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.
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
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. 😀
Yes, you read the title correctly. If a bear were to choose where to go to spend his afterlife, I am sure that he would choose to spend it in Alaska. After all, where else could he go to have the best fishing in the world? 😀
All joking aside, Alaska may be just as famous for its bears as it is for its salmon. Alaska has an extremely high number of bears per capita for its geographical area. In plain English that means that Alaska has more bears per square mile than just about anywhere else. In fact, in some parts of the state there is one bear per square mile.
If you are one of those folks who chooses to fish, hike, camp, walk, sight see, etc. anywhere in Alaska’s back-country, you will eventually have a bear experience to tell. In the news just this past week, there were a couple stories of of human-bear encounters in Alaska.
Bears are naturally shy animals. Most of the problems occur when people attract the bears with food or garbage, or when the bears are surprised by the human, usually in the bear’s territory. If you are headed into Alaska and plan to spend some of your time in the woods or fishing the rivers, there are some guidelines that you should follow. It is imperative that you take the necessary precautions or you will end up in a conflict sooner rather than later.
Human food and fish or fish remains are a great problem. When visiting or spending time in bear country it is vital that one develop good habits for storing food and garbage where the bears can’t get to them. Food should be stored in bear-proof containers. Keep garbage and food out of your tent and in places where bears can’t get to them.
When fishing, keep fish and waste where the scent won’t attract the bears. Remember that fish smell and blood smell are great bear attractors and handle your fish accordingly.
The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game has a couple of great articles on how to prevent problems with bears and how to deal with bears if they should show up at your fishing spot. Check out the links below for more information.
Be sure to know how to handle bear encounters before you go. It could save your life or the life of your partner. When the bear shows up, there is no time for Google.
A fjord is a long narrow deep channel of water that has been cut out of the surrounding rock. Fjords usually have high rocks cliffs that tower over them. In the case of the Tracy Arm, there are granite walls about 3000 feet high that line the narrow passage. The Tracy Arm Fjord is located roughly 45 miles south of Juneau, Alaska. It is approximately 35 miles long. It has become a very popular destination and is accessible by boat or by float plane.
Many of the cruise ships and lots of the smaller day-trip boat operators frequently pass through the fjord. Its shorelines are dotted with frequent waterfalls caused by melting snow high up in the hills. Trees grow from the rocky walls at odd angles. Wildlife is also plentiful along the passage.
At the end of the fjord are the twin Sawyer Glaciers. While they are not the most famous or the biggest of Alaska’s glaciers, many people say that they are the most dramatic. They are framed by large mountains on either side and are often covered in a mist that amplifies and accentuates the deep translucent blue color of the ice. They really are an impressive sight. These glaciers are famous for the enormous slabs that calve off from their faces. The fjord is literally full of the remains of this glacial calving, with icebergs the size of large apartment buildings being commonplace. The entire length of the Fjord will be full of small pieces of floating ice.
I realize that that this is not an Alaskan fishing topic but for many people, their trip to Alaska may be a one-time thing. I always thought that my first trip would be that way. Little did I know just how captivating Alaska would be. I have been able to see and experience many beautiful and wonderful sights in Alaska and I wish to offer others the insight that I have gained in order to make their trip a little more pleasant and enjoyable.
If you have the time, there are many side trips that will fit well with a fishing trip to Alaska. They will give you a better view and a wider experience as you visit Alaska from faraway places. The Tracy Arm Fjord is one such place. It is well worth the time to work it into your fishing trip agenda.
Another of the exciting, interesting and educational activities to add to your list of possible side trips during your fishing trip to Alaska is a visit to Denali National Park. Denali Park is located in central Alaska in between Anchorage and Fairbanks and gets about 400,000 visitors per year. Denali is accessible by car, plane, or by the Alaskan railroad system.
Denali Park has about 6 million acres of wild country full of the wild terrain, beautiful views, and wild animals that Alaska is famous for. Of course, Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley which is the highest peak in the US and in North America. Mount McKinley stands at a little over 20,000 feet in height. In the native language Denali means “the High One”.
Some of the possibilities for things to do at Denali are backpacking, hiking, cycling, photography, camping, bus tours, plane tours or flightseeing, animal/bird viewing, and a myriad of other activities.
Denali is home to many if not most of Alaska’s large mammals including 39 species ranging from grizzlies and wolves to caribou, moose, and Dall’s sheep. Also to be found are more than 150 species of birds ranging from gulls and terns to ptarmigan. One species of critter that is scarce in Denali are fish as the rivers there are poor habitat for fish. The fish that are to be found within the park are more likely to be found along the far western border of the park where the rivers are deeper and slower. Probably not the place to wet a worm.
Denali has several teams of sled dogs that work the park on a regular basis, hauling rangers, scientists, researchers, and others along with their gear and equipment to places within the park. The dogs play a very important part of the operations of the park.
One very dramatic way to experience Denali is from the air with a “flightseeing” trip either from a plane or from a helicopter. From the air, one can cover a huge amount of territory from the mountain ranges to the flat planes and grasslands to the glaciers. One may view the wildlife, plant life, and possible even you may see other hikers and mountain climbers doing their thing. These flights are available in either the plane or the helicopter version. These flights even can land on the glaciers for a “hands-on” experience.
Denali also has several roads and trails that are open to cyclists. If you are into cycling, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to sightsee from the seat of a bicycle.
There are also bus tours that will cover large areas of the park. These tours come complete with a guide who can explain the natural scenes, wildlife, and other sights that are found along the way.
If you enjoy nature and all of the things that come with it, a trip to Denali National Park before your fishing trip may be just the thing that you are looking for. Check it out and see if it may be a fit for you. Use the link below for more information.
In fact, Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers. In spite of this large number, only 5% of the state’s landmass in covered in ice. Alaska has some very favorable conditions that lead to the formation and preservation of glacial ice. Yes, cold temperatures are a part of it but also needed are favorable wind currents, mountains, and the right amount of humidity. Alaska has just the right combination of these critical conditions.
Glaciers once covered a large part of the northern part of the Earth. Over thousands of years they have gradually retreated to a relatively small number and area. Glaciers are formed by an accumulation of snow that never melts. Over many years,, the snow gets deeper and finally, with the weight and pressure, it becomes a glacier.
Glaciers “flow” downhill, just like a river does. Where they reach the ocean, large chunks of ice breaks off of the bottom end of the glacier and fall into the sea. This is what is called “calving”. Sometimes these blocks of ice are the size of buildings.
The color of glacial ice varies from white to a deep blue, depending on the thickness of the ice, the density, and the composition of the ice. Generally, they appear deep blue from a distance. My first ever sighting of a glacier was from the window of my Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Juneau. It was an impressive sight from the air.
The Hubbard Glacier near Yakut has the largest calving face of all of the glaciers in Alaska. Its calving face is 6 miles long. It is still growing, getting larger and longer every year. The Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau can be seen from town and gets lots of visitors each year. It is part of the Juneau Icefield that is about 1500 square miles in size and feeds 38 glaciers of which the Mendenhall is one. Glacier Bay Park is a very popular attraction along the Inside Passage for the cruise ships, kayakers, and for the flightseers (people who hire a plane to fly them over the glaciers for the purpose of seeing and photographing them from the air).
Flightseeing, helicopter tours, charter boats and kayaking and on-glacier ground tours are among the many options available to visitors who want to see the icefields and glaciers. Most of the glaciers have been made into National parks and will have their own ranger station. These ranger stations will have lots of information on the best ways to visit and experience the glaciers within their jurisdiction. Contact them for ideas and information on how to have the best time at their glacier. The Alaskan part of the National Park system can be found HERE
Glaciers are a fascinaing part of nature. They are interesting to see and to study. They have played a large role in the history of the world, being involved in the evolution of many of the species of plant and animal life that are or have been found on the Earth. They might be worth a little of your time during your next fishing trip to Alaska.
Today’s Alaskan fishing blog post is going to go in a little different direction. Let’s face it, fishing in Alaska isn’t for everyone. Maybe you or someone close to you would never take the plunge to go fishing. My wife is one of those. Bring the halibut home and she will be first in the serving line for the deep-fried halibut but ask her to go fish Alaska with me…. not a chance.
I would love to get my wife to Alaska. I know that she would love the scenery, the people, and the beauty and grandeur of it all. I am a realist enough to know that she will never commit to accompany me unless I use subversion. The only way that I will ever get her there is to trick her into it. This is where the cruise lines come in.
You see, cruises are a totally different way to see and experience the Alaskan attractions. It brings all of the comforts of home along. In fact, it brings along more than just the comforts of home. It offers anyone the opportunity to view, touch, and EXPERIENCE Alaska without getting dirty, cold, uncomfortable, or even getting up out of their seat.
Many different cruise lines serve the Alaskan waters. Alaskan cruises can begin in far off places like Vancouver, British Columbia or Seattle, WA or they can begin in any of several different Alaskan ports. Cruises come in varying lengths from 3 days to 3 weeks. A cruise can cover all of Alaska or just a few small parts of it.
Trust me, the cruise lines know how to cater to the Alaskan newbie. They know all of the best and most popular places and will get you there in a hands-on type of way. Some of them will pull right up alongside of a glacier, guests lining the rails, and motor along close enough that the guests can almost reach out and touch the glacial ice without ever leaving the boat. They will spend a day covering a particularly scenic area at low speed for your viewing enjoyment and then at night while you sleep, they can make a high-speed dash for the next area. When you awake, you are ready for the next treat.
Most cruises offer side trips during the days. This is where I will get in my fishing fix while my wife sits poolside or checks out the ship’s massage parlor. In addition, one can go and see the glaciers from the air or even land on one and go for a hike. Other side trips options could also include dog sledding, gold mining, hiking, wildlife viewing, whale watching, and any number of other things found in Alaska. Some cruise lines even offer extended overnight trips by train to inland places like Denali National Park.
And for dining, I have eaten well at the fishing lodges but it will never compare to the endless buffets and fine dining found on a cruise ship. Something about flying the food in to the fish camp just about guarantees that it will never quite compete. Cruise ships are legendary in their reputation for great food.
Cruise ships typically cruise Alaska from May through Mid-September. The most popular months are June, July, and August when the temps are the warmest. If you are looking for a cheaper cruise, try May or September as they are a little bit harder months to book and thus the cruise lines often offer a little bit better deals.
Current cruise prices can be as low as the $600 range for the cheaper rooms and off-peak times and can go as high as the $3000 range for the fancy suites in the peak of the season. Cruises can be a very interesting way to experience Alaska and for some people, it may be the only way that they will ever experience Alaska.
Click on the banner below to see current prices on the Alaskan cruise of your dreams. I, for one, will be trying them out real soon.