Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct two errors. The bag and possession limit for sport-caught sockeye salmon on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers is three per day, three in possession. The personal-use dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River closes at 11 p.m. on July 31. The Clarion regrets the errors.
Aside from dipnetting on the Kasilof and the recently opened Kanai, the sockeye fishery has cooled ahead of the late run sockeye arriving on the Kenai. The Kasilof run, which remains open to dipnetting until Aug. 7, and continues outpacing the fish count on the Kenai River, will begin to climb toward its seasonal frenzy during the next week when fishermen should see fish by the tens of thousands moving up river daily.
Jason Pawluk, Fish and Game’s assistant area management biologist, said there are reports of late run sockeye south of Ninilchik and a huge spike in numbers should be seen by midweek.
Remember, the personal use fishery is a total limit of 25 salmon per household permit with 10 additional fish for each member of the household. The Kenai River opened to dipnetting Wednesday morning and will run through 11 p.m., July 31 with the same in personal-use possession rules applying.
Kings remain elusive and off limits for fishing or harvest in much of the Central Kenai Peninsula fisheries. The outlook for late run kings is not much better, however trolling for resident (feeder) kings has been somewhat successful off the Southern Kenai Peninsula out from Seldovia and “good” off Bluff Point. In the saltwater, kings are taking herring rigs, hootchies, tube flies and spoons behind dodgers and flashers. If you’ve got to catch a king, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is reported as “fair.”
King fishing is open on the lower 18 river miles of the Kenai and in the Kasilof. Pawluk describes king fishing as “very slow” right now and may face additional emergency orders as early as Friday. Reports of small and young kings accompany those fish caught. No bait or multiple hooks are allowed. The good news from the Kasilof is that it’s fished less than the Kenai but prospects remain grim.
Halibut fishing is reported as fair to good depending on locations and tide. Fishermen are finding halibut bouncing traditional herring or squid rigs on circle hooks. Fish weight an average 12.4 pounds in a sampling taking at Homer Harbor and ranged in weight up to 42 pounds.
Trout fishing in the Kenai and Russian Rivers remains top shelf. Pawluk says that rainbows are found spread throughout the Kenai by fisherman using varied techniques and moving around.
“It’s good,” he said of the middle river from the confluence with the Moose River downstream to the bridge in Soldotna.
Those looking for solitude should head for the canoe trails in the Swanson lakes and river system or any of the lakes on the peninsula, many of which are stocked.
— Greg Skinner