The state of Alaska is emblematic of pristine waters, well-managed fisheries, and the evolution of modern fisheries, large and small, as well as fishermen’s struggle to eke out an existence in one of the world’s most challenging maritime environments.
Reflections of a carnivore
Casting creeks on the Alaska Peninsula
Founders of a community supported fishery After Micah Hahn and Ben Tietge moved to Alaska in summer 2017, Tietge bought a boat and started commercial fishing in the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound. 2019 was their second season operating the Copper Valley Fish Collective, which allows consumers to cut out the middle man and purchase their fish directly from Hahn and Tietge. Buyers can select at the beginning of the season how many pounds of salmon they want, essentially reserving a portion of the catch, which is then shipped at the end of the season. ~as told to and edited by Alexander Deedy Alaska: Can we start with a little background on yourselves? MH: I’ll start. We moved up to Alaska in the summer of 2017. Ben had been salmon fishing before then, but he decided he wanted to make it his profession. I have a background in…
By Steven Merritt “Seventy-five fish.” The early-morning text needed no more explanation. I envisioned my friend Mike in his garage with coolers full of sockeye salmon, a pot of coffee, a fillet knife and the satisfaction of putting a winter’s worth of enjoyment in the freezer. Mike’s success dipnetting with a colleague on the Copper River dovetails nicely with my time behind the iMac these days. The crew at Alaska magazine is working on the September issue—our annual food edition—which celebrates the importance of Alaskans’ connection with the land and water. And for my family, early July means our dipnetting rite of summer on the Kenai River is close at hand. Sockeye salmon begin arriving in decent numbers there by mid-month, with the fishery’s peak usually coming a week or so later. A family dipnetting haul from the Kenai River puts wild salmon on the menu year-round. It’s a perk…
Anglers line the shore of Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage. Courtesy Ken Graham/Visit Anchorage The thought of king salmon fishing usually conjures images of casting off the shore of a remote river, or trolling behind a boat surrounded by wilderness. But in Alaska, you don’t need to travel any farther than downtown Anchorage, the state’s largest metropolis, to catch a king. Just a few blocks from downtown, with high rises on the horizon, anglers cast a line from the shores of Ship Creek to catch a salmon. Local outfitters rent gear and sell licenses to travelers. Even for those who don’t enjoy the sport, it’s fun to take a short walk from downtown Anchorage to watch the combat fishing. Every summer, the city of Anchorage celebrates with the annual Slam’n Salm’n Festival. It’s hosted by The Bait Shack and benefits local nonprofit organizations. Anyone who enters the derby has a…
Fish are the bonus
I’VE FISHED ATLANTIC SALMON IN RUSSIA, bonefish and permit in the Bahamas and Belize, and I’ve chased tarpon—for up to 30 days straight—while bumming around the Florida Keys.
A Kenai River king salmon tale
[by Kurt Jacobson]
WHEN I MOVED TO THE KENAI PENINSULA IN 1984, I heard it took an average of 40 hours to catch a Kenai king salmon. That is assuming you do most things correctly while fishing for the monster-sized prize of the Kenai.
Actor Henry Winkler talks fly fishing
[by Jim Dobson]
AN ACCOMPLISHED SPORTSMAN WHO METICULOUSLY RECORDS THE MEASUREMENTS OF EVERY FISH HE HOOKS, actor Henry Winkler has learned that his seasonal fly fishing trips on American rivers, including in Alaska, are not just about catching trout.
Exploring the appeal of Alaska’s strangest gamefish
[by E. Donnall Thomas Jr.]
You don’t need to travel far across Sitka Sound before you begin to fall under the spell of true maritime wilderness—Baranof Island’s convoluted outer shoreline unspools a long way from civilization. Many places in Alaska offer easier opportunities to catch fish, but few appeal more directly to the heart of the wilderness angler.