I’ve been in the “Lower 48” most of the winter, exhibiting at trade shows and gearing up my Alaska lodge and boats for the 2013 fishing season.
Today I paid a visit to SPORTCO and the Outdoor Emporium. While I was shopping I started a conversation with one of the store managers. As we spoke about fishing in Alaska, I realized that one of the misconceptions about fishing near a populated area such as Ketchikan, is that the local area is fished out. I guess that may be true for some larger coastal cities in other states where habitat has been destroyed but not in Ketchikan Alaska.
Here’s the real story-
First of all, Ketchikan only has a population of about 12,000 people and there are millions upon billions of salmon and halibut migrating through our waters annually. Commercial fishing and sport fishing thrive in Ketchikan, which is why it is known as the salmon capitol of the world. Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game managers do a great job of monitoring fish catches every year to allow for escapement of broodstock to keep fish populations thriving year after year.
The fact is that commercial fisherman take way more salmon, bottom fish and halibut than sportsmen and they tend to fish where the fish are. Sometimes that’s right close to Ketchikan, Sitka or Petersburg and sometimes it’s way out at No Where Point . The immediate areas around Ketchikan are usually not open to commercial fishing and often times that’s where the very best fishing is. I typically run my boat a half hour to a full hour from my lodge to do my fishing and usually there won’t be but a few boats in sight while I’m knocking them dead.
The moral of the story is, don’t fall for – “the fishing is fished out near towns” line. That’s just a marketing technique that remote lodges like to use to get you to come to their lodge… and some of those remote lodges have to run further than me to catch their fish.