Forget about the Florida Keys and Venice, Louisiana. Alaska’s Afognak Island offers the greatest saltwater fishing on the planet (at least in my opinion). So with a little time off of work for the Fourth of July, I made my waydown to Afognak Wilderness Lodge for the first time during the summer months.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for, since I’ve seen Afognak only in the winter. I arrived at the Kodiak airport at 7:30 a.m. and had to rush over to the floatplane dock just in time to jump on a Beaver bound for Seal Bay. For what was supposed to be a relaxing trip, I was moving fast! As soon as we landed, I hauled my bags up the ramp, shoveled down a plate-full of breakfast, grabbed a set of rain gear, and then hit the water in search of halibut and lingcod.
After only about 45 minutes of running in the boat, we were on the fish. We found a spot where the whales were churning up baitfish while hundreds of birds hit the water. The sounder was going nuts, so we dropped our jigs and I started pulling up fish nearly as fast as I could get my jig back down to the bottom. We were slaying not only halibut and lingcod, but sea bass (black rockfish) too! [ Read Full Post ]
The Yukon River stretches 1,980 miles across the Last Frontier and basically drains half of the state’s water. It’s peppered with clear-water sloughs, feeder rivers, and marshes and it’s also home to some of the world’s largest pike.
The biggest challenge of pike fishing the Yukon is just getting to where the fish are. If you don’t have a boat or a floatplane, you can forget about it. The best spots are extremely difficult to reach even if you’re set up. My Yukon pike trip had been long overdue, so last month my cousin and I decided to take my boat up to the Big Muddy of the North to see what we could find. [ Read Full Post ]
Baiting black bears here in interior Alaska poses a few challenges, including river navigation, thick vegetation, and rampaging grizzly bears. But in my opinion, the most formidable challenge to overcome this time of year is the mosquito population. Alaska is infamous for its “state bird,” the mosquito, and I have never seen them so thick as I have when sitting on a black bear bait.
Especially during the wet, early summer months, gangs of bloodthirsty mosquitoes numbering in the thousands wait in the woods, ready to swarm any breathing creature that sets foot in their domain. [ Read Full Post ]
When most people think of flyfishing in Alaska, dreams of huge schools of salmon, or arm-size steelhead come to mind. But there’s another, often overlooked opportunity for flyfishing bliss: arctic grayling. Found in nearly every livable water system in Alaska, grayling are my favorite fish to pursue with a fly rod. [ Read Full Post ]
With most of the hunting I do here in Alaska, trail cameras aren’t really practical. This is simply because many of the locations are too remote for setting up and checking cameras on a regular basis. One form of hunting for which I do employ trail cams, though, is black bear baiting. In my part of interior Alaska, the forest and brush is so thick that the only practical way to hunt black bears is over bait.
It can be done without cameras, but I like to use them because cameras give you a clear picture of what bears are using a bait station, and when they are coming into it. The problem with trail cams, though, is that bears seem to love to chew on them. In the area we hunt, grizzlies in particular have a habit of destroying every trail camera I have ever put out…until now. [ Read Full Post ]
Have you ever had one of those hunting seasons where just about everything went wrong? Well that was black bear season for me this year. If you saw last year’s black bear coverage, well, this year was a bit of a disappointment.
I got my bait out even earlier, fully expecting to have black bears all over it before the grizzlies made it down out of the mountains. I was wrong. Within a couple days, there were at least 5 grizzlies on my baits and no black bears. [ Read Full Post ]
I’ve had several close calls while living and hunting here in Alaska—it kind of comes with the territory—but some of them stand out more than others. This particular incident occurred while I was sitting on one of my black bear baits in interior AK last month. The bait had been getting hit hard by a couple nice black bears, so I was excited to try and get a shot with my recurve bow. [ Read Full Post ]