Kids get a hands-on lesson in ice safety and ethical angling
ANCHORAGE – There are 400 hundred ice-fishing holes on Jewel Lake, more than most people make at any one time.
But for those in charge of the Sport Fish Aquatic Education Program, it’s simply standard procedure.
All the holes were created to help nearly 2,000 elementary school students learn about ice safety and ethical angling.
“A lot of people that live here, you can tell they’ve spent their entire lives here, but they’ve never been fishing before,” said Jay Baumer with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “This is their first time catching a fish and just watching their face light up is awesome.”
Third grader Tyler Tucker’s face is anxious as he hopes to get a bite on his line.
“It would be the first fish I’ve ever caught,” Tucker said.
Although he is trying to be patient, others around him are having more success.
“It looks like it’s a baby king salmon,” said third grader Shelby Brandon while holding up her catch.
Jewel Lake has been stocked with more than 4,300 catchable king salmon and hundreds of rainbow trout.
When the fishing holes are clear, you can see them just like an aquarium.
The event offers hands-on learning about proper harvest and catch and release techniques.
Students are coming from schools across Anchorage to participate.
“Some classes are choosing to be ethical anglers and release those fish so other people can catch them,” Baumer said. “Others are taking them home for dinner.”
Tyler’s time on the ice is winding down and he’s not having much luck.
“I’ve had a lot of fish swim over and I’ve tried just catch them by the belly,” he said.
Tyler is going back to school with out a fish this time, but with more experience and understanding of Alaska sportfishing.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game encourages the public to come out and use the pre-drilled fishing holes after the event ends this weekend. Fishers need to have a current permit.