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Alaska: an angler's adventure.

Got a boat and need a place to drop it in?

Here's a list of Alaska sport ports, narrowed to 80 from the many thousands of possible "fishing holes," no matter how remote, that are accessible to any angler.

Because reaching the desired destination may not always be an easy task, fishermen in Alaska have gone to great lengths to land that prize-winning salmon. It isn't uncommon for some of the more hardy trophy hunters to fly in on float planes to spots that may yield that king-size fish.

Most fishermen, however, just want a place where they can drive out for a day or two and put their boats in the water without too much work. So, once you are in the specific region outlined below, these 80 ports can all be reached by car, and each offers some kind of facility for boat launching.

To make it easier to choose your destination, this listing includes: what type of fish can be found; what type launch site (lake, river, etc.); and for those not towing a boat with an R.V., what kind of lodging is available. To give more information, the list includes telephone numbers for information centers in each area. You'll also find that local Department of Fish and Game personnel are always happy to answer any questions.

Southeast

Southeast Alaska, from Ketchikan to Haines, is one of the world's hot-beds of fishing activity. Locals say that fish run so thick down here that instead of floating on top of the water, your boat may be supported by thousands of salmon trying to reach their birth place. In fact, the salmon are so thick during spawning season that you could probably cross some streams using the fish as stepping stones.

Anchorage/Matsu

Although the Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna region is home to the majority of the state's population, the number of ports open to recreational fishermen is limited. The Anchorage area sports several sparkling creeks that offer great fishing from the banks, but are too small or too shallow for boats.

Lake fishing in Anchorage/MatSu offers a relaxing change from the "combat fishing" tactics wielded in a few of the local streams. Stocked with hearty rainbow trout and grayling, these lakes are enough to whet any angler's appetite for action.

If the serene surroundings of lake fishing are not enough for the outdoor enthusiast, bring along jet skis or hook up the tow rope and get out the water skis. There's room enough on area waterways for everyone.

Prince William Sound

The waters of Prince William Sound were made famous by the oil spill of 1989, but are also known for the abundance of several species of northern fish. Anglers can expect to catch salmon, halibut and trout while enjoying the majestic scenery throughout the spacious waters of the Sound.

The fish are so hyped up that they have been known to strand themselves on the dock or land in smaller boats as they jump out of the water to compact their eggs.

Kenai Peninsula

One of the most popular fishing attractions in Alaska is the Kenai Peninsula. It is also where the uniquely Alaskan term "combat fishing" originated. When the tide brings in the next thrall of salmon, fresh from Cook Inlet, or from Prince William Sound if you are in Seward, a wave of human hopefuls line the banks of local creeks and rivers, boats are launched and lines are readied.

Anglers then move in. Some stay on the bank, but others wade waist high in the rushing streams to wage their wars, not only against the fish, but against the person to their right, and the person to their left, and that guy out there in his 12-foot skiff, pulling the fish in every five seconds.

Can you blame these warriors? The Kenai and Seward areas are home to four different kinds of salmon, steelheads and rainbow trout.

Tanana

From the Bering Sea and the Yukon River, the Tanana River unfolds, supplying the Interior with some of the best trout and whitefish in the state.

Area lakes also are stocked to the gills with sheefish, grayling, burbot and northern pike. Lake fish are known for their strong wills when hooked and for their tender taste in the frying pan, smothered with onions and pepper, cooked over hot coals.

River fishing in the Interior is conducted at a slower pace than in some other regions of Alaska, but splendid views and flora and fauna abound. When the fish aren't biting, tip your hat back and keep your eyes open -- you never know what you might see.

Bristol Bay/Kodiak

Bristol Bay region fishing guide Joe Polanco says that in this area, a fisherman can catch and release the state limit of fish three times over in a day -- that is, if you can stay far enough from the local bears.

When a businessman from Hong Kong wanted to see Alaska up close, Polanco suggested that they combine a sightseeing trip with a fishing expedition in Lake Clark and King Salmon.

After a picturesque flight from Anchorage, Polanco's group geared up for an afternoon of action. It turned out that the bears had the same idea.

Now if a bear wants to have lunch and you are fishing at its table, excuse yourself and look for another spot further from the kitchen (the falls). The main course on this trip included 8-pound to 10-pound rainbow trout on one end of the river and vaulting red salmon at the falls.

At the next stop, Kukaklek Lake, the red salmon swarmed through the outlet where the group fished. The man from Hong Kong caught and released salmon for nearly five hours.

Arctic, Yukon, Kuskokwim

Don't be put off because the Arctic, Yukon and Kuskokwim region is the most undeveloped -- and untamed -- part of Alaska. If spending some time away from civilization sounds attractive, then the northwest corner of the state could be the place for you.

Once you've launched your boat, you'll find no shortage of fish to catch. Many of the rivers and streams, direct tributaries of the Norton Sound and the Bering Sea, carry lots of salmon, as well as Dolly Varden and grayling further inland.

The Alaska Sport Fishing Guide says that although access to many of this region's best fishing areas is difficult, the rewards are well worth the effort.
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Title Annotation:Alaska's Sports Ports Guide
Author:Berger, Michael
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Words:1065
Previous Article:Rocky roads ahead.
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