KENAI (AP) -- Spring is here, and die-hard anglers have already been spotted on the upper Kenai River the past few weekends.
Some are even catching fish.
''There's a lot more activity on the upper river this year than in quite some time,'' said Bob Siter, owner of Gwin's Lodge in Cooper Landing. ''There's been a lot of fishermen on the river the last couple weeks, and they're doing OK. Folks are catching fish.''
Siter attributed the activity to the area's mild winter.
''Normally, the weather doesn't cooperate before the (annual April 15 fishery) closure,'' he said. ''So this has been a bonus.''
Larry Marsh, assistant area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said most of the fish in the river -- rainbows and Dolly Varden -- spend the winters in either Kenai or Skilak Lake, neither of which froze over this winter. That has led to some fish moving out of their winter habitat and into the river much earlier than after a more typical winter.
''That normally doesn't happen until late April or May,'' Marsh said, of the fish migration. ''I don't think fishing is really hot and heavy, but I've heard people are catching fish.''
So has Jim Golden, of The Sports Den in Soldotna. He said he heard about a 4-pound rainbow trout being landed last week.
Still, with a steady breeze blowing off the 32-degree water, fishing this time of year is not for everyone.
''I think it's a core group of folks who, when the opportunity presents itself, they make the adjustment and they're here,'' Siter said. ''It's the people who enjoy the setting and the environment.''
Fishing remains open on the upper Kenai River through April 14.
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