The lamprey. Your standard Sea Lamprey and Pacific Lamprey are roughly flute-sized. Arctic Lamprey? Piccolo. But that jawless maw is not a embouchure hole, so you won’t want to put your mouth on it. And those aren’t finger holes, they lead to gills.
Agnathans (a superclass of cartilaginous jawless fish including lampreys and hagfish) have been on earth since before the dinosaurs. And they haven’t changed much. Fossil lampreys that are 360+ million years old look like modern species — a true testament to their success throughout the eons.
Looking for a way to beat the winter blues and teach a young person important life skills? Try ice fishing. You’ll learn about fish and lakes, gain patience, get outside, and maybe even get some clean healthy meals out of it.
Although rarely exceeding 8 inches in length, this tiny Esocid is arguably the hardiest of Alaska’s fish. Most notably, they’re the only air-breathing fish in the Arctic. In fact, only a few fishes in the world can breathe atmospheric oxygen. Thanks to a modified, gas-absorbing esophagus, the Alaska Blackfish can thrive where other fish can’t, like stagnant waters and seasonal tundra ponds. How neat is that?
Alaska Blackfish spend a lot of time on the bottom of lakes and ponds, where they pursue their prey — small aquatic insects and tiny crustaceans. In winter, when dissolved oxygen levels drop under…
Burbot (Lota lota) are the only freshwater gadoid (cod) in North America (check out that chin whisker!). And with a circumpolar range, they’re one of the most widely distributed freshwater fishes in the world.
Winter is a great time to fish for Burbot as they move slowly along river and lake bottoms. Burbot also spawn in winter, under the ice, in writhing masses. It’s dark, and they vocalize to each other by rapidly contracting striated muscles attached to their gas-filled swim bladder. The drumming songs they make have similar beats to those of other closely-related marine cod fishes.
It was December, 1971. Congress had just passed legislation that addressed Indigenous land claims in the still young State of Alaska: the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In the same Act, they set an expectation that additional Alaska lands would eventually become national wildlife refuges, parks, forests, and recreation areas. In response, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska immediately called in its most experienced field biologists and managers to identify important wildlife areas. They called this effort the “December Exercise.”
Fran Mauer remembers the team. Bob “Sea Otter” Jones. Cal Lensink. Jim King, Dave Spencer, Will Troyer…
Early life for Cora Demit was defined by family and fish: two concepts that may seem disparate, but in Cora’s case they combined to create the foundation for a joyous childhood.
“I was born in Northway south of Tok, but my four siblings and I grew up in a fish camp,” recalls Cora, an Upper Tanana Athabascan tribal member. “It was on an allotment my mother owned, about 20 miles from the village. My father died when I was three years old, so my mother and grandmother raised us. And that camp was our world.”
Only one other family —…
One of Sylvia Pitka’s earliest chores was caring for the family dogs. That’s not unusual in American households, but these dogs were more than pets: they were hard-working household members, essential to the family’s prosperity. And their health and well-being depended on Sylvia’s diligence.
Stories from Alaska by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service