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Thread: Sheefish through the ice

  1. #1
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    Talking Sheefish through the ice

    My son and I just returned from a very fast ice fishing trip in Kotzebue Sound. A quick up date on where in the He&% is Kotzebue Sound will put you about 10 miles north of the booming mega hub of Kotzebue Alaska, 33 warm miles north of the Arctic Circle located in NW Alaska.

    Well, the Sheefish are commonly called the Tarpon of the north because they are great fighters, they are huge (35-55 pounds are common) and they are so good eating! The winter run of the Sheefish put these monsters running through the sound chasing the influx of herring and Tom Cod that find their way up here each spring and timing is everything. The Sheefish are here and gone very quickly and right now they are here and in huge numbers.

    We got out of school about 4:30 pm and had the sno-go packed by 5:00pm, about 10 miles of very rough sea ice found us near the mouth of the Noatak River. Now the only thing between us and the fish was about 5 feet of sea ice, now cones the ice auger!
    Our total time with 1 hook in the water was about 4 minutes when Gavin, my 11 year old had his first Sheefish hooked and the 7 inch hole was too small to slide it out and this can only mean 1 thing, it’s a big one! It took he a little work but we forced the fish through the hole and # 1 was about 40 inches and a easy 38-40 pounds. This is no joke but with in ½ of an hour of fishing we had 11 fish on the sea ice and the average wt. was around 40 pounds each! Lets do some math…40 pounds x 11 fish = Crap that’s a lot of fish!

    The best part of this story was the dinner we had when we got home! Sheefish is great any way you cook them and we have plenty of fish to share with our friends to boot!

    I am including some pics and just to let you know these monsters are a lot more fun in the summer time! Just think about a good rod and reel in your hands with lets see… 20 pound test and BAM! The best summer sheefishing is August in the upper Kobuk and Selawik Rivers and you can count on 15-30 fish a day with most well over 30 pounds. Last summer I outfitted a group of guys from back east who had heard about these monsters and they spent 6 days chasing mongos in the upper Kobuk. Between the 3 of them they landed over 100 fish and the 3 largest were all over 45 pounds and that is all on a spinning set up! Too much fun!


    Enjoy the pics guys!

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotzebue, Ak
    www.northwestalaska.com
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  2. #2

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    Walt,

    Great pictures. I couldn't help but notice another snowmachine in the distance. Are there a lot of others out there ice fishing with you?

  3. #3
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    Default Retirement dream

    This is tops on my list to do when I retire. I want to fish them thru the ice and catch a big one rod and reel. I have caught smaller ones on the Koyukuk, but maybe someday, a BIG one. Awesome pics!

  4. #4
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtm9 View Post
    This is tops on my list to do when I retire. I want to fish them thru the ice and catch a big one rod and reel. I have caught smaller ones on the Koyukuk, but maybe someday, a BIG one. Awesome pics!
    Don't wait until you retire. I have had too many freinds that have said the same thing only to keel over before they get the chance.
    Live for today because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

  5. #5
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    Smile On the ice

    Quote Originally Posted by tcman View Post
    Walt,

    Great pictures. I couldn't help but notice another snowmachine in the distance. Are there a lot of others out there ice fishing with you?

    There were about 3 other groups out last night. It was windy and kind of cold. My hands got wet pulling the fish through the ice and I was very cold by the time I got home. On Sunday I was coming back from my cabin, which is up the Little Noatak River, and there were at least a 100 people out fishing. Sheefish are funny animals. When they are here (ice) you need to go fishing because they leave when the herring leave and they always forget to let us know when they are leaving!

    Most years we have 2-3 shots at then as they move back and forth.

    2 summers ago I was heading up the Noatak, about the same spot and there were hundreds of 15-20 pounders leaping out of the water. We threw anchor and nailed them on fly rods and spinning gear for about an hour and then they were gone! Nothing like hitting a 15 pound "Baby" Sheefish on a 6 wt. spinning set up and its even better with a large Caddis Fly! Snapped a lot of rigs off but it is a blast landing a big fish of small tackle!

    Summer time is the best during the span. I
    t is very intense fishing!


    Walt
    www.northwestalaska.com

  6. #6
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    Default

    You did well, and somuch more ahead of us to look forward to, this Spring.

    We liketo slow dry them in the Spring cold and sun.

    See ya out there.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Nice fish man...

    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska View Post

    Sheefish is great any way you cook them and we have plenty of fish to share with our friends to boot!

    www.northwestalaska.com

    Man, you said it. Some of my best memories in Kotz were eating shee out of the frydaddy at the fire department. We had went out that day in early April and caught them. Quite an experience for a guy from the south. Talked to Jonathan a while back and he is excited about the float trip for shee you are helping him plan for this coming August. I have got to get up there for them myself soon. But the dolly fishing is so good up there too

    August shee on the Kobuk, trophy dollies in Sept on lower Noatak tribs....

    Decisions, decisions...
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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