I know my friends and family in Minnesota have been getting slammed by blizzards, wind and cold weather. But, here is Alaska, it here it quite the opposite! Our 30 + degree temperatures have caused travel havoc and even led to classes being cancelled on Friday – all because of the warm weather!
This weekend I turned over a new leaf in my Alaska adventures by digging some holes in the ice and setting some overnight lines, “trot lines”, on the Tanana River. On the river, Burbot (eel pout, slimers, Lota lota, etc. ) are pretty common. They can be captured by leaving baited lines out over night. To be legal you need to hold a current fishing license, have a hook with a gap LARGER than 3/4 of an inch between the shank and tip, leave your name on the sets, and don’t set more hooks than fish you can have in your daily bag limit. I wanted to do quite a ‘production’, so here’s a quick video of different timelapse and shots from the two days. Hopefully it captures how much fun it is to get outside and do this great winter activity!
I went out with a group of friends and we had a blast putting the lines in. Part of the challenge was having a 6 inch hand auger, we quickly upgraded to the chain-saw. With upwards of 3 feet of ice, it was quite a bit of work no matter which way you did it! At the end of the day we were happy to celebrate the sun, pack up our gear, and head for home.
The lines are left out over night and then checked the next day. The fish were not jumping through the hole, but here is my first one through the ice in AK! It was a pretty big one, and I have heard fish this size may be 20 years old!
From the river this fish was converted straight into a fabulous meal of burbot tacos. The fish was pan seared in cayenne, salt, paprika, cumin, and chilli powder. For toppings we had fresh guac, cheese, onions, black beans, sour cream and the roasted poblano peppers. One fish was enough to feed 5 hungry burbot fishers.
If you want to know more about Burbot fishing in AK, just Google it. The Department of Fish and Game has a great informational website on it. You can learn all about strong lines, strong poles and locations to fish. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=anglereducation.burbot