Find a lake, leave the masses behind

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2002

Looking for solitude?

Try lake fishing.

Lakes of all shapes and sizes dot the Kenai Peninsula, and many of them contain fish. People flock to streams when salmon start running, but lakes get little attention.

If you're willing to hike in, there are little jewel-like lakes you can have all to yourself. Or, there are lakes you can drive to and turn the kids loose to fish from the bank with bobbers and small hooks baited with salmon eggs.

Many peninsula lakes have native populations of rainbow trout or Dolly Varden char. Others lakes are stocked by the state Department of Fish and Game.

Kenai and Skilak lakes, in the Kenai river drainage, contain native lake trout, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and whitefish. Tustumena Lake, the source of the Kasilof River, harbors lake trout, Dolly Varden and whitefish. Hidden Lake has rainbow trout, lake trout, Dolly Varden and kokanee, or landlocked sockeye salmon.

Northern pike, though not native to the peninsula, have been illegally dumped in some lakes. Several pike have been caught at Stormy Lake, near Captain Cook State Recreation Area. The voracious predators eat native fish and put native stocks at risk.

The state stocks 28 lakes on the peninsula, some with rainbow trout, others with landlocked coho salmon.

The more remote peninsula lakes have few, if any, improvements. Many of the more accessible lakes have boat access, campgrounds or other improvements.

A float tube, canoe or small boat will add to your enjoyment. Many lakes are difficult to fish from shore. Always wear a PFD (life jacket). Summer water temperatures remain cold enough to quickly sap the strength of a swimmer.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna, has maps and information about many peninsula lakes. Two chains of lakes, the Swan Lake Canoe Trails and the Swanson River Canoe Trails, lie within the refuge.

For information or a free pamphlet about the peninsula's stocked lakes, visit the offices of the Department of Fish and Game at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna.

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