Fishing Report: All local lakes are stocked, including one for the first time in nearly a decade

Fishing Report: Fishing Alaska's stocked lakes
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 8:00 AM AKDT
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EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (KTUU) - Whether it’s to stock up the freezer or just a way to spend a summer afternoon, there are many ways — and many places — to fish in Alaska.

Accessibility is one of the many reasons Alaska is a prime fishing state, with many stocked lakes just a short drive away, including Lower Fire Lake in Eagle River with rainbow trout, said Alaska Department of Fish and Game Assistant Area Management Biologist Donald Arthur.

“A little bit over a decade ago, they found out there was northern pike in this lake,” Arthur said. Northern pike is a known invasive species.

“So that we weren’t putting stocked fish into the bellies of northern pike, we opted to discontinue stocking in 2014 and with the recent eradication of northern pike in the fall of 2022, we are now stocking Lower Fire Lake for the first time in nearly a decade.”

Lower Fire Lake joins the hundreds of bodies of water across Alaska stocked by Fish and Game, which can all be tracked on its website.

Fishing in local lakes provides an early introduction to fishing for young anglers and is not a far venture for experienced anglers looking to scratch the fishing itch, Arthur said.

“Driving several hours with family can be a challenge,” he said. “A lot of these lakes are right in the backyards of many residents just here in Anchorage and Eagle River alone.”

Whether midnight fishing at Jewel Lake or casting a lane at Cheney Lake, fishing is always better with a buddy, and that goes for stocking as well.

Fisheries technician Don Bee stocked his first lake in 1973, with his total fish tally in the millions.

“To me, I like putting good healthy fish in lakes,” Bee said after stocking Mirror Lake. “It is a fun job, everyone is glad to see us show up at the lake — it’s kind of like driving an ice cream truck.”

Now 70 years old and nearing retirement, Bee brings a helper bee: his 9-year old granddaughter Thora.

“I enjoy seeing the fish get back into a new home so they can live a happy life and get new eggs for other trout to come.” Thora said, attached to her grandfather’s hip.

Don said getting fish into local lakes is important because summers in Alaska are all about fishing, family, and fun.

“I brought my own kids with me on stocking trips when they were her age, and now that they have kids I bring those kids with me, and it’s all good,” Don added.

Millions of fish are ready to be caught across hundreds of bodies of water in Alaska with the fishing season just getting started.