Sockeye salmon fishing is booming on the Kenai River, said Brian Miller, Trustworthy Hardware & Tackle owner and manager.
“I imagine the Russian River is going to take off pretty fast and furious,” Miller said.
He noticed the sockeye flooding into the lower Kenai River last week, and he expects they are still moving up.
Since sockeye salmon fishing opened Tuesday on the Russian and Kenai rivers and their confluences, fishing has been productive from Bing’s Landing up to the Russian River, he said.
Robert Begich, Alaska Fish and Game research biologist for the Central and Northern Peninsula, said sockeye fishing was so good Tuesday, few fishermen went anywhere else for the fish.
For anglers still seeking kings, Miller said the Kasilof River is the best bet.
Fishermen are allowed one hatchery-produced king a day, with a yearly limit of two. Naturally-produced kings are identified by an intact adipose fin, the small fin just before their tail.
The restriction is effective through June 30.
Kings can also be caught in Homer’s Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, where fishing has improved recently, according to Fish and game. Kings are stocked in the lagoon too.
Also, anglers are catching their limits of halibut daily, said Gerri Martin, co-owner of North Country Charters. The fish have been healthy, but their sizes have varied — 20-pounders one day; 100-pounders the next, she said.
“But we’re getting them everyday,” Martin said.
Lake fishing is still a good option also to catch fish, according to Fish and Game. Fishing there has been “good to excellent.”
Fly fishing from a float tube, small spinners and spoons, or bait hung below a bobber are effective methods for catching lake fish, according to Fish and Game.
An emergency order issued Wednesday closes all king salmon fishing — catch-and-release included — between the Ninilchik River and Bluff Point in Cook Inlet waters a mile or less from the shore beginning Saturday.
The Anchor River, Ninilchik River and Deep Creek are close to sport fishing, and will remain so due to emergency orders in effect until July 15.
The Kenai River remains catch-and-release for kings greater than 20 inches but less than 55 inches in length.
Martin said the catch-and-release restrictions are likely an indicator for a slow king run. And already, she said, that run is in its tail end, as late May to mid June is its peak.
“I wish that the salmon was a little bit better,” she said, “but the last few years haven’t been super strong.”
She said she isn’t surprised at this year’s low king run.