Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
March 2006

Toads and Frogs in Trouble

By Riley Woodford

Frogs and toads are turning up in Alaska with shrunken hind legs, malformed lower jaws and the occasional extra limb, and biologists want to know why.

“Alaska has a higher rate of abnormal frogs than just about anywhere in the U.S.,” said Dave Tessler, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We've seen them in Kenai, Tetlin and Big Lake, both on and off road system.”

Tessler said there is no way to know if these abnormalities are increasing, since biologists ...   Toads in Trouble ArticleContinued

Spear Fishing in Interior Alaska
Excitement on Ice

By James “Fronty” Parker

Shaped and colored like a small pike, a decoy hovers in the water just below the hole in the ice. Shaun Fett gently pulls on the attached string and then lets it go; the decoy propels forward and makes a sweeping arc back to the center of gravity. The movement is sure to attract nearby northern pike.

Shaun is crouched on one knee waiting, his four foot long spear poised and the seven-pronged spear head is a few inches below the surface, ready for a pike to appear. The hole in the ice ...   Spear Fishing ArticleContinued

Spring Hooter Hunting Offers a Unique Attraction

By Riley Woodford

As the days lengthen and snow melts from the ridges in Southeast Alaska, the booming mating call of the male blue grouse carries through the forests, luring hunters into the woods. How hard can it be to hunt a bird that's calling to you? Almost impossible, I learned.

Blue grouse or hooters are sometimes dismissed as “dumb” birds, but that's not my experience. My first attempt at spring hooter hunting a few years ago left my buddy and I feeling dumb, while the hooters mocked us from the ...   Hooter hunting ArticleContinued

Digging for Delight and
Digging Up More Than I Wanted

By Nancy Long

Middy's tail thumps against the back hatch, expressing the excitement we both feel as I approach the trailhead. My headlights reveal a few other cars in the dirt parking lot - comrades with a similar mission, I surmise.

The conditions are perfect this January evening, not too cold, beautiful starry night, and a 7:15 p.m. -4.2 low tide. Fairly extreme for Juneau, the tide won't be this low again until April.

Clad in hip waders and headlamp, I gather up my gear: lantern, gloves, ...   Digging Clams ArticleContinued

“Bird Flu” and Alaska

By Matt Robus

In recent months the press has been crowded with news and speculation about the spread of a highly virulent form of avian influenza within Asia and more recently into Eurasia and Africa. The Asian H5N1 bird flu is an increasingly important international issue among agricultural, human health, and wildlife agencies. This disease has been highly pathogenic (lethal) in domestic poultry and some species of wild birds, and has caused a high mortality rate in the few humans who have caught it. But amid ...   Bird Flu Editorial ArticleContinued

Grandma's Guemes Island Clam Chowder

By Nancy Long

This thin broth chowder is simple and delicious. I have never found a chowder I like better than Grandma's. If you like thick, gloppy chowders or don't want a robust clam flavor, this recipe is not for you.

1/2 lb lean bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces and cooked until crispy
Sauté in 1 tbsp butter and 3 or 4 tbsp bacon drippings, cooking until tender but firm:
2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 fist-size potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces ...   Chowder Recipe ArticleContinued