Rainbows are probably the most common trout species taken anywhere in the world. They are used widely in stocking and enhancement projects in many areas, and are a staple of fish hatcheries all over the United States. In Alaska, we take our wild rainbow trout very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that most Alaska anglers release them to fight another day. Rarely is a rainbow kept for food, as there are plenty of other species readily available without depleting rainbow stocks. Alaska's rainbows enjoy celebrity status almost statewide.
Called by some "the sailfish of the north", Alaska's grayling are the fish of pristine mountain lakes and slower rivers. For many anglers, they represent all that is wild about Alaska. Though they are indeed found in remote wildernesses, they also inhabit lakes near the heart of both Anchorage and Fairbanks.
For many Alaska anglers, the lake trout remains shrouded in mystery. A denizen of deepwater lakes, he defies most traditional angling techniques and remains unavailable to most sportsmen who simply cannot figure out how to catch him. He dwarfs other trout by his sheer size, he fights like a bull, and when at last he arrives on the surface after a long battle, his colors leave an angler breathless with awe. They are beautiful fish.
It's been said that you can choose your friends, but you're stuck with your relatives. Nowhere does this association come with such mixed connotations as it does with the northern pike family. The pike family includes the muskellunge, which grows to a larger size than the northern pike, and the redfin pickerel (which rarely exceeds ten or twelve inches in length).