The Roadside Angler’s Guide: Featuring Alaska’s Top Road Accessible Waters
Dedicated to Alaska’s wonderful road accessible fisheries, The Roadside Angler’s Guide is an incredibly valuable source of information for those seeking to know the details of where to go, when to go there, what to catch, and how to do it.
Written and compiled by Gunnar Pedersen, year-round Alaska resident and author of four fishing books and co-author of a fifth, an avid outdoorsman, and former fishing guide, The Roadside Angler’s Guide is a representation of well over three decades worth of gathering data and information on fishing opportunities on the road system in this great state. In addition, the book is very visually oriented and pleasing through its exceptional design format and the abundant use of color.
The Roadside Angler’s Guide: A Closer Look
Putting together a fishing trip to Alaska can be a daunting challenge. There are seemingly an endless number of points to consider, all of them important in seeing the success of catching fish, perhaps bringing home well-earned future meals, and memories sure to last a lifetime. Although it is always recommended to inquire as much as possible regarding types of fish available, rules and regulations, places to go, what to use, and when and how to use it before leaving, this book will provide invaluable information and hopefully answer at least most if not all questions about fishing on the road system.
The Roadside Angler’s Guide deals with the main roadside fisheries of the state, specifically the Southcentral region that includes the ever-popular Kenai Peninsula and the Matanuska, Susitna, and Copper valleys, as well as the Gulf Coast and adjoining marine waters. The vast majority of roadside angling effort in Alaska occurs in these areas and for good reason. Salmon runs are heavy and in great shape in terms of both sport and consumptive purposes. Resident species such as trout and char flourish in the many lakes and streams. Access is easy and convenient to a vast number of highly productive waters. Moreover, there exists a multitude of other angling options to take advantage of that will enhance that roadside fishing trip, like reasonably-priced full or half-day fly-in and deep-sea fishing excursions out of numerous hubs and ports. In addition, for those taking a break in their hectic fishing schedule, wildlife and scenic viewing is unmatched. This book is indeed a great resource for the do-it-yourself angler!
Without a doubt, salmon are the number one target for anglers on the road system with resident species usually being secondary – but not always. Therefore, this book focuses primarily on the opportunities available for salmon but certainly still covers fishing for trout, char, and other valuable game fish to a reasonable extent as well. The main emphasis is on river, stream, and saltwater fishing with all of the “Hot Spot” and additional information reflecting exactly that. Lake fishing is covered to a lesser degree with only the more popular and productive locations listed and discussed in any detail.
The Roadside Angler’s Guide also deals with important aspects of trip planning, including issues such as timing, the targeting of specific kinds of fish in both fresh- and saltwater, and expected weather and water conditions according to seasons.
The Roadside Angler’s Guide is logically laid out for ease of use. Divided into two major sections, the first deals with the various game fish species that are present along the road system. Presented are chapter breakdowns of salmon, trout, char, grayling, and others, including saltwater species, as well as a chapter on angling strategies that discusses common methods and effective techniques. The second section is all about destinations; here are the very best and most productive waters that are accessible by road, detailed in hundreds of pages through ample presentations of color images, maps, graphs, and charts. Anglers will appreciate the direct, factual, no-fluff tone that the book presents.
Alaska’s Roadside Species
This section is broken up into four chapters. The first three presents groupings or categories of sport fish available to anglers on the road system and highlights topics of interest such as biology, identification, hot spots, timing, common methods and techniques, preferred tackle and gear, and finding right structure for each species. The fourth chapter explains general nuances of fishing in Alaska, including structure and food sources in both fresh- and saltwater.
Select the species of interest, learn the key of how, where, when, and what, and apply this knowledge to the desired location(s) detailed in the section on Areas & Destinations.
Roadside Areas & Destinations
After familiarity has been gained with roadside species in Alaska, anglers need to consult the section describing the places to go. Also here there are geographical categories, one for each area in Southcentral, and include Kenai Peninsula & Turnagain Arm, Matanuska-Susitna Valleys & Knik Arm, and Copper Valley & Valdez Arm. These defined areas are represented by color maps, area descriptions, and detailed information on the top fishing locales – or “hot spots.” Additionally, secondary angling locations are listed with a descriptive summary of species available and fishing conditions.
All of the “hot spots” feature color maps of the drainage, pointing out parking areas, campgrounds, trails, boat launches, and nearby communities or settlements – even showing places of high bear activity. Furthermore, a description of what to expect in terms of scenery and fishing season follows, with a breakdown of the most common species present. Each species is given an angler rating (one to five stars), when during the season that particular species can be caught, best tackle to use, size range, and some tips that may prove helpful. Color-coded charts are shown for all salmon species (see below), depicting exact timing on a week-by-week basis from spring through fall as well as consumptive quality of fish.