Good Anglers Never Hibernate!
Yeah it's Alaska and of course winter in the North Country usually means lots of ice and snow and plenty of dust collecting on the fishing gear until spring thaw in early May. Yet innovative anglers that just gotta scratch that itch know there are some open waters that can offer a fishing trip even in the dead of winter.
One drainage that remains open during the winter is the Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula. The upper river between Kenai Lake and Skilak Lake rarely gets more than a little shoreline ice due to its warm temperature flowing out of the lake and its velocity. One other portion of the Kenai River that remains open all winter is a stretch at the outlet of Skilak Lake that extends many miles downstream. By March on a good year the weather is already tolerable enough to strap on the snowshoes, grab your rod and make a trek cross-country to wet a line for pre-spawn rainbows.
Most fish remain in the lake until just prior to their spawning activities so fishing can be tough and challenging to say the least. But for those dedicated anglers like Mark Stephens a single fish can be reward enough....and provide bragging rights back at work about who caught the first fish of the season.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Hanson
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