Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fishing in Alaska

© Thomas C. Kline, Jr. / Alaska Stock

Alaska is a large state but relatively unpopulated compared to other states in the lower 48. However, when it comes to fishing, every true angler wants to come to Alaska. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including the most pristine beautiful areas for a dream fishing experience. To find more pictures of Alaska fishing photos, visit our search page.
Perhaps the most famous two words in Alaska are “fish on!” It’s not just a call out to warn fellow fishermen that you just hooked a salmon and are going to need some space, but it’s a sort of “bragging right.” In either case, the fight is on to land the big one.

Alaska is home to many types of Salmon including the Sockeye (Red), Chinook (King), Coho (Silver), Chum and Pink (Humpy). In a large state like Alaska, it’s not surprising that the Salmon can range in size from just a few pounds to over 100 lbs for the big King. The King is the State Fish and the largest of the Pacific salmon species. During migration to their spawning home, King Salmon may travel close to 2,000 miles in a 60-day period. Each female can deposit up to 14,000 eggs and the juvenile fish, smolt, will remain in fresh water for most of their first year until they finally make their migration to the ocean.

Commercial Fishing is an important industry for Alaska - the average harvest for the 1990's was about 185 million salmon. However, the state government maintains a tight control on the amount of wild salmon that are allowed to “escape” each year in order to maintain sufficient numbers for future years.

The renowned Kenai Peninsula and its Kenai River and Russian river are some of the richest water for Salmon fishing, but being prepared for some “combat fishing” is mandatory. It’s not about the solitude here - only getting the fish. Stake your spot on the bank and hope you hook one of the thousands of fish that pass by every year.

Some of the most fun (and most profitable) fishing can be experienced during derbies. Many cities throughout Alaska host derbies including Valdez, Seward, Homer, and Anchorage. By purchasing a ticket, the lucky fisherman who bags the biggest fish takes home not only the fish but the derby money as well! “Tagged” fish can also earn the lucky fisherman prizes as well.

But it’s not just Salmon that will get you the big money. Homer’s Halibut Derby hosts the largest purse. The winner in 2003 pocketed over $46,000! Halibut fishing provides the angler the chance to do some real ocean fishing for a fish that can be in excess of 400 pounds. The more typical size is in the 80-100 pounds, but what they lack in size, they certainly make for in taste and tenderness. Halibut are bottom-feeding fish, and the experts say that the trick is to keep your hook on the bottom of the ocean. Just before the tide begins to turn (slack tide), there is minimal current to disturb your hook and bait, so it is by far one of the best times for fishing.

Salmon and Halibut fishing get all of the glory, but for the pristine remote Alaskan fishing experience, many opt to get away from the crowds to remote stream or lake fishing. The fish may be smaller, but no less thrilling. Grayling, Trout, Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, and landlocked Salmon are the varieties commonly found in the lakes and streams. The Rainbow Trout is one of the most sought after fish my anglers. Known for its strong fight, the Rainbow can be a challenge to land. Another highly prized fish is the Dolly Varden…this time for its quality of taste and texture. The Dolly Varden can grow up to 22 inches and up to 4 lbs. Dolly Vardens migrate from lake locations sea locations. However, only about 50% of males survive due to the rough migration pattern and fighting with other males.

There is no doubt the value that Alaska’s fish contribute to a variety of industries in Alaska….tourism and commercial fishing to name a few. However, ask anyone who has hauled in their first King or posed with their Halibut, it’s not the about the dollars and cents of the industry as much as the experience.

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