Alaska is widely known for beautiful scenery, wildlife, and especially fishing! When the summer season comes to an end and the winter snow starts to fall, what’s available for fishing? For the adventurers and avid anglers, ice fishing in Alaska is a sport that will keep your spirits up and reels cranking! Here within, we explore species available, best locations to try and local tips.
Alaska is equipped with several species to target when ice fishing. These species include:
- Northern Pike
- Arctic Char
- Rainbow Trout
- Cutthroat Trout
- Lake Trout
- Arctic Grayling
- Chinook and Coho Salmon
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game have prepared an in depth overview of these species, their feeding patterns, and tips for best success at each here: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-sf/Region2/pdfpubs/icefish.pdf
Don’t forget to always check local regulations on retaining species and legal limits. You can view online via the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.
Ice fishing spots can be located all over Alaska in the winter months. Below are some of the most common ice fishing Alaska spots you can try out for success:
- Lake Louise
- Skilak Lake
- Kenai Lake
- Hidden Lake
Popular lakes for anglers also include:
- Harding Lake
- Birch Lake
- Quartz Lake
Best Anchorage lakes include:
- Beach Lake
- Campbell Point Lake
- Delong Lake
- Mirror Lake
- Sand Lake
- Goose Lake
- Jewel Lake
If you are looking for a guided trip this season, especially if it’s your first time, check out this local guide and explore guided trip options here: https://www.anchorage.net/winter/things-to-do/ice-fishing/.
#1: Prep with the right gear
Nothing is worse than arriving at a fun ice fishing spot and not being properly geared up! There’s one things that stands true for Alaskans and it’s that gear matters, especially in the winter months. Ice fishing requires the following:
- Valid Alaska fishing license
- Ice fishing rod and reel for jigging
- Bait- live bait is most commonly used
- Terminal Tackle: hooks, sinkers, extra line, etc
- Extra Tackle Items: line clippers, pliers, etc
- Ice augur and skimmer
- Sled for toting gear and fish across ice
- Ice fishing shelter/ tent, or a simple bucket or chair will do just fine
- Ice fishing electronics- optional
- Ice cleats- this is something that has saved many from slipping.
For those just trying the sport out- renting equipment or borrowing from a friend or family member is highly recommended! It may take a few outings to gauge the gear that works best for you.
Safety tip: when ice fishing in Alaska, it’s never a bad idea to have a retractable ice pick just in case of an emergency. We also always bring a safety blanket for warmth in case anyone get’s wet as well.
#2: Warm Weather Gear
With ice fishing in Alaska being a winter sport, dressing warm is essential to having success! Layered clothing such as, warm gloves, base layers, outer shell, insulated boots, socks, and warm head gear, is always recommended.
When ice fishing in Alaska, be prepared for the long haul by prepping snacks and drinks for the day! This winter sport will keep you outdoors and amongst friends for the majority of daylight given. Snacks we like to include are listed below:
- Game sticks or jerky
- Cheese and crackers
- Fruit and veggies
- Sandwiches and Chips
And don’t forget the cooler of beverages!
When ice fishing Alaska, it is always important to review local regulations, bag limits, and restrictions. You can review these online, via the local regulations booklets or by visiting a local office location.