Ling's the Thing


I hope to come back from Alaska with tales of monstrous king salmon, leaping rainbow trout, and hopefully no bear-shortened limbs. From my one and only trip there 24 years ago, I recall it to be a place of incredible beauty, and I expect that recollection to be repeated, if not surpassed.

But I’m also looking forward to ugly stuff.

Maybe I’ve been chasing snakeheads too much this year, or maybe it’s just empathy for the unattractive, but I’m really looking forward to seeing some non-pageant-winning attractions. Not so much bear scat or halibut guts, but rather some of the denizens of the deep.

The trip was originally set up exclusively as a chance to head up to the Bristol Bay region, to what is reputed to be the best rainbow river in the state, with access to multiple other fisheries, but it seemed a shame to go all that way (4,000 or so miles as the crow flies) for just an admittedly-once-in-a-lifetime four-day adventure, so we tacked on an overnight saltwater excursion on the front end.

Halibut seem to be the main draw up there, probably because with the meat of one fish you can feed your family for the next 723 years, but there are all sorts of other critters down there and I want to get the variety pack. The lingcod season opened up on July 1st, and they’re at the top of my list. I’m not really sure how they taste, or how they fight, but I want that face-to-face moment immortalized.