Sheefish, Tarpon of the North!
I wanted to take a few seconds to introduce you avid fisherman to one of our species that we have in NW Alaska and it is tough to find elsewhere. Almost everyone knows that we have the best Char fishing in the state and if you’re interested in a shot at the state record well we are your best jump off spot. I outfit more and more Char fisherman each year and very few go home with out plenty of stories of hooking lots of hard fighting char.
About 3 years ago I started getting a few calls about our Sheefish and in the past 3 years the number of guys who are interested in chasing Sheefish has increased. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of hooking a Sheefish let me fill you in on what they are. The Sheefish is called the Tarpon of the North and that is for good reason. We catch them in the 35-50 pound range often. Anything that is less than 30 pounds is tossed back as they are small by Sheefish standards. The Sheefish is common to the Kobuk Drainage and spawn in 3 major tributaries of the Kobuk usually in mid August. Most of the guys who go after them float fish for them and will cover about 40 miles of river in a average week and will catch between 40 -50 fish each in that weeks trip. Sheefish hit like a silver salmon on steroids and will simply rip the rod out of your hands. It takes 10-15 minutes to land a big one and having a light drag and a stiff rod is the key. They like to hit large spoons and the bigger the better. I use 30 pound spider wire but any good strong monofilament will work. They have no teeth but rather a large bucket shaped mouth much like a large mouth bass just bigger.
I know that many of you will think I am spinning a huge fish story but the Sheefish is the true unknown sport fish of the Arctic. Very few guys will have the chance to chase these giants but I would like to invite you to consider a Sheefishing trip to NW Alaska. If you’re interested in learning more about Sheefishing trips please drop me a line and if you’re just interested in fishing for boring old Arctic Char well we do that to.
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Caught my first one this past summer. We boated two and had one that knock my bait two feet out of the water. I actually heard it hit the bait 12 feet from the boat. It was pretty cool.
Sound like a blast to catch but are they tasty??
I love them-anyway they are prepared. Some compare/prefer them to halibut as the meat is white and firm.