For the first time in 20 years, the Alaska Fish and Game raised the prices to buy a hunting and fishing license. Fishing licenses have been raised to $29 from $24 for a resident of the state and for a non-resident, a 14 day fishing license will go up to $50, double the price of original. Hunting licenses are now increased to $45 from the original price of $25. You might be thinking “What the heck? That’s another $20!” but just be thankful you are a resident. If you’re a non-resident, you get to pay $160, terrible price huh?
That’s what I thought when I was looking at all the prices, then I decided to do some research on prices in other states and I changed my mind. Be thankful that you don’t live in California or Oregon, if you are a big hunter. California’s price for a resident hunting license is $47.01 and $163.65 for a non-resident. On top of that, a resident has to pay $31 PER TAG and non-residents get to pay an astonishing $276.05 per tag. Yeah, no thank you. If you live in Oregon, it doesn’t get much better. Residential hunters pay $32 for a license while non-residents pay $160.50 for a license. Also, if you are a resident wanting to buy one buck tag, it’s $26.50 and for a non-resident to buy just one buck tag it is $414.
Down south they have some crazy prices compared to up here in Alaska, especially if you’re a non-resident. I couldn’t even imagine paying that much for only one tag. I was going to put Montana in here but even wanting to get a license there requires a good deal of work and is incredibly complex.
Staff Picks: What is the best outdoors brand?
Jackson Pool: Grundens is the best outdoor brand. It’s the perfect gear for rugged Alaskans. Grundens gear keeps you dry and warm, while also being comfortable. Whether it’s fishing, hunting, or hiking, I always have my rain coat, rain pants, and my favorite hat, which all happen to be Grundens. As long as I live, I’ll be sporting my Grundens.
Alec Simmons: Sitka Gear hands down is the best outdoor gear money can buy. It’s able to handle the weather in Alaska, as well as in warmer conditions, where it enables comfort to users. I have had no problems with the gear over the years. I have the Timberline pants as my outdoors pant. The Gore-Tex knee pads are rugged and are perfect for the timber or alpine. The Kelvin Lite hoody and an underlayer coat called a core lightweight hoody which match well while I sport my Timberline pants. With the gear I have comfort has never been a problem and it has kept me warm in my time wearing them outdoors.
Jack Carson: The best outdoor brand is no doubt Patagonia. I have used plenty of Patagonia in the past years whether it is fishing, hiking, or backcountry skiing. Patagonia beats The North Face or REI because Patagonia has more to offer on several different levels of outdoors. North Face is great, I love it, but they don’t have a fishing section or make waders like Patagonia does, that’s why Patagonia has the one up on North Face. It’s always a great feeling knowing that your gear you wear won’t you down, and that’s why I wear Patagonia.
By Jackson Pool
Depending on who you talk to, 2016 was a terrible season for salmon. Julie Landwehr, an Oceanography and Marine Biology teacher, said this poor return could be part of a longer trend.
“In my opinion, 2013 was great year, while 2016 was a bust,” she said. “And I fear that they will stay low.”
Though pink salmon numbers were low, the salmon that did return, were large.
The state record was broken twice in a 3-day period on the Kenai River, the largest was a 13-pound 10.6 oz, behemoth.
Landwehr said this makes sense.
“Big fish correlate small numbers.”
Social Sciences teacher and local fisherman Dave Mitchell was disappointed in the silver return this year.
“It was definitely a down year for silver fishing in Ketchikan. Charter fishermen and processors alike. The silvers just never showed up, it is usually easy to get a limit this time of year, but that wasn’t the occasion.”
But it might not just be doom and gloom.
D Jay O’Brien, also a science teacher, has confidence salmon returns will improve and that this is just part of the natural ebbs and flows.
“I think that we are going to bounce back in fish numbers and as the charts or data shows in the past we have been low before,” he said.
It still begs the question, what caused the dip?
Many believe it is because of the warm weather in recent summers while O’Brien is focused on the next generation of salmon.
“The warm stretches we have cause creek levels to go down, and egg deposition for salmon goes down.”
But once fish reach the ocean, they aren’t in the clear.
“The kings have been declining for many years,” Landwehr stated. “But ‘The Blob’ (Pacific Ocean warm water) is directly involved with numbers, salmon may have moved, possibly scattered because of chemical changes, or they couldn’t get enough food.”
The food count for fish and other marine species is also a theory, O’Brien noticed a deficit in herring numbers.
“When you put extra stress on herring, like the opening of Vallenar Bay 5 years ago, that feed will start to go down,” O’Brien said. “It feeds so many other species, that it could manifest itself in the size of the fish that we see and catch.”
So, what can we expect for the future of our region’s rich fishing history?
Well, there are two opinions on this matter, Landwehr believes that our state should weigh our options and expand more. “They need to continue to focus on dive fisheries, keep diversifying, stop closing in on salmon specifically.”
On the other hand, O’Brien has hopes for the future.
“We have management intact, we have monitoring, and that gives me hope, with an intact ecosystem, I think we can bounce back.”