More general information on fish

This List of Names of Species on the North Slope includes scientific names, common names and Iñupiat names of fish (and other animals).

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Notebook Information on fish in Alaska (and other animals)

ADFG Salmon in the Classroom - Classroom Salmon Egg Incubation Program

Arctic Fishery Management 

Iqaluich Niġiñaqtuat: Fish That We Eat This report, written by Anore Jones, documents the traditional Iñupiaq knowledge of fish as food, including names, sketches, identification details, brief life histories, and recipes for gathering, preparation and use.

Jones, A. 2006. Iqaluich Niġiñaqtuat, Fish That We Eat. USFWS, Office of Subsistence Management, Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program, Final Report No. FIS02-023, Anchorage, Alaska.

Salmon Education Materials Information on salmon dissection guide, salmon life cycle poster, life histories of salmonids, including Pacific salmon, trout, grayling, char and whitefish.

Common Diseases of Wild and Cultured Fishes in Alaska Meyers, T., T. Burton, C. Bentz and N. Starkey. 2008. Prepared by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fish Pathology Laboratories, Anchorage, Alaska.

Common Parasites, Diseases and Injuries of Freshwater Fishes in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Stewart, D.B., and Bernier, L.M.J. 1999. Prepared by Arctic Biological Consultants for Fisheries and oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region, Winnipeg, Man.

Future Alaskans in Fisheries and Marine Science  Website sponsored by UAF to help rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives pursue education towards careers in fisheries and marine and ocean sciences.

For Identification of North Slope fish, see the guides below:

Common Fish on the North Slope This list includes common, Iñupiat, and scientific names of common fish on the North Slope. 

George, C., Moulton, L., and Johnson, M. 2009. A Field Guide to the Common Fishes of the North Slope of Alaska. North Slope Borough, Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska. 

Johnson, S.W., et al. 2015. A Handy Field guide to the Nearshore Marine Fishes of Alaska. US Dept of Commerce, NOAA, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Juneau, AK. NOAA Technical Memo. NMFS-AFSC-293, 211 p. doi:10.7289/V58913T2.

Mecklenburg, C.W., et al. 2016. Pacific Arctic Marine Fishes. CAFF Monitoring Series Report No. 23. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN:978-9935-431-55-4.

Thorsteinson, L.K. and M.S. Love, eds. 2016. Alaska Arctic Marine Fish Ecology Catalog. Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5038. Prepared in cooperation with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Environmental Studies Program (OCS Study, BOEM 2016-048). DOI: 10.3133/sir20165038

A quick reference sheet for identification of the most Common Subsistence Fish of the North Slope, compiled by Craig George in 2008. Photos by Craig George and drawings by Michele Deering or courtesy of DFO Canada.

commonfishpg1

RACE Fish and Invertebrates Species Photo Gallery This website if hosted by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA. Look here to find pictures and information on fish found throughout the state.

ADFG Arctic Char versus Dolly Varden Guide

Salmon Identification How to Identify the Five Salmon Species found in Alaska - ADFG

adfgsalmonid

Pacific Salmon ID - Marine Phase - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Pacific Salmon ID page 1

Pacific Salmon ID page 2

The Trout and Salmon Identification Guide - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The following chart may help in salmon identification.

Basic Characteristics of Salmon

Common/ Inupiat Name

Spotting

Average wt. (lbs)

Distinctive Characters

Occurrence on North Slope

Chum (Dog)
Iqalugruaq

No

10-14

Pale bars on sides; no spots; silver sides; can be quite large; 18-28 gill rakers

Common

Pink (Humpback)
Amaqtuuq

Yes

2-5

Oval spots back and tail; spawning male has ‘hump’

Common

King (Chinook)
Iqalugruaq

Yes

25-40

Large size; spots on back and tail; lower gums black

Uncommon but regular

Silver (Coho)

Yes*

6-12

*Spots on back and upper lobe of tail; gums not black

Very Rare; no records on NS

Red (Sockeye)

No

6-10

No spots on body or fins; spawners have greenish heads; 30-40 gill rakers

Uncommon but regular

Joshua Bacon holding a King Salmon (Iqalugruaq) caught by James ‘Matu’ Matumeak in a net at Piqniq in 2006. The fish weighed in at 37 lbs and was 44 inches long. Photo: Rita Frantz Acker

Joshua Bacon holding a King Salmon (Iqalugruaq) caught by James ‘Matu’ Matumeak in a net at Piqniq in 2006. The fish weighed in at 37 lbs and was 44 inches long. Photo: Rita Frantz Acker

Unusual Fish Sightings

Sleeper Shark

Pacific sleeper shark found near Point Hope. Photo: Richard Patton

Pacific sleeper shark found near Point Hope. Photo: Richard Patton

A 229-cm long Pacific sleeper shark was found on the beach near Point Hope in 1998.  This sighting was the first documented record of a shark in the Chukchi Sea and the first report of a shark other than a Greenland shark above the Arctic Circle.

Read more about this finding in the following article:
Benz, G.W., Hocking, R., Kowunna, Sr., A., Bullard, S.A., George, J.C. 2004. A second species of Arctic shark: Pacific sleeper shark Somniosus pacificus from Point Hope, Alaska. Polar Biology 27:250-252.

Northern Wolffish

Found on the beach, southwest of Barrow about six miles, by Charles Maasak Brower on November 14, 2009.  The fish is a Northern Wolffish (Anarhichas denticulatus) and this is the first record of this species in Alaska. Andres Lopez, Curator of Fishes at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, confirmed the specimen and states that their

Found on the beach, southwest of Barrow about six miles, by Charles Maasak Brower on November 14, 2009.  The fish is a Northern Wolffish (Anarhichas denticulatus) and this is the first record of this species in Alaska. Andres Lopez, Curator of Fishes at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, confirmed the specimen and states that their "range is centered around the northern Atlantic. The Barrow specimen is one of the very few that show up along the Arctic coast of North America." Photo: Craig George

How to Set Nets for Under-ice Fishing

instructions for underice fishing

Preparing holes in ice to place nets at Teshekpuk Lake. Photo: Brian PersonPulling net full of fish from ice at Ikroagvik Lake. Photo: Leslie Pierce

Left: Preparing holes in ice to place nets at Teshekpuk Lake. Photo: Brian Person. Right: Pulling net full of fish from ice at Ikroagvik Lake. Photo: Leslie Pierce.

Banner photo credit: Nicole Kanayurak