Sockeye soon to open and king run improves

King fishing is picking up on the Anchor River just a few days before the Russian and Upper Kenai Rivers take out are to open for early-run sockeye salmon fishing, said Grant Anderson, owner of the Fly Box Tackle Shop in Anchor Point.


“The fish are slow and they’ve been waiting for the river to drop and clear, and, as soon as it drops and clears, they just (come) on up,” Anderson said.

He said he has heard reports of anglers catching kings in the Lower Anchor River and a few in the Kasilof River; though steelhead are better in those waters. Also, fishing is good on lakes, ponds and in Cook Inlet, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Brian Miller, Trustworthy Hardware & Tackle owner and manager, said Kasilof River king fishing has picked up too.

“It’s not red hot, but it’s still fishable,” Miller said.

For fishermen seeking kings elsewhere, he said Cook Inlet is a good bet. Halibut fishing is good in the salt water too, he said, and plenty of people are dipnetting for hooligan, which are still running “as thick as thieves.”

But come Tuesday, Robert Begich, Fish and Game research biologist for the Central and Northern Peninsula, said fishing options will improve.

“Still quite a lot to chose from,” Begich said, “but it’s going to get quite a whole lot better next week.”

The Russian and Upper Kenai Rivers will open Tuesday for early-run sockeye fishing, he said. Fish and Game installed the weir Wednesday, he said.

Already, the sockeye are running in force through the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, Miller said. Recently, three fishermen caught their limit on the Kenai River, he said.

Anderson said anglers should bring extra hooks to fish sockeye Tuesday. “Make sure you have a sharp hook,” he said. The hooks dull as they beat against the rocks, he said, making anglers less likely to catch a fish in the mouth.

For those seeking kings on the Kenai River drainage, where bait is still prohibited, Miller said fishermen can use Mag Lips or Quickfish lures.

“Those are pretty effective if you’re going to target kings,” he said.

Anderson said bright color lures are also important for this time of year. When the water is murky, a bright yellow or red lure stands out.

As always, anglers should be sure to check the regulations for the area they will be fishing before heading out.


Dan Schwartz can be reached at