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Anchorage’s Fish Creek – Mysterious Journey Revealed

While admiring from Anchorage’s Coastal Trail the s-curves of a waterway that flows into Cook Inlet, I asked a nearby bicyclist if he knew more about this. Did he ever!

Bob told me how he personally tracked the little known, Fish Creek to its headwaters and documented its fascinating journey that is often hidden. He sent me the links to his meticulous research, and gave me permission to share.

Bob also has a page on Chester Creek.

Bob told me the The AWL Fish Creek Report Card provides some history about the creek. An excerpt:

  • Fish Creek was completely surveyed where it emerges from its headwater at E 42nd and Lake Otis to the mouth of the creek. Also the tributaries and former tributaries were surveyed.
  • In 1916, salmon still ran up Fish Creek, and it was a fully functioning watershed. Currently, it has a small population of trout, but the existence of salmon in Fish Creek is questionable.
  • Since 1916, 73 percent of Fish Creek has disappeared. Fish Creek was one of the first Anchorage Creeks to suffer from development, road and railroad building, filling, and channelization. By 1964, the channelization and filling of Fish Creek was well underway.
  • Fish Creek once ran through what is now the Sears Mall, and, if you ever visit BP’s Energy Center and walk across the bridge that crosses what is now a ditch, you are crossing an old section of Fish Creek.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Building is built on a former lake on Fish Creek, and you could pick out the creek’s course through the ACS complex until it was clear cut and built upon in summer 2012.
  • From 42nd and Lake Otis to Shelikof, the creek is above ground and is important wildlife habitat. It then goes underground and emerges again in Spenard except for a brief daylighting at Cuddy Park.

Bob’s fantastic research:

Fish Creek

The Fish Creek Map will give you a good overall picture of the creek’s path that I plotted out.

I created three separate Google Maps: Main Branch, Upper Branch and Lower Branch.

Zoom in and out and drag the maps around to get different views.

Click the markers to view the photos.


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  1. Bob

    Great post Jeff!

    Maybe someday the salmon will once again spawn in Fish Creek?

    One can only hope!


    • GREAT research Bob! Thanks for putting your heart and soul into this, and letting me share!

      “Out of sight, out of mind,” they say, which is definitely true for this largely, artificially hidden waterway.


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