Alaska Sport Fishing Guide
Posted by Stan Trof
Sport Fishing Guide to Alaska. What to fish and where, license requirements, getting there, weather, travel tips, accomodations.
WHAT TO FISH AND WHERE: Alaska offers some of the most diverse and incredible fishing opportunities in the world. You can drop a line into a roadside river and catch a nice size rainbow trout. Or charter a boat and reel in one of Alaska's giant Pacific halibut. You also can treat yourself with a freshly caught shellfish- shrimp, crab, clam. There are almost 400 fish species in Alaska's fresh and salt waters including all five species of Pacific Salmon: King (chinook), Silver (coho), Red (sockeye), Chum (dog, keta), Pink (humpy). It is not uncommon to catch a 50-pound King salmon, the Alaska record was set by a fish weighing 97 pounds. Arctic greyling, sheefish and northern pike are easy to find in many inland streams. Diverse Alaska geographic areas offer adventure for everyone, give us various choices:
INTERIOR ALASKA. From mountains and rolling hills , river valleys covered with forests to the vast spaces of treeless tundra at higher altitudes and in the far north. Temperaure varies greatly throughout the year, from -50 Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) in the winter months to +30 Celsius (+86 Fahrenheit) during summers. There are just a few highways in the interior part of Alaska. Most of the area can only be reached by plane, boat or by foot. Almost every settlement has a good all weather airport served daily by small commercial air carriers. Summer is warm but short, it is the best time for fishing in the land of the midnight sun. Pacific salmon enter the Yukon River in early June and move almost 2,400 km (1,500miles) up the river. They spawn along the way, provide best fishing in June and July for king salmon, and in August and September for silver salmon. Chum salmon can be caught throughout summer and fall. Catch sheefish in July and August, especially in the Kobuk River. Best fishing season for lake trout and arctic char is May and early June. Ice fishing fans can take pleasure in good fishing for trout and burbot.
SOUTHEAST (the narrow and long part between the Pacific ocean and Canada). Consists of mainland and many treed mountainous islands along the coast. Inland waterways are well sheltered from the Pacific ocean. The main fishing trophies are all the five species of Pacific salmon and the Pacific halibut. Rainbow, cutthroat, brook and steelhead trout are easy to catch in some inland streams. We can add arctic grayling and Dolly Varden to the list. On the coast crab and lingcod are available.
SOUTH and SOUTHWEST (to the south and west of the Yukon river). Mountainous inland with many rivers and lakes, ragged coastal line dotted with numerous islands. The region offers the widest variety of saltwater fishing and inland fishing in the state. The Bristol Bay area is well known for outstanding rainbow trout fishing. Lake trout and northern pike are abundant in some lakes in the area. Arctic grayling, burbot, arctic char and Dolly Varden can be found in some waters. June and July yield the best fishing results for Pacific salmon. You can catch Pacific halibut in Gulf of Alaska and some inlets. Razor clams are best to dig from April to September, especially on the Kenai Peninsula.
FISHING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS:
- An Alaska sport fishing license is required for all nonresidents 16 and over, and most residents from 16 to 59 (see below), to fish in all Alaskan fresh and salt waters. It is valid for a calendar year.
- Sport fishing licenses and king salmon stamps may be purchased from a license vendor (most sporting goods stores), by mail from the ADF&G Licensing Section, P.O. Box 25525, Juneau, AK 99802-5525, (907) 465-2376, or online. Licenses, stamps, and tags are non-refundable.
- A sport fishing license permits you to take or attempt to take any finfish or shellfish in fresh or salt waters, except anadromous (sea-run) king salmon, for which you must also have a current year's king salmon stamp. In order for the stamp to be valid, anglers must sign their name, in ink, across the face of the king salmon stamp and stick the stamp onto the back of their current year's sport fishing license.
WEATHER: On the whole Alaskan summers are cool, the average temperature is +14 deg.C (58 F) in summer and -12 deg.C (11 F) in winter but it can vary greatly between different regions of the state. Winters are cold and dark. Early spring can be cold, but often days warm to above freezing with a lot of sunshine. It receives midnight sunshine during the part of summer and goes into 24-hour darkness during the part of winter. Summers are the wettest time of the year, south regions are well known for their dampness. You can check next week weather forecast for Anchorage here.
GETTING THERE: There are direct or one-stop flights to Anchorage from many major US cities. Most of the Alaskan interior and coast are accessible by Alaska Aircraft Charters, Bush Pilots, Air Taxis. Many small villages and towns have all weather airports served daily.
ACCOMODATION AND GETTING AROUND: You can rent a hotel in Anchorage. Remote areas have a vast number of Fishing Lodges and Camps with fishing guides and necesary equipment. For those who prefer to fish offshore there are Alaska Saltwater Fishing Charters.
TRAVEL TIPS: Northern weather can be unpredictable. Consider taking with you and wearing multiple layers of clothes in response to a wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions. Marine weather conditions can change in minutes and a once calm sea can become a nightmare of an ordeal. Coastal waters this far north are also very cold and there is little hope for survival if your boat goes down in rough seas and you don't have the proper survival suits. It is always wise to consult the current conditions and predicted forecast for the area you will be boating in. Obtain detailed maps of the area beforehand. Do not forget to pack first-aid and survival kits as well as bear repellents.
Enjoy your trip!
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