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Craig Medred

The Nabesna Ranger District of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is an easy place to get lost. Sprawling east from Alaska's Richardson Highway across big river valleys, brushy hillsides and the desolate Nutzotin Mountains all the way to the U.S. border with Canada, the district covers 5 million acres, an area almost twice the size of Yellowstone National Park...

Craig Medred

* MORE ALASKANS MISSING: See We Alaskans magazine in Sunday's Alaska Dispatch News

Friends of Frenchman Francois Guenot still aren't sure of where he was going when he disappeared along the Gulf of Alaska coast in June, but they have begun to resign themselves to the fact they will likely never hear from him again.

Guenot — "The Crazy Frenchman," as some knew him — was trying to make his way to the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia from the village of Kokhanok on the south shore of giant Iliamna Lake, the eighth-largest in the U.S. The easiest route would be down the lake, out the Kvichak River to Bristol Bay and then west across the Bering Sea...

Craig Medred

A grand experiment in Cook Inlet fisheries management began along the coast of the Kenai Peninsula on Thursday when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game instituted a new commercial fishing rule intended to minimize bycatch of prized king salmon. With red salmon apparently on the verge of swarming east-side Inlet beaches, the agency opened commercial setnetting from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but told setnetters they had a choice of fishing only two nets, which would likely cut their catch by a third, or three shallower nets, which it is hoped will allow the catch of just as many red salmon as normal while allowing king salmon to slip past unharmed.​ A standard net hangs down about 18 feet from a line of floats on the surface of the water....

Craig Medred

KENAI -- Alaska's most ignorant fisheries are now underway at the mouths of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

"Why is the river running the wrong way?" a Yuppie-ish woman in spanking new waders asked as a near 30-foot Cook Inlet tide came surging back into the river's mouth on a sunny Monday afternoon.

Ah, because the tide is coming in?

This might all be funny if it was only about silly questions. But it isn't. It's also about responsible use of Alaska resources.

One would think that before setting off to kill things, the men and women new to what the 49th state calls "personal use" dipnet fisheries would at least learn what it is they are legally allowed to kill. One would be wrong...

Craig Medred

Kenai River dipnetters appeared to be on the verge of going apoplectic Friday at the news the Alaska Department of Fish and Game might allow an emergency opening of the commercial setnet salmon fishery off the mouth of that river...

Craig Medred
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Round one of the duel of the dioramas opened in Anchorage on Wednesday when Bass Pro Shops swung wide the doors on its first and only store in the lone U.S. state with no bass...

Craig Medred

Hoss won his independence on the Fourth of July. It was easier for him than for me. The drugs put him peacefully to sleep, and he closed his eyes for the last time. By the time they opened again, he had quietly crossed over to the other side. No longer would he labor to breathe or bark those occasional, lone, sharp barks that came when he felt pain no one could see.

Though I'd spent weeks preparing for this day, it was bad. There are no easy ways to say goodbye to your best friend for the last time. Hoss was 16 years old, and we'd spent more than a dozen of those years trading thoughts...

Craig Medred

Two women badly mauled by grizzly bears in the Anchorage area in less than two months, with at least one common denominator: no bear spray.

Can anyone say with certainty that it would have kept either of them out of the hospital? No. But this much can be said: Without weapons of self-defense, both women were helpless against sow grizzlies instinctively attacking to protect their cubs.

Lots of people at this point can get into a nice debate about bear spray and guns. Let's not. Have you ever tried running with a gun capable of stopping a charging grizzly?...

Craig Medred

What appears to be the largest halibut caught in the Pacific Ocean in at least a decade has been landed in the Alaska Panhandle port of Gustavus, but it will not be a world record.

Seventy-seven-year-old Jack McGuire from Anaheim, Calif., lost the opportunity for the sport-fishing record book when his 482-pound halibut was shot and then harpooned before it was pulled aboard the charter boat Icy Rose.

International Game Fish Association rules ban the use of any tools other than a net or gaffe for landing fish, and the Florida-based IGFA maintains the international record book...

Craig Medred

Two months after trumpeting federal success in boosting the value of U.S. commercial fisheries, while dissing the value of the nation's sport fisheries, the National Marine Fisheries Service has conceded it cooked the books.

The original fisheries service report in April that led Laine Welch, the commercial fishing columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, to trumpet that "the debate over which sector -- commercial or recreational fishing -- provides the bigger economic punch can finally be put to rest...

Craig Medred

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