The lakes of South-central Alaska are mostly frozen by mid-November and early December, and that’s a good thing if you are looking to do some fishing. Don’t be fooled by the smooth, cold, solid surface of Alaskan bodies of water: the fish are down there all the same and just waiting to test your jig and bait.
As we all know, if there was a sport that was the official state indulgence in Alaska, you’d be hard pressed not to say fishing first. In the winter months, it’s a great excuse to get outside with the family. And one of the great aspects of ice fishing is that it doesn’t require any level of mastery or specialized technique to bring home some dinner.
With more than 180 lakes in Southcentral Alaska stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, there’s plenty to go around and 30 of these lakes are within the Anchorage area. You’ll find rainbows, grayling, arctic char and lake trout remaining from the summer stock programs. If that isn’t enticing enough, around a dozen Anchorage area lakes are stocked with Chinook salmon just in time for winter fishing.
Lake ice needs to be at least 6 inches thick to walk across so be careful and test areas near shore first and measure as you go with a steel bar. It gets cold out there too so wear several warm layers and pay special attention to your footwear since the ice is very cold and you’ll be standing on it for extended periods of time.
Instructions are simple: drill a hole using a gas-powered or hand-cranked auger, set your bait with cocktail shrimp, canned clams, corn or salmon eggs under bobbers, and use a 5-gallon bucket as a seat and as a way to bring home something good to eat tonight!
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