Outdoor Alaska: Ice fishing heating up after winter's late arrival

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 5:46 PM AKST
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After a late start to winter in Southcentral Alaska, many lakes are now frozen thick enough to enable safe ice fishing.

"A lot of people don't have boats that can't come out and fish on all parts of the lake. If you're stuck to the shore, guess what - you're not stuck to the shore anymore. You've got this whole lake that you can access by foot or 4-wheeler or if we get some snow, by snow machine," Jason Perrego of Alaska Lakes Guide Service said.

Channel 2 joined Perrego on a trip on Big Lake.

"We always start off shallow holes and we work our way out. Rule of thumb, 10 to 15 minutes fishing a hole if you're marking a fish on electronics or you're not seeing a fish through the hole, move. Because somewhere there's going to be a group of fish that are ready to go, ready to eat," Perrego said.

While fishing Big Lake offers a chance at catching large fish, other lakes in the area are heavily stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that provide great opportunities for children to experience fishing.

ADF&G has a rod loaner program where people with a current fishing license can borrow gear including rods and other essentials like a hand-crank ice auger free of charge.

"You put a little piece of salad shrimp and put it on a hook and drop it down, the kids are going to catch fish, and they're going to catch a lot of fish," Perrego said. "The thing about fishing is it's like a puzzle. For those of us that get a little bit more technical with it like we do with electronics and whatnot, it's a game. What you keep coming back for is no matter how big of a fish you catch, there's always going to be one bigger, so just keep going after it."

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