This lily pad covered lake offers excellent year-round fishing in peaceful surroundings
Located between Fairbanks and Delta Junction along the Richardson Highway, Birch Lake State Recreation Site is a 191-acre park nestled between a lily pad-covered lake and forested wetlands.
Birch Lake is close to a glaciated area and surrounded by forested wetlands. At the south of the lake, the Alaska Range decorates the horizon with snow-capped peaks. Sandy beach wraps the lake, and yellow pond lilies (Nuphar polysepala) bloom mid-summer from the blanket of lily pads that cover the lake’s surface.
The fishing is excellent year round: anglers fish on shore in the spring, and from boats in the summer and ice huts in the winter. Birch Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, king salmon, silver salmon, grayling and Arctic char and northern pike, and provides ideal habitat for waterfowl. Moose and caribou can be seen wading in the water and in the vicinity.
The lake is popular for camping, swimming, fishing, jet skiing and water skiing in summer and ice fishing and snow-machining in the winter. The site is a popular winter location to view the Northern Lights.
Fishing during the summer months is best from a boat. When the lake freezes, ice fishing huts are available for rent, usually between November and April. The four ice fishing huts were constructed by the Department of Fish & Game as part of the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program and are managed today by Alaska State Parks.
There are 17 long parking spaces for motorhomes and three shorter parking spaces for smaller vehicles or tent campers. There are also five tent sites and a picnic area with tables, fireplaces and benches for day use as well as a boat launch and courtesy dock.
Birch Lake has a public-use cabin that sleeps six and is available for rent year round. Cabin furnishings include plywood sleeping platforms, a kitchen counter, shelves, table and benches, wood stove, fire extinguisher, and an outdoor latrine. The recreation area also has five day-use ice huts that can be reserved by anglers in the winter. The cabin and ice huts can be rented through the online state parks reservation system.
Firewood is not provided and can be hard to find at some cabins, so gather dead and down wood on your way in.
Birch Lake has a daily parking fee along with a boat launch fee and nightly fees for camping. There are also user fees for its public-use cabins and ice huts that can be reserved online through the parks reservation system (www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins).
Birch Lake is at Milepost 305.5 of the Richardson Highway, 57 miles southeast of Fairbanks. For more information contact the Northern Area Office of Alaska State Parks (907-451-2695 www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/birch.htm) in Fairbanks.