Since childhood, I have been fortunate to have a rich and diverse life in the outdoors. I have a deep respect for nature and all it has to offer. To me the outdoors is almost a spiritual place, a refuge of sorts, where the troubles of the real world are left behind and a sense of uttermost freedom is achieved.
I am a Fisheries Biologist with a research focus on better understanding freshwater ecological processes in small streams on Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain. I also help teach Biology and Ecology courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to undergraduate students. My field research takes place at remote locations across the Arctic for extended periods of time to collect fish, wildlife, and habitat data. In between research trips I am a rafting and fishing guide here in Alaska. I take clients from experience levels on various wilderness float trips in some of the most scenic and beautiful rivers of this great state. Some of my biggest thrills of guiding come from seeing the look of excitement on people’s faces as they see wildlife and scenery they have never seen before, catch their first fish, or catch the fish of their dreams.
When not conducting research or guiding clients, I am either hunting or fishing. My trips consist of remote wilderness backpacking or floating for multi-day or week expeditions. The further and deeper I can get into the wilderness, the harder the trip, and more satisfaction gained. To me success is determined by the experiences that shape each trip, not the size or number of game harvested.
I hunt mostly Grizzly and Black Bear, Sheep, Moose, Caribou, Deer, and waterfowl. I fly fish for Salmon, Trout, Steelhead, and Arctic Grayling, but also enjoy fishing for other fresh and saltwater species.Â I only harvest game when needed and otherwise practice catch and release. When I do harvest an animal, all usable products are salvaged, eaten and/or used.Â Fish and game sustains my family, friends, and I on a yearly basis and over the past few years I can count the number of times I bought meat at the grocery store on one hand.
My goal of writing for this blog is to inspire, educate, entertain, and promote outdoor awareness and conservation practices for outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels. I am here for you, so feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, etc. that you might have. The outdoors is truly a magical place. Race the wind, chase the sun, and seek your adventure.
Articles Contributed by J. McFarland
Kings On the Fly: Fishing for Alaska’s Most Sought After Salmon
Ice Fishing Alaska’s Interior
MOUNTAIN STRONG: The Mental and Physical Edge to Keep You Going
Goats, God, Sweat, Snow and a Thorn: Hunting late season Mountain Goats in Alaska
The Ghost of Mystery Bay: Hunting A Giant Brown Bear on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Part 2
The Ghost of Mystery Bay: Hunting A Giant Brown Bear on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Part 1