Wrangell-St. Elias is home to a tremendous array of fish resources. With hundreds of miles of streams draining into two of Alaska’s major river systems, the Park contains a diverse range of fish species as well as many abundant populations, including salmon populations that support large fisheries.
The Copper River and most of its tributaries are migration routes for sockeye, coho, and king salmon. These fish transport large quantities of marine derived nutrients into otherwise nutrient poor systems. These marine derived nutrients support many of our aquatic ecosystems.
Small lakes and clear water tributaries contain lake trout, Dolly Varden, burbot, grayling, cutthroat and rainbow trout, sculpin, suckers, and whitefish. Some of the northernmost populations of steelhead occur within the Park/Preserve.
Despite the uniqueness and diversity of Wrangell-St. Elias, relatively few scientific investigations have been undertaken resulting in a paucity of information about the environment, its inhabitants and the role park/preserve resources play in fulfilling a subsistence lifestyle. The knowledge of fish species that are not actively pursued by anglers remains relatively limited.
The National Park Service and the State of Alaska cooperatively manage the wildlife resources of the Park and Preserve. An Alaska State fishing license is required for all anglers age 16 or older. Bag and possession limits vary by species and by area. Always check current fishing regulations.
Did You Know?
In March, 1948, Northwest Flight #4422 slammed into 16,237’ Mt. Sanford, killing all 30 on board. The wreckage was immediately concealed by ice and snow, making recovery efforts impossible. It was 50 years later until wreckage parts surfaced on a glacier, miles from the crash site.