While the strength of incoming schools fluctuates, sometimes hourly, sockeye salmon are still the best bet for anglers on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.
Whether dipnetting or fishing with a rod and reel the targeted species right now is sockeye salmon, said assistant area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Jason Pawluk.
It has been a strange season for sockeye salmon, Pawluk said. The groups swimming through the Kenai River have been spotty, appearing in large numbers for only two to four hours at a time.
The average numbers per day range between 20,000-50,000.
The record high for this season so far was 63,000 in one day, according to Fish and Game fish counts data.
The fishery should be still fishable for the next few weeks, but it is likely the condensed groups will keep coming through in short bursts.
The king salmon season is coming to a close, with a very real chance that the run won’t reach it’s escapement goal, Pawluk said. The low numbers may result in even further restrictions in regulations on fishing the species in the coming weeks.
“Currently we are not projecting a good run,” Pawluk said. “It’s on the edge right now.”
Fishing for the scarce species has been almost identical on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, Pawluk said. The very little effort exerted by anglers has yielded good success, he said.
Fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden will likely continue to improve over the rest of the summer season, Pawluk said. At this point with so much food matter entering the streams, in the form of the discarded sockeye salmon carcasses, the fish will continue to concentrate where fishing is already taking place. Any imitation flesh pattern or egg bead imitation will draw the two species as they become more used to seeking the fish carcasses and spawning salmon eggs as a food source.