Since the opening of the Kenai River king salmon fishery eight days ago, fishing has been consistently slow, said assistant area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Jason Pawluk.
It is likely the water conditions that are partially to blame, he said. Muddy, murky water is resulting in low visibility, making it harder for the fish to see a floating hook.
Between the mouth to river Mile 18 is the only area open to king salmon fishing on the Kenai River. Only single-hooks are allowed. and baiting and scents are prohibited.
Fishing on the Kasilof River is yielding only slightly higher catch rates for anglers than the Kenai River, Pawluk said.
The quality of the fish being caught is low. So far, around 66 percent of the catches are less than 30 inches, indicating the run of king salmon coming in is very young. Usually around this time the king salmon are larger, older fish around six years of age, Pawluk said.
Sockeye salmon fishing on the Kenai River is good so far and will only continue to improve, Pawluk said. Sonar counts show between 15,000-30,000 coming through the mouth of the Kenai River daily.
Dolly Varden and rainbow trout fishing is still good in local streams, Pawluk said. Resident species can be caught in the mainstem and Upper Kenai River, and will continue to improve if it hasn’t already, Pawluk said.
With the carcasses from salmon runs providing a food source for the resident species, their numbers will continue to grow in the areas where other fishing is taking place, he said.