The elusive Sheefish can be found in only a few different rivers in Alaska, but they can only be found this size in the Kobuk River (average size is 20 pounds in the Kobuk, this fish is 35 pounds).
When not in the river, they live in ocean lagoons near the town of Kotzebue on the west coast of Alaska. In the fall, thousands of Sheefish run up the Kobuk River from Kotzebue to spawn. Unlike salmon, they do not die and return to the ocean. Sheefish can live to be more than 30 years old. They have a white meat similar to halibut. They are an excellent sport fish as they can be easily caught in the river from shore with a spinning rod. They have been compared to tarpon as they like to jump out of the water when hooked. The flight from Bettles to the Sheefish is one hour in August and we offer guided and unguided trips. A good day of fishing can yield as many as 15 to 20 fish per person (mostly catch and release… except a couple that come back to the kitchen). The record on spinning rod is 53 pounds and was caught in the same place this photo was taken!