Outdoor Alaska: Jewel Lake Jamboree offers opportunity to learn ice fishing
This week thousands of local school children have been able to experience the joys of ice fishing through a program with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, but come Saturday anglers of all ages and experience levels will have a chance to get in on the action at the 32nd annual Jewel Lake Jamboree.
"It comes at the heels of this week-long event that the Department of Fish & Game puts on for the school kids to come out and experience ice fishing and get them involved in the sport. So it's nice, they're stocking an extra thousand fish each day," said Dustin Slinker, owner of The Bait Shop and event organizer for the jamboree. "When it comes to this weekend we've got plenty of holes on the lake, plenty of extra fish in the lake, and we really want to get the general public out here to experience ice fishing - to experience what Alaska has to offer in the winter time."
ADF&G will be providing fishing gear for people borrow during the event and The Bait Shack will be providing bait. Other sponsors will be providing door prizes and beverages.
"We want anglers of all ages, all skill levels to come," Slinker said.
For Slinker, organizing the free event pays dividends through spreading a love for fishing.
"Getting people out here, individuals who are new to the state of Alaska, just moving up here maybe from a warmer climate, have never seen snow, never been on the ice, never even thought about ice fishing, seeing their reaction when they come out here," Slinker said. "We get them to hook a fish, and then we hook them as anglers and they're really going to get into the sport."
The event begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Jewel Lake in Anchorage and runs til 4 p.m. Alaska residents 18 years and older will need a valid fishing license, which can be purchased at the event.
ADF&G asks that anyone planning to keep their catch bring a bag or cooler to transport it home because the department will not be providing bags.