Pike in the Last Frontier

Written by: Dan Ogren

Thinking of Alaskan fishing brings to mind images of sockeye salmon jumping up Brooks Falls, the powerful brown bear, bald eagles, and snowcapped mountain ranges seemingly touching the skies. What I found on my adventure to Western Alaska near the Yukon River and the Bering Sea was quite different: the land was flat, water was muddy, and no bears were in sight. We landed at a remote airstrip in the town of Aniak, population 500. As a tractor removed my luggage from the turbo prop plane and my shuttle to the float plane arrived, I realized that I was truly in a remote location far from the modern conveniences found in the Lower 48.

 

Alaskan pike 1

Western Alaska is big-pike country, where you can
sight-cast to fish over 40 inches.

photo by Dan Ogren

 

I was in Alaska to fish with Midnight Sun Trophy Fishing Adventures, and my target was pike…big pike. I had caught Esox lucius in Canada, which was fun, but it was nothing like the fishing on this trip turned out: the guides at Midnight Sun do not want you casting at the small fish, which is anything below thirty-six inches. After a few hours of catching average fish, I got the bug to go after real trophies of forty-five inches and above. Having the ability to pick and choose which pike to cast at from the deck of a custom-built skiff spurred an adrenaline rush every time a serious fish was spotted. Everywhere on these rivers looked fishy, but the guides knew exactly where the fish were to be found and with some friendly ribbing made sure you cast to where the fish actually were holding.

 

Alaskan pike 2

The guides at Midnight Sun don’t want anglers to cast to the “little ones”—that is those pike under 36 inches.

photo by Dan Ogren

 

The photos here display a couple of reasons why I’m headed back there this summer.

Dan Ogren is the fishing manager of Orvis Downingtown (PA).

 

Alaskan pike 3

When you’re catching fish like this, you don’t miss the mountain scenery and crystal-clear water.

photo Courtesy Dan Ogren

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