The Kenai has interesting past, present

Posted: Monday, April 05, 2004

Geologists say the Kenai River's glacier-sculpted valley, as we see it today, is 16,000 to 17,000 years old.

The river's watershed encompasses 2,000 square miles of varied landscape glaciers, ice fields, large lakes, lofty mountains and extensive lowlands.

From Kenai Lake to Cook Inlet, the Kenai is 82 miles long.

For the years 2000 through 2002, the average harvest for the Kenai River (including the Russian River) by anglers and personal-use dipnetters was more than 500,000 salmon.

Saltwater anglers fishing Cook Inlet waters harvest a substantial but unknown number of Kenai River-bound salmon, mainly kings and silvers.

For the past 10 years, upper Cook Inlet commercial fishers have netted an average of more than 4 million salmon.

About four out of five were sockeyes, mostly of Kenai River origin.

The Kenai River supports 27 species of fish, in-cluding all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char.

More International Game Fish Association world record salmon have been caught at the Kenai River than any other river on Earth.

The Kenai River re-mains undammed. A dam on Cooper Creek, part of a small hydroelectric project near Cooper Landing, is the only dam in the watershed.

The only fish enhancement in the Kenai River, its tributaries or connected lakes occurs at Hidden Lake, which is stocked with hatchery-raised sockeye fry.



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