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!
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