The snow has been pretty horrible this year in Anchorage, but the ice has been nice.

With the weather heating up recently the fish have really started to bite at local lakes. The snow is disappearing quickly, but so far the ice on lakes is holding strong.

“Right now we have 20 inches of ice out here. It’s very safe to walk on and more than safe to fish on,” said Ryan Ragan, the information officer for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Sport Fishing Division.

I’m venturing out on the ice at Sand Lake to see if I can reel in a fish.

“Right here at Sand Lake we stock arctic char, arctic grayling, rainbow trout, and landlocked chinook salmon or land locked king salmon,” Ragan said.

We fire up the auger and start drilling holes in the ice. Shane Hertzog, the program technician with the Sport Fishing Division, suggests drilling a grid to help find the fish.

“I’ll just go from hole to hole to figure out where most of the action is at,” Hertzog said.

We also brought along a fish finder and camera to make sure we don’t go home empty handed.

Hertzog and Ragan say now is the time the fish begin coming back to life.

“I’ll come here in March and you can’t even get to the bottom. It’s that good. It’s just due to the increase in sunlight,” said Hertzog.

It doesn’t take long before we start bringing in the goods.

“We put a lot of kings in the local lakes and they tend to be fairly aggressive and they’re a lot of fun to catch,” Ragan said.

Today is a pretty good day of fishing, but it’s not always this easy. It’s that cat and mouse game of finding the fish that keeps Ragan coming back day after day.

“It’s a challenge. I like that about it. There’s always something new to learn. Always trying to pattern the fish to learn the behaviors. What’s going to work, what doesn’t work,” Ragan explained. “So it’s a challenging sport and I like a challenge, but it’s also very rewarding.”

It’s especially rewarding when the last cast of the day turns out to be the catch of the day.

The Department of Fish and Game has more information on stocked lakes in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley on their website.

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