Ice Cold Angling – Get out and go ice fishing!
Ice fishing season is in full swing across much of Alaska and we hope you’re making plans to get out and have some fun on the ice in the new year.
If you’ve never been ice fishing and want to give it a try, some of our office loan ice fishing gear free of charge. Check with your local Alaska Department of Fish and Game office to find out if ice fishing gear is available near you.
Be sure to purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp before you head out. Licenses and tags can be purchased in our online store.
2022 is here. We hope this will be a great year for all anglers who fish in Alaska. If you’re setting personal goals, let us suggest you set a goal to fish at least one new place in the state that you’ve never fished before. If you need help locating places or you seek information on anything related to sport fishing, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices across the state. You’ll find a complete contact list for ADF&G office online.
Good luck out there.
We’ll see you on the water.
Give someone the gift of fishing in 2022
It’s never too late to hook someone up with a gift that truly keeps giving all year long – an Alaska sport fishing license! This license can be purchased online from the comfort of your own home, and it is a great way to give a great gift any time of year.
Start by going to the ADF&G online store. You can establish an ADFG profile or sign in as a guest. By creating a profile, your future purchases will be a breeze and you will have access to your purchased license at any time. This makes it easy to replace any license if it is lost or destroyed.
Another option is to fill in the guest information for the person receiving the gift. There is some information you will need to collect to get this personalized gift. Most information can be found on a driver’s license or state ID, so do some investigating before you start. Remember, Alaska residents 18 years and older, and non-residents 16 years and older are required to have a sport fishing license.
Here is the information needed to purchase a license for yourself or as a gift:
- Legal name (first, MI, last)
- Date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Mailing address
- Physical address
- City, State, zip code
- Driver’s license state and number (optional)
- Phone number
- Valid email address
- Alaska Residency (year & month it begin)
Finally, print out the license and give the gift of fishing to someone special. The license will not be valid until it is signed by the person receiving the license.
Every time your favorite angler gets out on the water and has a wonderful fishing experience, they will thank you!
Your purchase of a sport fishing license helps protect and improve sport fisheries in Alaska
The Division of Sport Fish is funded in part through the sale of sport fishing licenses and king salmon stamps. This means when you purchase a sport fishing license or king salmon stamp, the money from that sale goes directly to fund staff working within the Division to protect and improve sport fisheries resources in Alaska.
Sport fish biologists, researchers, and technicians are in the field year-round, monitoring and managing a wide range of fish species, from Alaska’s Southeast Panhandle to the high Arctic to fulfill the mission of the Division of Sport Fish -- to protect and improve the state’s sport fisheries resources.
We use the funds from our license sales to provide the required match for federal funding we receive through the Sport Fish Restoration Act, enabling each license dollar to go further.
The Division of Sport Fish was established in 1951, coinciding with the passage of the Sport Fish Restoration (Dingell-Johnson) Act. The Sport Fish Restoration Act provides Federal aid to all state and territory fish and wildlife agencies for management and restoration of fish species having a material value for sport fishing and recreation. Eligible projects include restoration, conservation, management, and enhancement of sport fish, boating access, and projects enhancing the public’s understanding of water resources and aquatic life.
In the state of Alaska these Sport Fish Restoration funds primarily matched with license dollars, fund most of our management of sport fisheries, research to aid in our management, education and outreach, as well as boating access projects across the state.
When you purchase a sport fishing license, king salmon stamp, fishing equipment, boats or boating equipment, or any other product used to go fishing, your money goes right back into resource conservation. You help keep Alaska’s sport fisheries healthy. And that’s something all anglers can feel good about.
For more information on sport fishing licenses and other licenses offered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, please visit the licenses and permits page.
Whitefish: The Overlooked Species
Humpback and round whitefish are commonly found in lakes and rivers of the Upper Copper/Upper Susitna Management Area (UCUSMA), yet many anglers do not think of targeting them. Whitefish can be taken year-round by rod-and-reel and may also be taken by spear or bow and arrow from October 1 through March 31 in the UCUSMA with a valid sportfishing license. Whitefish are an excellent food fish and are commonly smoked, pickled, or canned. In the UCUSMA there is no limit on whitefish and because of this, sport-caught whitefish may be used as bait–where bait is allowed. Whitefish are an abundant species that serve as an important source of forage for both lake trout and burbot and seasoned anglers argue that there is no better bait to use (if permitted) than fresh whitefish when targeting those species.
Sport fishing for whitefish most often occurs in the open water season during early summer or in early winter through the ice, however they can be caught at all times of the year. Although whitefish are often plentiful, they are arguably one of the more difficult fish species to catch by rod-and-reel. Whitefish tend to be finicky and can often be seen swimming by with complete disregard to your lure and when they do decide to bite, their small, soft mouths pose a challenge for successful hook setting and landing. Using light rods and light line greatly increases strike detectability and chances of hooking them. If targeting whitefish, be sure keep your lure small. A micro or crappie-style jig (think 1/16- or 1/32-ounce heads with ½ to ¾ inch grub or tube bodies), size 0-1 spinners, tiny spoons, , small bead head nymphs and scud imitations flies, or a small hook with a single salmon egg can be effective. In lakes, look for whitefish concentrations near stream inlets, pinch points, or in weedy bays. Although they have mouths pointed slightly downward suggesting they are bottom feeders, whitefish will suspend in the water column and can be seen dimpling on the surface throughout lakes on calm days.
In the UCUSMA, whitefish spearing typically occurs in October prior to ice up as fish begin to migrate towards their spawning grounds. Open water spearing generally takes place in clearwater rivers and streams where anglers wade out in waters typically not exceeding 3 feet in depth. This is best accomplished at night with headlamps and is most successful to enter the water downstream of where you plan to spear and wade upstream. As far as equipment goes, you will want to have a spear with tines that are not spread too wide apart otherwise you run the risk of not impaling the fish but instead sandwiching the fish between the tines. The art of spearing usually entails impaling and pinning fish to the hard river bottom. The pinning part is important because it helps push the spear points further into the fish, which is important since the spear tips continuously dull through the process–especially if you are on gravel. Whitefish spearing can also be accomplished on lakes through the ice however, it is likely that the lake bottom will be softer. If this is the case, the use of a heavy, sharp tined spear may be better to impale fish midwater. It is also recommended you tie a line to your spear shaft so it can be recovered if dropped in the lake, below the ice.
The most common locations to target whitefish with a spear in the UCUSMA includes the Slana River, flowing waters of the Gulkana River drainage, and flowing waters of the Tyone River drainage. For angling, whitefish can be found in lakes of all sizes, but common destinations are Lake Louise, Susitna, Tyone and Paxson Lakes.
Hungry for more cooking videos?
How does a warm bowl of crab macaroni and cheese sound on a cold Alaska winter evening? Pretty good? Well, that is one of the many delicious recipes you’ll find covered in our new cooking video series on our YouTube channel. Not a YouTube fan? Find us on Instagram @wefishak, as we’re featuring the video series on IGTV as well!
In January, we’ll be kicking off with a delicious Shrimp Pad Thai that will please any thai-food fan in the house. We’ll also have a breakfast dish, a Mexican dish, and a pasta dish.
Be sure to subscribe to the channel as we will upload a new cooking video each week! Share your thoughts with us in the comments, or if you make something, be sure to snap a picture and share it to social media using #wefishak.
2022 Statewide Sport Fish Stocking Plan Open for Public Comment
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Sport Fish (Division), is accepting public comment from December 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022, on its 2022 Statewide Stocking Plan for Sport Fisheries.
The Division, with assistance from private non-profit hatchery operators, plans to release approximately 7 million fish annually into the waters of Alaska over the next five years to benefit anglers. The plan outlines the locations, numbers, and size or life stage for each species of fish that are planned for stocking.
"Receiving public input is very important to the Division as we finalize the Statewide Stocking Plan for 2022," Statewide Stocking Coordinator, Andrew Garry said. "The Division commits a significant portion of their annual budget towards stocking fish throughout the state, and hearing from anglers is a critical piece of the fisheries management process."
Only fish reared from the Division’s hatchery facilities and from private non-profit hatcheries that work in cooperation with ADF&G to improve sport fisheries are included in this plan.
The Statewide Stocking Plan is available for review on the Division’s webpage.
Please submit public comments to Andrew Garry by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail:
- William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery
- c/o Andrew Garry
- 941 North Reeve Boulevard
- Anchorage, Alaska, 99501
The public comment deadline is January 31, 2022.
Field to Plate - Recipe of the month
Recipe of the Month – Alaska Halibut Tostada Bites with Pineapple Bacon Jam
Here is another great recipe from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Try this recipe for Alaska Halibut Tostada Bites with Pineapple Bacon Jam from our friends at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
If you have any questions about the Reel Times newsletter, please contact Ryan Ragan at email@example.com