ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - While Alaska's vast opportunity for sportfishing lures many anglers to the state, the number of different fishing options, techniques and regulations can be overwhelming for someone just getting into fishing.
If you're in that boat, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a wealth of information that's free for the public.
"Our staff in the information center, we're all anglers," Ryan Ragan, program coordinator for the ADF&G Division of Sportfish said. "We fish extensively here. We know all these fisheries like the back of our hand and we're really there to divulge the information that we know. We don't hold secrets -- some of us don't hold secrets. We really just want to make sure that people are out there having a great time on the water."
Reagan says that the first step in a fishing excursion is checking the regulations for where you will be fishing.
"There is a little bit of a learning curve. Don't get overwhelmed," Ragan said. "If you're new to the game, you've never done this before, start small. Go to a stocked lake, get a bobber, get some of those single salmon eggs and guaranteed you're going to have an opportunity at catching a fish, and if that's a goal, start there. You can always work your way up to more complicated fisheries such as king salmon fisheries, sockeye fisheries. They're available to you, and if you want to go out and hammer them out, go fish."
Several ADF&G offices run a rod loaner program, which lends fishing gear to anglers for free. Due to COVID-19, that program is on hold, but Ragan says it will be back up and running when it is safe to do so.
For young anglers, youth-only fisheries give kids 15-years-old and younger a good chance to hook a king salmon.
"So there are youth fisheries scattered throughout Southcentral Alaska. There's one going on currently in Seward, there's one Saturday at Campbell Creek, there was one last week at Ship Creek, and there's often one down in Homer at the Nick Dudiak fishing lagoon," Ragan said.
The department has produced dozens of how-to videos ranging from tying basic fishing knots to king salmon fishing 101 which are available on its YouTube channel.
You can find those videos, and more information at www.wefishak.alaska.gov.
Copyright 2020 KTUU. All Rights Reserved.