A few silvers, an increasing trout bite and a load of humpies — that’s what anglers headed to fish the Kenai River can expect this weekend.
Joe Connors of Big Sky Charter and Fishcamp said batches of silvers are hanging in the lower and middle river.
“There are some silvers, you’ve just got to work hard and move around,” he said. “The water is dropping and is clear in the middle river and that creates problems. So you’ve got to move a lot.”
Connors said he was having luck on sardine-wraped Kwikfish. He also suggested using a mid-sized spinning rod and reel and casting with Vibrax spinners from shore.
“It is either you want to sit and run something out off the stern or you want to be active and cast,” he said adding the coho are a “mish-mash” in size, but overall are a bit smaller than usual.
The action, Connors said, hasn’t picked up much since the first few silvers started entering the river.
“I would say lower than usual,” he said. “Certainly OK, but not phenomenal. You’ve got to work. And the pinks kind of make it difficult because there are so many.”
Jason Pawluk, assistant area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said local staff has received a number of calls from the public curious about the slow start to the run.
“We can’t say if it is going to turn around,” he said. “It is either going to be a late run that is OK — average or a little bit below average — or it is going to turn out being a very, very low run that just never produced.”
If anglers aren’t having luck in their usual spots with their favorite gear, Pawluk suggested trying something different. If you’re a spinning tackle fisherman, try back-bouncing eggs or working a fly. Don’t get stuck in one location if they aren’t there, he added.
“The thing about silvers ... is there are so many ways to fish for them,” Pawluk said.
Rainbow trout action is steady and improving gradually as the season shifts away from flesh flies to bead fishing, Pawluk added.
“We are entering the peak of bead fishing in places like the upper Kenai, the middle Kenai, Quartz (Creek) and (the) Russian River — the reds are starting to get paired up and ready to spawn,” he said.
Anglers huffing it on foot can try the Russian River, which on Wednesday was by regulation no longer a fly fishing only area. That means the area is open for bead fishing and lures with one hook. However, anglers may not target or retain any sockeye salmon in that area, but most of the late run sockeye have turned red and green anyway.
“There are some die-hards that walk all the way up to the (Russian River) falls and walk down hitting the paired up fish and walk all the way down hitting pools and all that,” Pawluk said.
Anglers can try Quartz Creek, but don’t overlook the pullouts lining the Kenai River along the Sterling Highway from the Russian confluence down to Skilak Lake, Pawluk said.
“People hike back in there and bead fish all the time,” he said.
David Wilson, a guide with Let’s Fish, said the good rainbow fishing is “just beginning.”
He said a boat drifting the middle river could get a triple digit catch on good day, but anglers should expect some variance in catch rates with water levels, temperature and clarity.
“We still got 50 fish with two people today,” he said.
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.