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Winter Fishing in Alaska

Alaska is a state known throughout the world for its rich natural resources. Some of the state’s most famous and sought-after exports are drawn from its waters. Large, bountiful salmon and other types of fish are pulled from the clean, pristine rivers, lakes and seas of the Last Frontier State.

Many people wrongly assume, however, that Alaska’s fishing season ends when the winter arrives. Due in large part to the shorter days, icy conditions and generally unpredictable weather, commercial fishing in Alaska does tend to lull in the winter months. Recreational fishing, however, continues to be a popular activity throughout the year, both out in the unfrozen waters of the Cook Inlet and oceanic waterways as well as ice fishing on frozen bays and lakes.

If you’re thinking about joining a winter fishing expedition in Alaska, there are a number of things that you should know about ice fishing that can help you make the most of your time out on the ice and ensure that you have a fun memorable experience.

  • Research the depth: Fish are active at specific depths while the water is frozen. Different species prefer to stay at different depths. Determine which type of fish you want to catch, and then research the depth at which that fish is likely to spend the winter. Doing so can help you save time and make the most of your ice fishing expedition.
  • Cover the hole: Depending on the type of fish that you’re after, it may be advisable to cover your ice fishing hole with ice shavings. This can reduce the amount of light that filters down through the hole, and make the fish more likely to travel toward your bait. This is especially important when fishing in shallow water.
  • Move slowly: During the wintertime, fish try to expend as little energy as possible. This means that they move sluggishly and avoid chasing after prey. Moving your bait or lure too quickly could make the fish give up on their chase. Always remember that when it comes to ice fishing, manipulating the lure slowly and steadily will reap better results.
  • Spread chum: While fish are unlikely to actively hunt during the winter season, spreading some chum may work well at encouraging smaller fish to travel to the surface. Larger predators are attracted to feeding frenzies, so spreading chum could be a great way to attract a number of different types of fish to your hole, depending on what you’re trying to catch.
  • Stay warm: Most ice fishing deaths aren’t caused by drowning—they’re the result of hypothermia. It’s important to stay safe and warm, and go to a heated space immediately if you begin experiencing discomfort or any hypothermia symptoms. It’s also advisable to travel with a first-aid specialist who knows about hypothermia care.

For more than 20 years, Phantom Tri-River Charters has been the best source of excitement for anyone looking to join in on a fishing expedition in Alaska. To learn more about our year-round sojourns, contact us today.