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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Lots of people travel to Alaska each year for a vacation, whether it be just a trip to see the sights and to experience some of those the great Alaskan attractions, or whether it be a specific get-away from everyday life such as an Alaskan cruise or to try the great Alaskan fishing.
For many people, Alaskan vacations have been a once-in-a-lifetime goal but it is becoming more common for people now to return over and over as they get a taste of the greatness of the attractions that Alaska has to offer. People sample the beauty of nature in Alaska, with its bountiful wildlife and beautiful views and they get a sense of freedom as they realize just how much empty space Alaska has to offer and how few people there are to take it in.
Let’s face it, Alaska has many views and many experiences that cannot be had anywhere else in the world. I refer to things like humpback killer whales that make a game of putting on displays for the visitors and hundreds of glaciers that seem to calve on demand just to show off their stuff to those who come to see. I refer to the thousands of bears who just want to eat salmon and don’t care who is watching and photographing them while they do it. Even the plentiful presence of the thousands bald eagles everywhere seems to further ingrain this beauty and sense of freedom into our subconscious minds.
Alaska is one of the last frontiers. The reality of things is that it likely will remain so. There aren’t all that many people who are willing to endure the harsh, dark winters there to make it a permanent home and so for the most part, Alaska becomes a summer playground for those who are attracted to its beauty, its grandeur, its freedom, and its bounty.
According to Alaska’s Resource Development Council statistics, 1 out of every 3 visitors to Alaska now is a repeat visitor. They say that almost all of these visitors came first on a cruise ship but are now coming on their own to see and do all of the things that they first saw from a distance on their cruise. They came once and got hooked by what they saw and now want and are taking the opportunity to explore and to experience more in-depth, the things that interest them.
So, whether your tastes are for wild and exciting, or even if they run to tame and quiet, Alaskan travel is definitely something that should be on your list of things to do. You too may be hooked by what you see.
The Sheefish is a species of fish sometimes found on the end of your line while fishing in Alaska. Called “Iconnu” by the native Alaskans, this large fish is a member of the Whitefish family.
Sheefish are a mostly freshwater fish found in the rivers of central Alaska’s Northwest and Yukon Management areas although they may occasionally be found in the marshy salt-water bays where the rivers dump into the ocean. The largest concentration of sheefish is found in the Kobuk and Selawik River drainages. The sheefish from these drainages are also much, much bigger than those found in Alaska’s interior drainages with fish there commonly caught in the 30 to 40+lb. range while sheefish in the Yukon and other drainages being around one half that size.
By description, sheefish are a silvery color with occasional blueish, greenish or purplish hue to them. They have extremely large scales. The scales on a large sheefish will be the size of a nickel in diameter. One of their defining characteristics is their large mouth which opens to the same diameter as their body. Sheefish are fish eaters and are said to eat anything that will fit in their mouths. They have extremely small teeth giving the inside of their mouth the feel of coarse sandpaper. They eat their prey by sucking it in.
As with other members of the whitefish family, sheefish have a very white flesh that gets even whiter with cooking. It is even preferred over halibut by some anglers in its texture and flavor. The native Alaskan populations have depended on the Iconnu to provide needed nourishment for their villages for hundreds of years. The sheefish starts running in the spring as soon as or even before the river ice breaks up, long before the salmon begin to make their way to upstream thus providing an early and welcomed protein source to the Eskimo villages. The sheefish will travel up to 1000 miles upstream to their head-water spawning grounds.
Sheefish prefer the bottom of the rivers and can be caught either through jigging on the bottom from a boat, or from casting a weighted line from the shore. When river fishing for sheefish, usually the deeper the hole, the better your luck will be for a big fish although occasionally one is caught near the surface on a fly. Sheefish are attracted to bright colors and to shiny things so take that into account with your lures. Because of the way that they suck their food in, they will generally be hooked very deep. Due to their large size, the sheefish provide an excellent fight.
Sheefish are also caught through the ice in winter or early spring by drilling a hole in the ice and jigging on the bottom.
The current bag limits are 10 fish of any size per day but be sure to check the current regulations before you go.
The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game has a fact sheet on sheefish that can be downloaded HERE. Why not go out and try something new next time you go fishing in Alaska?
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
The Arctic Grayling is actually a member of the same family as salmon and trout although it is a freshwater only fish meaning that it never migrates to the ocean as the rest of the salmon and some of the trout families do. Arctic Grayling populations are quite widespread throughout Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. They are also found in some of the headwaters of the Missouri River in south-western Montana.
The Arctic Grayling is identified by its grey to silver to greenish-blue coloring and its huge sail-like dorsal fin. The body and fins may have spots ranging from black or red to blue or purple. Their fins are tipped in bright, iridescent pink or orangish colors giving them a unique set of markings unlike any other fish. It has been said that the clearer the water where the grayling is found, the brighter the coloring will be. The Arctic Grayling in Alaska will reach up to 23 inches in length and may reach over 5 lbs. in weight although the majority of those caught range from 12 to 18 inches in length and are under 3 lbs. They have been known to live as long as 30+ years of age.
The Arctic Grayling prefers to live in mid-sized rivers and lakes but will return to the small creeks and streams in the spring to spawn, although not necessarily the same places where they were born. Almost all freshwater in Alaska will have grayling present except in the Aleutian Islands on the western end of Alaska and on Kodiak Island in south-central Alaska.
Grayling will eat other fish and aquatic life if necessary but by far their preferred diet is bugs and insects. This makes them a fly-fisherman’s dream. It has been said that they will investigate anything and everything that floats on the water’s surface. They are especially fond of mayflies, caddis flies, and stone flies. They will also eat salmon eggs found floating in the water and many grayling have been found with birds and mice in their stomachs.
Normally, grayling are fished with light tackle. They commonly are caught on flies but traditional spoons, spinners and bait are all successful as well. If using lures or bait, a cast and retrieve method will work better than letting the bait or lure sit and settle. They can be very picky at times, wanting only a certain type or color of fly and so it may pay off to try a variety of flies or lures until the “perfect” presentation is found. When you find a lure or bait that works, stick with it.
According to research done by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, the larger grayling are more commonly found at the headwaters of the drainage where the waters are cooler, the middle-sized fish that are in the late juvenile to the early adult stage will commonly be found in the middle stretches of the drainage or river, and the younger and smaller fish will more commonly be found in the lower parts of the river system where the warmer water temperatures will help them to grow faster. Of course, that being said, any size or age of grayling can be found anywhere that the grayling is present.
The season on Arctic Grayling generally runs year-around and they are quite often caught through the ice in winter. Bag limits vary from 2 to 10, depending on the area fished so be sure to check the latest regulations before heading out.
The ADF&G’s information page on the Arctic Grayling can be found HERE.
Categories: Fishing, Salmon Tags: Alaska, Alaskan fishing, Alaskan fishing regulations, Alaskan salmon, Alaskan Steelhead, Arctic Grayling, bait, family fishing, fishing, fresh water fishing, grayling, Jim Kell, Salmon Fishing, trout
Alaska has a reputation for its salmon and halibut fishing but less well-known is the excellent trout and steelhead fishing that is to be found in Alaska. In fact, Alaska is a very popular destination for trout and steelhead fishermen who come from all over the world seeking the thrill of the fast-moving, hard-fighting trout and steelhead that are found in Alaska’s waters.
Rainbow and Steelhead trout are considered to be the same species. In fact it appears that the only difference between the two is where they choose to make their home. The rainbows choose to be home-bodies and laze around in the freshwater lakes and streams of their birth while the steelhead are the more adventuresome and choose to go out and see the world by traveling out to the ocean for a part of their lives.
There are a few physical characteristics that seem to be different between the two varieties of trout. The steelhead develop a slightly different coloration and pattern that seems to become stronger the longer that they spend in the saltwater. In fact, it appears to be a result of environment more than genetics. Some of their spots, bars and background coloring changes, perhaps to better camouflage them in their chosen oceanic environment. Steelhead will grow to be much larger than their rainbow counterparts almost entirely due to the better diet that they will find in the ocean.
The Alaskan steelhead is born in the clear freshwater streams and lakes. They will typically spend three years living and growing in those streams and lakes before traveling to the ocean. Once in the ocean they will live there another 2+ years before returning home to spawn. Steelhead aren’t like Alaska’s salmon that spawn and then die. Steelhead will spawn and then return to the ocean repeatedly, sometimes many, many times over the next few years of their lives.
Steelhead are grouped according to the time of year when they migrate back upstream to spawn. The groups are spring-run (March-June), summer-run (July), and fall-run (August-October). The majority of the steelhead are fall-run. Regardless of when they choose to return, they will all spawn the following spring.
Steelhead will live up to 10 or 11 years of age. They can grow up to 45 inches in length and 55 lbs in size. They are a prized catch for their fight and for the meat.
When fishing for steelhead fishing in rivers and streams, concentrate on deep holes surrounded by fast-moving currents as well as the swift whitewater areas. If using flies, steelhead prefer bright colorful flies. Also popular and effective are the spoons, spinners, and egg-like imitations.
Alaska, unlike other places, has a very sustainable steelhead fishery. Fish numbers seem to stay within normal patterns and cycles. As with other species in Alaska, regulations vary as to bag limits and size specifications. Be sure to check the current regulations for he particular region and water body that you plan to fish.
Current Alaskan fishing regulations can be found HERE.
For more information on Alaskan steelhead, check out this pdf from the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game.
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
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. 😀