By: Dustin Slinker

We’re in the transition period in Alaska. The majority of the salmon runs are over and a lot of fisherman are hanging up their rods and cleaning up their rifles to go hunting. Those of us that are still fishing are chasing trout around in lakes and creeks and finding exceptional action.

These fish can feel the change of the season and are aggressive right now. They are trying to eat all they can because they know they are going to wake up one morning the ice above them is going to be three feet thick. All the lakes in the Anchorage Bowl and Mat-Su Valley have fish that are aggressive right now. These are public access lakes that have rainbows, arctic grayling, char, landlocked salmon and other species. These fish are all in a feeding frenzy right now.


All the lakes in the Anchorage Bowl are good lakes to fish. They are all stocked and have plenty of fish that are waiting for anglers to get in there and cast at them. They are looking to be fed before the winter comes. You don’t even have to know what you are doing, but if you are equipped with the best bait you can have an extremely successful day. All these lakes have decent to big fish in them. It’s not uncommon to catch 20-inch fish, but most of them will run 10-14 inches.


There’s so many lakes that are accessible right now that it shouldn’t be a secret where the fish are. In Anchorage, Sand, Jewel, Cheany and Little Campbell are heavily stocked catchable trout. In the Mat-Su Valley, Finger and Mat-Su Lake are two bodies of water that produce big fish and the state aggressively stocks. However, there are dozens of others that are stocked, too. If you consult the stocking reports you can find some gems with no fishing pressure.

We’re fishing bait right now. I’m running a size 6 Gamakatsu octopus hook and six-pound P-Line fluorocarbon on a 6-6 light action St Croix rod. We’ve been fishing Silver and Gold Label Pautzke single salmon eggs. I’m using one to three eggs on a hook and floating them under a bobber. Meanwhile, if I’m targeting char I’ll switch over to pieces of Chartreuse Fire Brine shrimp.


This time of year we’re focusing on points, in coves and where creeks dump into the lake. The trout are moving around in search of food. We’ve been finding a lot of fish in the backs of coves in secluded areas, too. This bite should continue for another month. It will be red hot until the lakes freeze up. As long as the water remains open these fish will continue to feed. I’m guessing they’ll start to freeze in November.


Editor’s Note: Dustin Slinker operates The Bait Shack in Anchorage. For more information please visit or