Feature

Tight fishing lines on Tongass National Forest

Craig Roghair
Southern Research Station
June 7th, 2019 at 8:16AM
A picture of Gravelly Creek in Alaska where several fisherman are lined-up fishing almost shoulder-to-shoulder along the creek's banks.
Gravelly Creek – More than 280 registered youth and a total of 500 people attended the 25th Annual Kids Fishing Day "Jim Beard Memorial" Event

National Fishing and Boating Week is held every year to recognize the importance of recreational boating and fishing to enthusiasts, their friends and family and the economy.

Fishing, especially, plays a huge role in how the USDA Forest Service manages water. Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska manages rivers, streams and lakes, as well as the land around them, to provide world-class recreational opportunities.

As far as our national forests are concerned, the Tongass is unique. It is by far the largest national forest at nearly 17 million acres. It is also situated in Alaska, which is one of the nation’s wettest states. Nearly 95,000 square miles—or 14 percent—is comprised of water.

The quality of the water and of the fishing experiences to be found on the Tongass make it a destination for fishers from all over the world. Every fishing journey has to begin somewhere, so for National Fishing and Boating Week, Tongass National Forest and its partners are hosting eight free family fishing events. While getting kids interested in fishing is the focus of these events, experienced fishers will be on hand to help anyone who wishes to learn.

For more experienced fishers looking for a new challenge, the Tongass is the first stop on the path to a Master Caster certification. The Western Native Trout Challenge, led by the Western Native Trout Initiative, is part of a multi-state effort to invite fishers to catch 18 species in 12 western states. Fishers register to compete online, and registration proceeds go toward species conservation.

A picture of Tongass River Rangers speaking with a sport fishing guide while fishermen try to catch coho salmon in the Situk River of Yakutat, Alaska.
Tongass River Rangers pause to speak with a sport fishing guide while fishermen try to catch coho salmon in the Situk River of Yakutat, Alaska. The River Rangers monitor sport fishing activity, remove trash and debris from the shore, and share safety information with fishermen and recreationists during regular patrols. USDA Forest Service photo by Paul A. Robbins.

“Fishing is part of a legacy of conservation,” said Nat Gillespie, assistant national fish program leader at the Forest Service’s Washington Office. “Outdoor recreationists are some of the most vocal and active participants in caring for America’s great outdoors.”

“The Forest Service is dedicated to protecting and improving these incredible places so that they are here not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren,” Gillespie added, “so these efforts naturally go hand-in-hand.”

You can find great fishing on national forests throughout the year. Use our map to find fishing opportunities near you.