Your Alaskan Fishing Catch
Fishing in Alaska has become a very popular destination for the modern day angler. The State of Alaska says that it has 500,000 fishermen and women visit their state every year in pursuit of Alaska’s prized river and ocean bounty. These fishermen come from all over the United States and even from all over the world. It doesn’t matter where they come from, the all have one thing on their mind… the excellent sport that comes from catching Alaska’s fish.
The majority come chasing after salmon and halibut but there are also many who have found a favorite in some of Alaska’s “lesser known ” species.
Alaska boasts record numbers of salmon caught. There are five major species of salmon found and caught in Alaska. They are:
- King or Chinook Salmon
- Silver or Coho Salmon
- Sockeye or Red Salmon
- Pink or Humpy Salmon
- Chum or Dog Salmon
These fish provide a great thrill for any angler. They also provide a great healthy meal for all who are able to fill their cooler or freezer with this tasty meat.
Alaska’s halibut fishing also is a great feat to have mastered. There is a great excitement in setting the hook on one of these monsters of the deep. It truly is a lot of work to bring one of these “barndoor” monsters up from 400 feet deep only to have it run out, overheat your reel, and make you start all over again. One must have great arm and back muscles to land one of these prizes. Imagine a fish that weighs as much as you do, hooked in his own back yard and fighting you on his own turf.
There are fewer people who know about some of the lesser known species but some of which are just as fun to catch and just as good to eat. Pollock is a major export from Alaska. It is fast becoming one of the most commonly used fish in many of the processed fish products but it also can be a great treat battered and fried in your favorite beer batter and served along with French fries or coleslaw. There are many fishermen who go to Alaska targeting the black rockfish and yellow-eyed rockfish that lurk in the depths of Alaska’s oceans. They, also, are real treat added to any menu. Lingcod are another species that are being caught quite often by anglers. In the past they were mostly caught on accident by fisherman after halibut but more and more, ocean anglers are targeting these tasty prizes. It seems that if you catch one, you can drop again in the same spot and catch several more. They fight pretty well and make a very tasty fillet in your cooler.
We have all seen the episodes of Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel and so we all know that Alaska is the place to go for crab but also due to the TV show, we may have the idea that we could never catch these crab ourselves. In fact, the TV show deals with commercial crabbing which has very different rules and needs than the average sportsman’s variety of crabbing. You and I aren’t trying to fill a ship with crab, we just want a few. Crabs are caught in crab pots, little cages with bait inside. The crab pot is dropped to the bottom with a rope and a buoy to mark its location. It is typically left overnight and then pulled to the surface by the fisherman the next day. The crabs are then extracted.
Similarly, shrimp and prawns are caught in a baited pot. I am amazed at the size of the shellfish that I have seen brought to the surface in these little pots. You have never eaten a better shrimp than these hand-sized little morsels cooked up fresh.
There are many species of the trout family including steelhead, Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, etc. that are also commonly fished from Alaska’s waters. All are great fighters and all make for good eating.
This is just a sampling of what Alaska has to offer. It is well worth making an excursion to give it a try.