Has a fishing trip to Alaska been on your mind? Have you ever had a desire to go and give it a try? Have you ever dreamed of doing it and said “Someday I’ll try it”? If so, there is no time like the present. Too often we let life and indecision get in the way of us fulfilling our dreams. We put them off or procrastinate them, sometimes until it is too late. Maybe you just don’t know how to pay for your dream trip to Alaska?
Maybe money is the problem? Maybe you don’t think that you can afford to go? If so, this is an obstacle that CAN be overcome. It just takes a little time and effort and some dedication.
One good way to overcome the money obstacle is:
1. Set a goal. In xxx month of xxx year, I will have the money saved up to go. Write it down and put it where you will see it and read it every day.
2. Start to save money towards your goal. If you are going to go 3 years from now, divide out the estimated cost of the trip by the months left to prepare. Put that much money aside every month in an account or even cash in an envelope. Mark the envelope “Alaskan Fishing Trip”.
3. Be dedicated to reach your goal. Don’t let petty things get in the way of your savings. Be determined that you will stick to your goal and don’t let other things “steal” your trip from you. Don’t be tempted to skip a month or to “borrow” from your Alaska fund.
4. Find other ways to contribute to your fund. Have a yard sale. Sell some unneeded stuff on Craigslist or Ebay. Work some overtime hours at work. Maybe a temporary part time job or even delivering pizzas at night for a while. Dedicate all of these extra proceeds to your Alaska fishing fund.
5. Allow yourself to dream about and to think about your upcoming trip. Wise men tell us that our lives tend to move in the direction of the things that we think about. Daydreaming about your future trip to the point that it becomes an obsession will almost guarantee that it will happen. Spend time reading about Alaskan fishing and find people to talk to about it. Spend time researching it and studying about it on the internet or in books and magazines. These will all help you to be focused and dedicated to reaching your Alaskan fishing trip goal. They will also help you to have perseverance or “stick-to-it-ness” in attaining your goal.
If you will just stay with it and follow your plan, you WILL make it. You will be surprised at how quickly the time will come for you to go and you will be surprised at the fact that you are prepared when the time comes, both financially and physically. The money will be in the envelope and all of the dreaming and reading and talking will have you prepared in knowing what to take and what to expect and how to catch the big ones.
Here at FishingTripToAlaska.com we are dedicated to helping you learn all that you need to know about fishing in Alaska. Check back often for more tips.
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Fishing… or rather hunting the Salmon Shark is one of the newest fads in sport fishing in Alaska. The Alaskan version of the salmon shark is a lean, mean, salmon eating machine. The salmon shark is the newest offering of several sport fishing charters along the coast of central Alaska.
Averaging from 7-8 feet in length and reaching up to 1000 lbs in weight, salmon sharks are notorious eaters of Alaskan Salmon. A study of salmon sharks in 1989 showed that the salmon shark ate between 12% and 25% of all of the salmon in Alaska’s entire Prince William Sound during that year. The salmon shark is a very close cousin to the famous “Jaws” or great white shark.
The salmon shark is migratory spending the summers in Alaskan waters at the same time as the salmon runs and then moving further south during the coldest months. Their diet is made up of mostly salmon, squid, and herring. They will attack and run down their prey with incredible speed. In fact, they are believed to be the fastest fish in the ocean world-wide. They can be found anywhere from the surface down to depths of 500 feet or more.
The salmon shark is gaining popularity as a sport fish due largely to their abundance and to their hard-fighting ability which can challenge even the most adept angler. Fishing methods include the use of heavy line and steel leaders due to the presence of the many sharp teeth. A salmon carcass of course would be the bait of choice.
There currently is no commercial fishing allowed for the salmon shark but sport fishing is permitted throughout Alaska’s waters. The salmon shark’s flesh is said to taste similar to swordfish. The meat needs to be bled and processed as soon as possible after the catch but the meat freezes and keeps well.
If you are looking for a thrill and you consider yourself up to the task, try out the newest “thing” in Alaskan fishing and give hunting the Alaskan Salmon Shark a try. Be careful though. It has been said that they are just as dangerous out of the water, on the boat deck, as they are in the water.
Categories: Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaska, Alaskan attractions, Alaskan Bottom Fishing, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan salmon, herring, Jim Kell, salmon, Salmon Fishing, saltwater fishing
I have had many people ask me “Don’t you get sea-sick while fishing on the ocean in Alaska?” I have to admit to them that I never have. That being said, we are all different and we all react differently to things. While it hasn’t been a problem for me, it could be for someone else although I can’t remember of anyone that has gone with me ever having the problem either.
Sea-sickness is actually part of a greater malady called motion-sickness. Motion sickness includes sea-sickness, car-sickness, air-sickness, etc. Essentially what happens is that our bodies react to certain stimuli that comes from sensors in various parts of our bodies. Some of the main sensors are our inner ear which controls our sense of balance, our vision, and other sensors located within our muscles and joints. When we are moving, our mind processes all of the stimuli that comes in and then tells our body how to handle itself. When the motion comes from outside of our bodies such as waves in a boat, or motion from a car or airplane, sometimes our mind confuses the stimuli and doesn’t know how to process the information correctly. This seems to be especially true if the motion comes in from multiple directions at the same time (up and down plus side to side or back and forward etc.).
The general symptoms of motion sickness may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, nausea, or vertigo. Other common complaints could include a general feeling of discomfort, sweatiness, churning stomach, etc. Normally these feelings or symptoms will end as soon as the motion stimuli ends (as soon as you get out of the boat) but occasionally these ill feelings can last for hours or even a few days.
For my case, I believe that if your fishing trip is along Alaska’s Inside Passage where you never get out of sight of land, I believe that the visual stimuli problem is minimized and I think that you will find that you don’t have a problem. If your trip is to the western part of Alaska where sometimes land disappears, there is a more likelihood of sea-sickness being an issue.
There are several different medications that can help. If you have a history of getting motion-sick from cars, planes, carnival rides, etc, then you might seriously consider bringing along some medication to help prevent having a problem. There are several over the counter type medications available but if you really believe that you may need medication, I would recommend that you check with your doctor prior to leaving home. The most effective medications that work the best require a prescription. They come in pill form or patches that are stuck to your skin a few hours before loading into the boats. Sometimes the Doc won’t even need to see you and will just call in a prescription for you. These medications are very effective and there is no reason for anyone to suffer through a miserable fishing trip when sea-sickness is so easy to prevent.
- Ride in a spot in the boat where you can see the horizon
- Face forward and focus on non-moving far away objects
- Don’t read or look down into or concentrate on things within the boat
- Don’t watch or focus on other fellow fishermen who may be sea-sick
- Avoid spicy or greasy foods before leaving or large meals as these things could aggravate the problem
- Some people swear by Sea Bands which are elastic wristbands that use pressure points to control motion-sickness
We are all made differently and what works for one person will be different for the next person. Use common sense along with knowing your own body and you can have an enjoyable fishing trip to Alaska without the annoyance of being sea-sick.
Categories: Alaskan Tourism, Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaskan Bottom Fishing, Alaskan Crab, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan halibut, Alaskan Rock Fish, Alaskan salmon, Alaskan Shrimp, Alaskan travel, Alaskan vacation, family fishing, fishing, Jim Kell, Salmon Fishing, saltwater fishing, sea-sickness, tourism
One of the newest fads in Alaskan fishing is shrimp catching. If you have ever eaten fresh shrimp in Alaska, you will understand why that is. Alaska’s shrimp have gotten themselves quite a reputation among the locals and the visitors.
Alaska has four species of shrimp that are recognized by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. These four species are:
- Coonstripe Shrimp. Coonstripe shrimp are medium to large in size. They are the second largest of the shrimp found in Alaska, usually averaging 4 to 7 inches in length. They are identified by a dark striped pattern on their abdomen.
- Northern Shrimp. Northern shrimp are a medium sized shrimp, slightly smaller than the coonstripe. They are a solid pinkish color with no other markings. They are also known as pink shrimp or spiny shrimp due to extra spines not found on other varieties of shrimp. They are a different species than the pink shrimp found in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sidestriped Shrimp. Sidestriped shrimp are slightly larger than the coonstriped shrimp. They are a pinkish-orange color. They have white stripes running the length of their bodies. They are slightly skinnier than the coonstripe variety. They have extremely long antennae on their heads.
- Spotted Shrimp. Spotted shrimp are by far the largest of the Alaskan shrimp, reaching up to 12 inches in length. They are identified by their dark red to tannish color and have a white spot at the beginning and at the end of their body section on each side.
Shrimp are caught in “shrimp pots”. A shrimp pot is basically a cage or trap. They come in various sizes and shapes. A rope is attached to the pot and the pot is filled with bait and then dropped out of the boat. It is weighted so that it will sink to the bottom. A buoy is left attached to the top of the rope so that the pot can be located later. After a few hours the pot is pulled up, hopefully full of tasty little shrimp.
The bait used can be anything from cat food to salmon carcasses to store-bought pelleted bait. Herring oil or other strong smelling fish oils can make your bait work better.
Shrimp pots are generally placed between 400 and 700 feet deep and near rocky outcrops. underwater pinnacles and rock-slides. The experts suggest that an extra 15% to 25 % of length be left on your rope to be sure that your pot doesn’t get lost with the tides and the currents.
Catching shrimp in Alaska requires an Alaskan fishing license and a shrimp permit. The regulations and limits vary widely from area to area with some places being closed entirely so be sure to check the current regulations from the ADF&G before you go. The season on shrimp runs from April 15 thru Sept 15.
As with fish and crabs, shrimp can be flash frozen and transported home but be sure that you try some fresh cooked shrimp right out of the water. You will be glad that you did.
As with crabs, Paralytic seafood poisoning could potentially be a problem with shrimp although it hasn’t been found so far. Shrimpers are encouraged to read the latest warnings about PSP from the ADF&G. That warning sheet can be found at PSP Warning.
Categories: Alaskan Tourism, Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaska, Alaskan attractions, Alaskan Bottom Fishing, Alaskan Crab, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan fishing regulations, Alaskan halibut, Alaskan Rock Fish, Alaskan salmon, Alaskan Shrimp, Alaskan travel, Alaskan vacation, bait, family fishing, fishing, Jim Kell, saltwater fishing
How many of you out there can remember your first fishing trip? How old were you? Can you remember where it was? Did you catch any fish? Who else was there? Spend a minute and see if you can answer these questions.
I don’t know if I can remember exactly which was my first fishing trip. I DO have little bits and pieces of several trips when I was very young. I can remember exactly which fish were caught and while I don’t know the location, I can vividly remember some of the scenery and the details of the location. I also remember my Dad and uncles who also were there.
I know that those early fishing trips were very important in shaping my future as a fisherman but also as a person. Some of the lessons that I learned were very important to my future as I learned lessons about not always winning no matter how bad you want it (the fish didn’t always bite) or about being prepared both physically(gear and clothing) and mentally (learning how to do things the right way). As I grew older, the lessons were more advanced and more personal. I learned that if you were prepared, you were also more successful.
Fast forward a couple of decades… Now it is the memories of my own kids and their first fishing trips. What will they remember? What legacy have I built for them? Will they come to have the same love for fishing that I have? Will they learn and keep a respect and reverence for Nature and all of her accomplishments? Will they be willing to do their part in saving and preserving the birds and the animals and the fish for their kids? Will they learn to live in harmony with all that is out there in the world? Will they learn the same lessons that I have learned? Or, will theirs be different?
I believe that we have a duty to our kids and to all of the kids out there to give them the same opportunities that we were given and to plant in them the seeds that will allow them to develop a confidence in themselves. I believe that fishing should be required for all kids. I think that fishing can bridge a gap between where they are and where they need to be… in many different aspects of their lives.
I would encourage you to take a kid fishing. Teach them how it is done. Give them opportunities to experience nature. Help them learn that the fish aren’t biting every time but that they will bite next time or the time after that. Allow them to lose and to win at the game. Show them that fishing is just like life. Teach them to apply their fishing lessons to their lives.
I believe that fishing can make our kids into winners at the game of life.
Categories: Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaskan fishing, Alaskan vacation, family fishing, fishing, halibut, Jim Kell, nature, rock cod, salmon, Salmon Fishing, saltwater fishing, trout
As far as I personally am concerned, crab is probably my favorite to eat of all of the sea creatures that are available in Alaska and as good as it tastes at home, it is even better freshly caught and cooked in Alaska.
Alaska is home to several varieties of crab. They are: Red King Crab, Blue King Crab, Golden King Crab, Tanners or Snow Crab, and Dungeness crab. All of these varieties are found in varying quantities and in varying locations within Alaska’s waters. Most commonly found through all of Alaska’s waters are the Dungeness crab.
Also varying are the regulations on crabs. Be sure to check the regulations for the exact waters that you will be on. Basically, crab can be caught and kept at any time if they are for personal use but there are regulations on size and sex that must be followed carefully. Other than following the rules, the only license or permit needed is a normal regular Alaskan fishing license.
Dungeness crab are distributed throughout the waters of southeast Alaska and can be harvested non-commercially year around. Only male Dungeness crab measuring 6.5 inches may be harvested. Anyone with a valid Alaska sport-fishing license can harvest Dungeness crab. However, you should always check the fishing regulations when planning your vacation, as regulations and harvest limits may change.
Crab are caught by dropping a crab pot to the ocean floor. A crab pot is a large trap. They are normally about 3 ½ feet in diameter and 1 ½ feet tall. They are built from a metal frame and then covered with a steel mesh. They have a container in the center to hold the bait (usually fish carcasses or remains). There is an opening where the crabs can enter but not exit.
When the pots are dropped in the ocean, a rope is left attached to the pot and then is attached to a large floating buoy. This buoy will mark the spot of the trap and then the pot can be retrieved by pulling in the rope. Crab pots are left to “soak” for 1 – 2 days before pulling them in to check them and to remove the catch and re-bait.
After the catch, be sure that you eat some of the crab fresh. You will miss a real treat if you don’t. After you eat a few fresh, the rest of them can be cleaned and flash frozen for you to transport back home with you in your fish boxes.
One caution that is given by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game and by public health officials is that paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) has been found in the internal organs of Dungeness crab. This is a toxin that is carried by the crabs inside of their organs. There is no problem as long as the organs are not eaten. Legs, claws, and body meat is OK.
The following links to crabs from the ADF&G will provide more information on catching crabs in Alaska. Look in the section called INVERTEBRATES. There is a section for each species of crab found in Alaska.
Consider giving crabbing a try on your next Fishing Trip To Alaska.
Categories: Alaskan Tourism, Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaska, Alaskan Bottom Fishing, Alaskan Crab, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan fishing regulations, Alaskan halibut, Alaskan Rock Fish, Alaskan salmon, Alaskan vacation, family fishing, fishing, Jim Kell, rock cod, salmon, Salmon Fishing, saltwater fishing, trout
I have written a lot about the fishing lodges and fishing guide services in Alaska but there is a whole other side of this coin that hasn’t much been covered here at FishingTripToAlaska.
There are many, many people who come here and just fish on their own. They come to catch salmon, steelhead, trout, dolly varden, grayling, or any number of other species in the rivers, lakes, and streams in Alaska. Yes, many of them fish the ocean also, completely on their own. Not many people hear about these stalwart folks who just come, fish, and do their own thing.
If this sounds more like your kind of fishing or maybe your kind of budget, I have a great tip for you in today’s post.
The US Forest Service in Alaska has some cabins located within the boundaries of the two National Forests and scattered throughout the State of Alaska. These cabins are located in some of Alaska’s best fishing and hunting locations and are available for rent for up to a week at a time. These cabins will accommodate from 2 to 6 people and rent for $25 to $45 per night.
Some of these cabins are along the ocean while others are located inland on some of Alaska’s rivers and lakes. Most are accessible only by floatplane or by boat. There are approximately 40 of these cabins in the Chugach National Forest which encompasses the Eastern Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound and the Copper River areas around the town of Seward. There are another approximately 175 cabins within the Tongass National Forest which covers most of the Inside Passage from Ketchican to Yakutat.
These cabins are maintained and kept in good condition by the Forest Service however, don’t expect a luxury hotel. Most of the cabins have a stove (either wood or oil burning), a wooden table with benches, wooden sleeping platforms, good solid log walls and a waterproof roof.
You of course have to bring your own food, fuel, sleeping and cooking gear and equipment. There is no electricity, plumbing, telephone or drinking water. Even cell phone service may or not be available. Not luxurious but much better than a tent. Some of the cabins do have a rowboat with oars thrown in with the deal.
During the summer, stays are limited to 7 days or ten days during the rest of the months. Reservations are taken up to 180 days before the desired stay. These cabins are popular and fill up fast during the fishing and hunting seasons so reserve early.
The following links will give you much more information on locations, facilities, rules, and availability of the cabins.
Tongass National Forest
Chugach National Forest
All reservations are made through http://www.recreation.gov/ . Choose Alaska as the WHERE then CAMPING & LODGING then CABINS as the final choice box.
More information can also be obtained from the Juneau Forest Service Office (phone 907-586-8751)
I hope that you will find the information useful in planning your own Alaskan Fishing Adventure.
UPDATE 7-24-12 I recently came across this link that is a very concise summary of what to expect at these cabins. Very good information.
Categories: Alaskan Tourism, Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut, Salmon Tags: Alaska, Alaskan attractions, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan salmon, Alaskan travel, Alaskan vacation, bears, family fishing, fishing, green, Jim Kell, nature, Salmon Fishing, saltwater fishing, tourism, trout, whale watching
The northern lights are an extreme wonder to those of us that don’t live in a northern latitude and haven’t seen them before. Just imagine the entire sky full of vertical streamers of bright greens, blues, and/or reds.
The northern lights are caused by the reaction of certain electrical charges that come from solar winds reacting with the Earth’s outermost atmosphere. This energy combines with the presence of oxygen or nitrogen in the air to form the different colors.
The northern lights are invisible in the daytime. With Alaska’s constant daylight in the summertime, this treat is reserved for the early spring and fall time visitors. The best viewing months are from late August through early April and the best times of day are usually from 11 pm until 2 am.
There are ways of predicting the solar winds and thus, northern lights, but they aren’t extremely accurate. Mostly the northern lights come as a surprise treat for the avid fisherman who spends a little time…fishing in Alaska. 😀
The vast majority of the fish caught in Alaska, or in the world for that matter, are caught by commercial fishermen. These are the guys who are out there catching and then selling fish to make their living. They catch their fish in many different ways. One of these methods of fishing is called trawling in which giant nets are drug along the ocean floor are essentially scooping up everything in their path. When the nets are brought in and the fish are brought onto the boat they then must be sorted. The boat is only allowed to keep the species it was targeting, normally pollock and cod. All halibut caught must be thrown back into the ocean even though many of these fish are already dead or won’t survive when they are thrown back. These extra fish are called bycatch.
By law these fish cannot be kept because they are out of season and over limit to the boats that catch them. Once a certain number of pounds of halibut have been caught, the season ends for the trawlers. This number has been 50 million lbs. since 1989 and is a cumulative total for all trawlers fishing in Alaskan waters.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council oversees the bycatch and set the numbers. This number was recently cut for the first time in over 20 years.
Pacific halibut numbers have been declining for the last several years. Limits to sportfishermen and to commercial fishermen who target halibut have been reduced, in some cases by over 50%, over the past few years. In many parts of Alaska we as sportfishermen who fish with a guide can only catch one halibut where just a few years ago we could catch two. During this same time the commercial fishermen who target halibut have had their limits reduced by up to 68%.
The trawlers have not had a bycatch reduction since 1989. This new reduction will cut 15% off of the 50 million lbs. limit. If my math is correct that amounts to a 7.5 million lbs. decrease in halibut taken as bycatch. This 7.5 million lbs. is far more halibut than the total caught by ALL sportfishermen in Alaska each year.
With the new quota in place, once the trawlers reach 42.5 million lbs. their fishing season will end. This new quota will phase in gradually over the next four years.
I believe that to maintain and even to improve the quality of halibut fishing, as we must do for future generations, we must all do our part. I feel the pain of the men and women who make a living from the fish that they catch. I know that earning a living can be a difficult endeavor and that we need all of the breaks that we can get.
I also know that we must all work together and do our part in preserving and helping good old Mother Nature to save her own.
Categories: Bottom Fishing, Fishing, Halibut Tags: Alaska, Alaskan Bottom Fishing, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan fishing regulations, Alaskan halibut, eco-responsibility, fishing, fishing policy, halibut, Jim Kell, saltwater fishing
This is part two of a two part post. To access part 1, CLICK HERE.
In the last post we discussed some of the pros and cons of the guided trip. This post will address some of the ins and outs of a self-guided trip.
A self-guided trip can be as simple as a boat rental or as complicated as a semi-supervised adventure. It all depends on the company that you choose to work with. Some supply the boat, rods and reels and that’s it while others offer training or coaching, room and board, and even chase boats to check on and assist you throughout the day.
Some of the pros of a self-guided trip are:
- You call the shots. You decide where, when, how long, and which species of fish you want to fish for. If you want to start early, stay late, take a nap in-between, whatever,… you are the boss.
- You decide how you like to fish. If you want to try something new or different, you have the option to do it. If you want to switch to another species in the middle of the day, you have the freedom to do that. Many times I have targeted salmon early, halibut through the middle of the day, and then finished up with salmon again in the evening. With a guide, that normally wouldn’t happen.
- I have found it to be very thrilling to go out and “do it “ by myself. I have taken a gps unit, driven to the chosen coordinates, dropped a line and caught halibut all on my own with no prior knowledge of the area. I have found this to be extremely fulfilling.
On the other side of the equation, the cons might be:
- No ready source of help or information. No one standing by with tips, suggestions, ideas, when what you are doing doesn’t work. Guides that do this every day do learn how to catch fish. They are good at troubleshooting your setup or presentation.
- Sometimes rented boats, rods, reels, etc. aren’t the best. Someone else used this equipment yesterday or last week and didn’t treat it that well or forgot to report a problem so that it could get fixed.
- Sometimes we just need the boost in confidence that comes with having someone experienced along for the ride. Sometimes we don’t trust ourselves enough to try it on our own.
These are just a few of the questions that one must answer for him/herself when deciding on a trip. Sometime a person just isn’t comfortable going out by themselves for the first time or even ever. There isn’t anything wrong with that. It is all a matter of personal preference.
Personally, I have always fished Alaska on my own (self-guided). I will admit that I was a little nervous about it the first time. One of the guys in my group had done it before and he encouraged me to try it. I DO have a couple of good lodges that I like that offer the self-guided trips. They offer all that they can in the way of support. They are located in the Inside Passage and so one is never out of sight of land. I believe that anyone who can take their own boat out for a trip to the local lake or reservoir for the day can do the same in Alaska with one of these great lodge services AND BE SUCCESSFUL at it.
I have fished other places with guides. Guides also have an important place and also offer a great fishing experience. You must weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself what works for you and what will provide your ultimate experience.
Whether you choose guided or self-guided, ask lots of questions when booking. Know exactly what you will be getting when you arrive and throughout your stay. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from past customers. Don’t hesitate to have them explain everything before you pay out any of your money on a booking.
For part 1 of this post, CLICK HERE