Your Next Bucket List Trip: Ice Fishing in Alaska

By Debbie Hanson

Jan 09, 2020

Are you an angler with an extensive bucket list? You better add  ice fishing in Alaska. Learn about Alaska ice fishing and why it should be your next big adventure.

When it comes to bucket lists, I believe wholeheartedly that anglers possess the longest lists of all! How could that be, you wonder? Consider that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. If an angler were to spend their life fishing around the world, they would never be able to catch every species known to man or fish every water body ever formed. This compelling thought is what drives anglers of all skill levels to destinations near and far in search of a new challenge. Enter: Ice Fishing in Alaska, “The Last Frontier.”

World-class salmon fisheries. Remote lodges. Rich culture. The allure of Alaskan adventure is unmatched by any other fishing destination in the United States. I once heard of ice fishing in Alaska referred to as “the great equalizer among fishermen.” Meaning the playing field is leveled. No boat is needed and all are welcome to venture out on a frozen lake, drill a hole, kick back, and wait for the bite.

You can pursue dozens of species such as king salmon, walleye, crappie, lake trout, and northern pike. Fairbanks, Matanuska-Susitna (“Mat-su”) Valley, and Anchorage, are popular areas known for productive ice fishing lakes that can be accessed from roadways or trails. For more remote locations, snowmobiles are a convenient method of transportation.

The ideal months for ice fishing in Alaska range from late November through March. As you plan your bucket list Alaska ice fishing trip, you’ll want to read up on gear, techniques, and fishing license regulations. An ice fishing rod and reel setup is much smaller than a standard combo, but tackle and bait methods are comparatively similar to other styles of fishing. Many outfitters offer guided trips to save you the time, hassle, and investment of doing it all yourself. Hiring a guide is a good option if you’re a group of beginners or plan to bring the kids along.

If you’re still unsure if an Alaska ice fishing trip is right for you, tack it on as one experience checked off your bucket list, then explore the countless other adventures awaiting you in the Last Frontier!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.