Copper River Record April 12, 2018
By Robin Mayo
Like many outdoor pursuits, Ice Fishing can be a little intimidating for a novice. The lingo seems a teensy bit silly, with pop-ups, jigging poles, and shanties. To those who think of fishing as a lazy summer pursuit, the weather can be daunting. And of course, there is the fact that a very thick layer of ice, possibly topped with a blanket of snow, is between you and the fish.
If you are curious about ice fishing but not quite sure how to get started, we hope you will come join us this Saturday for the 8th Annual WISE/BLM Family Ice Fishing Day. There will be lots of holes already drilled, gear and bait ready to go, and fishing enthusiasts to share their knowledge. We will also have a camera and viewers to catch a glimpse of the mysterious world under the ice. The BLM crew is planning a special surprise, the nature of which we won’t disclose here in case it doesn’t work as planned.
The event will be on Saturday, April 7th, from 10am to 3pm at Silver Lake, near mile 11 of the McCarthy Road. As of this writing, DOT was working on grading the road, but expect mud, ice, and possibly falling rocks along the bluff. Parking is along the McCarthy Road, then you will need to be prepared to walk down to the lake. A small sled is useful to help haul your gear and tired kids. There is quite a bit of snow and overflow water on the lake, so waterproof boots and ice cleats are recommended. You will also want to bring chairs, warm clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Although the April feels warm, ice fishing is less active, and that wind can be chilly.
As well having fishing gear to loan and bait, we will have chili, soup, cocoa, and coffee. There will be a fire pit on the ice for roasting hot dogs and s’mores. There is no admission charge, but donations are encouraged to help pay for food, bait, and equipment. Volunteers are also welcome, if you’d like to help out please call the WISE office at (907) 822-3575.
At 3 pm, we will have prizes for youth, including cool schwag donated by local business TuffKids Outdoors, and some shiny new ice fishing combos ready to go. After fishing with us, you can plan to continue the outing in Chitina, where Uncle Tom’s Tavern will have a fishing derby, prizes, and a pig roast in the evening.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game stocked Silver Lake last summer with thousands of 2” to 3” Rainbow Trout, and we’ve been hearing reports of some great fishing this spring. One fish was rumored to be 30 inches and 8 pounds, but perhaps that was just a fish tale. No matter how you measure it, ice fishing is a whole lot of fun, and something like a miracle when a bright shiny fish takes your bait and emerges into the sunlight.
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.