Types of Alaska Fish
Alaska Salmon Fishing… Salmon are not leader shy but their tough mouth and sharp gill plates reek havoc on leaders. I like to tie my own tapered leaders with Mason hard monofilament leader material. I start with 35# and taper it down to 15# in about five or six feet. The tip is approximately 2 feet long and is replaced as it wears out. Sometimes the leader is under 3 feet and still catches fish. You can use almost any commercially packaged tippet material in approximately the same strength and cut it down as it wears out. Silver leaders can be lighter, down to 6 # test. There are lots of good king salmon fly patterns. Here are just a few of my favorites: A Clouser minnow or deceiver tied in green with a #1 or 1/0 hook; leeches tied in black or other colors with a #2 hook (articulated leech is great); egg sucking leeches with pink or orange egg; polar shrimp; large egg cluster patterns in pink and/or orange; and I have a few special flies I like to share also. Flies should be tied with lead eyes or wrapped with lead for weight. A few may be tied lighter for slower shallow water that you fish with sink tip lines. Late summer silver salmon like the same flies so if you are scheduled in August or September these fly guidelines are good for you too. Alaska Salmon Fishing Kodiak Island on the Gulf of Alaska is a virtual feed station for predatory fish. Needlefish, candlefish, and herring all congregate here by the millions to spawn, hatch, and grow. They provide an abundance of food for the king salmon who are voraciously feeding in the surrounding ocean all year round. King salmon spend many years in the ocean. Some grow to enormous size. The real big ones though, are only here in the spring because they leave the ocean to run up the rivers to spawn in June. We catch 50 and 60 pounders in June, July, and August but these are not fully mature fish. The big ones, the mature ones, are in our waters in late April and May chasing the large herring that are spawning here. They are the 70 and 80 pounders. Come to our Alaska Fishing Lodge and take a chance on catching a trophy King Salmon. These Kings are not colored fish that act like old bulls when you catch them in the river. They are chrome bright ocean going kings that rip line off the spool like missiles, that sound deep beneath the surface on one run and explode into the air on the next. These fish rush the boat and create slack on even the most experienced ocean fishermen. These big fish are known by many names. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that “The chinook salmon has numerous local names. In Washington and Oregon, chinook salmon are called chinook, while in British Columbia they are called spring salmon. Other names are quinnat, tyee, tule, black mouth, and king.” Whatever you call them, they are exciting to catch and wonderful to eat. To catch your Trophy King Salmon come to the Port Lions Lodge; Alaska’s Premier Fishing Lodge.
Alaska Halibut Fishing… Halibut can be found throughout most of the marine waters of Alaska – as far north as Nome, along the Aleutian Chain, and throughout the waters of the southeastern Alaska panhandle. Halibut can also be found along the continental shelf as far south as southern California, as well as along the coasts of Japan and Russia. The largest concentration of pacific halibut is in the Gulf of Alaska, with most in the Kodiak Island area. Halibut is prized for its delicate sweet flavor, snow-white color and firm flaky meat. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein and minerals, low in sodium, fat and calories and contains a minimum of bones. Halibut are usually on or near the bottom over mud, sand, or gravel banks. Most are caught at depths of 90 to 900 feet, but halibut have been recorded at depths up to 3,600 feet. As halibut mature, they migrate in a clockwise direction in the Gulf of Alaska, countering the drift of eggs and larvae. Halibut tagged in the Bering Sea have been caught as far south as the coast of Oregon, a migration of over 2,000 miles. Halibut also move seasonally between shallow waters and deep waters. Mature fish move to deeper offshore areas in the fall to spawn, and return to nearshore feeding areas in early summer. It’s not yet clear if fish return to the same areas to spawn or feed year after year. Halibut are the largest of all the flatfishes. Some halibut exceed 400 pounds, including the 459 pound state record fish caught during 1996 in Unalaska Bay. Female halibut grow faster and are typically larger than males of the same age. Males rarely reach 100 pounds. Halibut feed on plankton during their first year of life. Young halibut (1-3 years old) feed on euphausiids (small shrimp-like organisms) and small fish. As halibut grow, fish make up a larger part of their diet. Besides pollock, sablefish, cod, and rockfish, large halibut also eat octopus, herring, crabs, clams, and smaller halibut. Pacific Halibut can live for over 5 0 years and can reach weights in excess of 600 pounds. Although the average sport caught Halibut weighs in around 20- 40 pounds bragging rights really begin at 100 pounds and trophy status is achieved at 200 pounds. The current IGFA world record Halibut weighed in at almost 500 pounds. A Halibut of 411 pounds was harvested within 15 minutes of our Kodiak Fishing Lodge last fall. Come to our Fishing Lodge and try your luck.
Alaska Rockfish Fishing… Rockfish are not considered the specialty fish when clients are booking fishing charters in Alaska, but they are very much remembered later due to the excitement they provide on light tackle and the exceptional taste at the table. Rockfish come in two species in our waters. Pelagic and Non-Pelagic. The Pelagic Rockfish most typically caught are Black and Dusky. The Black are frequently called Black Bass although they are not a bass. These fish will be found around rock piles, pinnacles and reefs and are frenzied feeders once we get into them. Many clients with younger children enjoy watching them catch Rockfish although they also enjoy catching them themselves. The Non-Pelagic Rockfish are found in deeper waters and are bottom dwellers. They are frequently caught while targeting Halibut and Lingcod. This species of Rockfish commonly caught include Yellow-Eye Rockfish (frequently called Red Snapper), Quillback, and Copper Rockfish. A recent commercially caught Rockfish in the Bering Sea weighed in at 60 pounds and was estimated to be 95- 110 years old. The Non-Pelagic Rockfish is very protected and in most of our waters only one per person per day is allowed to be retained. This can be a problem as the fish is caught deep and cannot decompress fast enough while being reeled up. This creates a situation where the fish is very difficult to release properly and mortality of released fish is very high. Our crew will be cautious when fishing in an area where these fish are numerous. At times we will actually have to move the boat to prevent over-fishing of this species of fish.
Alaska Lingcod Fishing… The Lingcod is an awesome feeding machine that is actually a member of the Greenling family. Lingcod can live up to 25 years and grow up to 70+ pounds in our waters. We frequently catch Lingcod in the 50+ pound range. When targeting Lingcod we are typically drifting over pinnacles, rock piles and reefs utilizing lead headed jigs with artificial grubs on them. This is definitely a finesse fishing technique because the angler that is not very cautious and allows his lure to touch the bottom will likely spend that entire drift attempting to un-stick the bottom. However, the angler that manages to get close to the bottom without getting stuck to it will very likely be rewarded with a very nice battle that usually ends with a cavernous mouth loaded with rows of very large very sharp teeth coming up toward you. Seeing this fish surfacing toward the boat is awe inspiring and very exciting. Lingcod are extremely voracious and aggressive fish. This can work against them as they will attack anything near them which leads to a fairly good hook up ratio for the angler. This over aggressive nature also leads to frequent hookups of Lingcod while targeting other bottom fish. It is a very fair statement to say that you just never know what you might catch while fishing in the Gulf of Alaska. Lingcod are also extremely good table fare. Many people prefer Lingcod to Halibut although in my opinion it is a very close toss up. Be sure to consult some local Alaskan cookbooks to ensure that you find numerous ways to prepare your Lingcod. Book now to ensure that you get a chance to battle the voracious Lingcod.