Ice-out: time to wrestle with lake trout. One of the best, most accessible early-season locations is the Tangle Lakes, a series of four bodies of water halfway between Fairbanks and Anchorage at the end of the pavement (mile 21) on the Denali Highway/Route 8.

By mid to late May, the road has been plowed and there is usually enough open water to fish. The lakers will be very hungry, cruising the shallows looking for an easy meal. Trollers get results with a Quickfish plug and sinking Rapalas, while spin-fishermen cast Krocodile and Mepps Cyclops spoons.

The lake trout average 2 to 4 pounds and can top 10. The daily limit is one lake trout over 18 inches. There is also good grayling fishing in the streams that connect the lakes.

There are launch ramps located near the highway and two full-service lodges nearby. A season fishing license is $15 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. A three-day nonresident license is $20.

Contact: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (907-459-7207); Tangle Lakes Lodge (907-688-9173).