait Shack is the place to go for fishing gear, flies, bait, and fish stories. In addition to the deep local knowledge that they’re happy to share, the Bait Shack can also rent you equipment and guide you to the fish.
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Anglers setting out from Thorne Bay—once home to the world’s largest logging camp (it still holds the record)—can pick up all the gear they need at the Tackle Shack. Whether you need a rod, a reel, bait or simply some good, local advice, the Tackle Shack can oblige you.
Haines is Alaska’s self-proclaimed “adventure capital,” and fishing is a big part of the adventure. Before heading out on the Delta to chase a chinook, stop by the Alaska Sport Shop at Olerud’s Market Center for any marine or fishing gear that you’ll need. Their knowledgeable staff can help you set up your gear, let you know where the bite is, and what they’re hitting.
Folks fishing on or from Prince of Wales Island, incidentally the fourth-largest island in the U.S., can find all the gear, bait, and tackle they need at Log Cabin Sporting Goods in Craig. In addition to equipment, the store’s staff can help you out with advice on the local hot spots.
If you’re fishing the Kenai Peninsula, whether on shore or offshore, you can pick up the gear, bait, and tackle you need at the Sport Shed in Homer. They’ll also let you know what’s biting, what they’re eating, and where to find them. If you plan on staying for a while, you can even rent one of their upstairs rooms.
No matter what you’re fishing for or where you’re doing it in the Mat-Su Valley—inshore on a river or offshore on the Inlet—Three Rivers Fly & Tackle will have what you need to put you on the fish. In addition to bait and tackle, they also offer classes and issue regular fishing reports, so that you’ll know what’s biting and where before you leave the house.
Since 1947, Big Ray’s Alaska Outfitter has been supply Alaska’s anglers with the gear they need, whether they’re fishing freshwater, saltwater, or flipping flies. Big Ray’s has locations in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and in Kodiak, where folks on the island can find the best selection of gear and tackle.
Another great spot for fishing gear, as well as live or frozen bait is Ken’s Alaskan Tackle in Soldotna (look for the giant king salmon on the roof). For more than 30 years, Ken’s has been dispensing rods, reels, and really good advice to locals and tourists, alike. They can also set you up with a charter.
Fly anglers will appreciate the depth of selection and expertise at Alaska Fly Fishing Goods in the capital city. Whether you’re looking for a reel, a switch rod, an insulating layer, or just a fishing report, you’ll find that the experienced staff has just the advice you need.
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With a convenient harbor-front location in Hoonah, Tideland Tackle & Marine is perfectly situated to supply all the gear and tackle you’ll need before you head out onto the water for a day of fishing. No license? No problem—you can also pick that up at Tideland.