Silver fishing is golden

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion An angler fishes on the Russian River Monday August 19, 2013 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. The red season is winding to a close and both silver salmon and trout fishing have been on the rise.

Wednesday morning, while fishing the middle section of the Kenai River, fishing guide Mike Fenton took the Clarion’s phone call seeking his thoughts on silver fishing this week. Though he had answers, perhaps the most telling detail was the constant interruption of his clients’ hook-ups.


“We limited out early,” Fenton, of Fenton Brothers Guided Sport Fishing, said via the phone. “Overall, silver fishing is strong and there are fish throughout the whole system.”

Good coho fishing is normal for this time of year, but the word from many longtime fishermen and river guides is that this year is simply off the hook.

“It’s the best silver fishing that I can remember in many years,” said Greg Brush, a local guide with 24 years on the Kenai River. “Just fantastic.”

Brush hit the lower river Tuesday morning at “Oh-dark-thirty” and was off the water by 9:30 a.m. All aboard limited out after sitting on anchor and fishing the passing schools with “flat-lined” Kwikfish wrapped in sardines. If you fish the lower river, anchor up and look for fish moving through. Silvers have a pack mentality almost like a dog with its food bowl. They get aggressive over food and strike even when not feeding in fresh water, he said.

“Change them often,” Brush said of the sardines.

For a more sure thing, get out on the water and be ready at first light. Silvers always bite well then and in the low-light of rainy overcast days, Brush said.

If you want to fish eggs this time of year, you can get them down to the silver’s depth with divers. Another way to achieve the same results is to use an old school bobber set up with line enough to reach the fish near the bottom. No bait is allowed in the Russian River, where silvers are also coming on strong.

Kenai fisherman Dwight Kramer got skunked Wednesday morning while fishing for silvers and suspects that others, not fishing the hot area from Bing’s Landing to Skilak Lake, did too. Kramer said it’s the typical lull, following the first pulse of silvers that flow into the river. Last week it was possible to limit off the bank. That surge will return in about a week and the silvers will be stacked strong through mid-September, he said.

Up in the middle river, Fenton said he’s having his clients throw “hardware” into the river for silvers. Popular right now (meaning nearly sold out at Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing) are size 4 and 5 Vibrax spinners of various bright and lively colors, which broadcast well in the turbid waters of the Kenai River. The Fenton brothers are tossing a few custom painted spinners along with some nickel-accented blades to find success.

Fenton offered two more productive notes from the river before hanging up and returning to his clients for the day. Number one, the water is clearing up a little bit after recent wind events churned the lakes cloudy and that’s helping a lot, he said.

“A word of wisdom, silvers are spooky fish,” he said. Fenton regularly sees private boaters run their boats over the top of fish and then drift back through them all the while wondering why they can’t catch fish.

Be more sneaky and go around them before drifting back on them, he said.


Reach Greg Skinner at


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