Seek silvers, discover rainbows

Kenai resident Phillip Lazenby caught this 19.15-pound silver to win the Seward Silver Salmon Derby and $10,000.

Summer might be close to over, but the bite is still on for a pair of coveted species on the central Kenai Peninsula.


Silver salmon and rainbow trout are being caught in good numbers on the Kenai River, and the action figures to remain strong through September and into October.

Although it doesn’t keep counts for incoming silvers or resident rainbows on the Kenai, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported this week decent fishing for both species.

Jason Pawluk, an assistant area management biologist with Fish and Game, said early returning silvers are nearing Skilak Lake, meaning the action is good on the middle river, where rainbows also lurk.

“For a while it was slow around Bings (Landing),” Pawluk said. “But we’ve gotten some good reports the past few days, which indicates the bulk of early silvers are in the area.”

Pawluk said there could still be silvers in the lower river, but anglers currently have the best shot at silver-rainbow combinations if they fish upstream.

A second push of silvers, made up of larger fish, will enter the Kenai in September and run into October, Pawluk said.

Bead fishing for rainbows figures to peak soon as sockeye salmon begin to spawn, dropping eggs in the river, on which rainbow feed.

When fishing with beads, anglers should keep rigs close to the bottom and use floating indicators to see strikes.

Silvers, meanwhile, aren’t picky.

They hit salmon roe clusters, spinners, plugs, herring and flies, and many anglers say they give the best fight of any species of salmon.
Remember, however, that a regulation put into effect this year prohibits anglers from removing silvers from the water if they plan to release them.

If a fish leaves the river, it must be kept.

The daily limit is two.

Pawluk said it’s been sporadic fishing this month, but with the middle river getting flooded with fish, the action is aplenty now.

“The overall feeling that we are getting is that it’s kind of hit or miss this year,” Pawluk said. “But I think anywhere in the Kenai I would recommend right now. I think lower is still good — you just need to put in your time.”

Late-run sockeye fishing closed for the season Saturday on the Russian River, going down as a below-average run.

Fish and Game reached its escapement goal, but the run tally as of Saturday was just 29,184.

That’s better than the 23,699 count on the same day last year, but well below the 73,560 of 2009.

“It was definitely a slow year, very similar to last year,” Pawluk said.

On the east side of the Peninsula, Kenai resident Phillip Lazenby caught a 19.15-pound silver while fishing at Caines Head to win the Seward Silver Salmon Derby, which ended Sunday.

Lazenby, who caught the fish on Day 2 of the derby, won $10,000.

At the other end of the Kenai Peninsula, Fish and Game is reporting fair silver fishing in the lower sections of the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek.

Salmon roe, herring, spinners and weighted flies are working, the department reported, and the action is best early in the day.

“Fishing has been better in the morning and fresh fish have been entering on the incoming tide,” said Carolyn Bunker, with Fish and Game.

There are 27 stocked lakes on the central Kenai Peninsula, many of which feature good fishing into the fall.

In the Homer area, try the Bridge Creek Reservoir for Dolly Varden.  A variety of gear is effective, including bait, spinners and fly fishing gear.
The next series of clamming tides begin Saturday, running through Sept. 3.

Razor clams can be found on sandy beaches from Kasilof to Homer and are exposed on minus tides. Tides of -2.0 feet or lower are suggested.
An emergency order was issued to reduce the possession limits for littleneck and butter clams in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay from 1,000 littleneck clams and 700 butter clams to a combined limit of 80 clams.

As always, check the regulations before wetting a line.


An Outdoor View: When I went fishing

(Author’s note: This column, about springtime fishing for king salmon and halibut in Cook Inlet, first appeared in the Clarion on May 17, 2002. Dennis... Read more