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Lake fishing offers quiet escape

Posted: Saturday, May 27, 2000

While combat fishers battle for space on the Russian River, those inclined to serenity may find only loons for company while casting for grayling at Crescent Lake.

There are hundreds of lakes on the Kenai Peninsula. Some, like Jean, Long and Johnson lakes, easily are reached by road. Others only can be reached by hiking, canoe or floatplane.

There are hundreds of lakes on the Kenai Peninsula. Some, like Jean, Long and Johnson lakes, easily are reached by road. Others only can be reached by hiking, canoe or floatplane.

Some harbor stocked rainbows and coho (silver) salmon. Others offer wild silver and sockeye salmon or lake, rainbow and Dolly Varden trout.

Some are small and serene. Larger lakes, particularly Tus-tumena and Skilak, can be wild and stormy.

For some "real Alaska," paddle the canoe trails on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Those include the Swan Lake and the Swanson River canoe trails, with a total of 70 lakes. Most contain native rainbows and Dolly Varden. Several outfitters rent canoes, and a few guides offer canoe or float-tube fishing trips.

The peninsula's 28 stocked lakes contain healthy populations of rainbow trout and landlocked cohos. Most are under 10 inches long, but anglers occasionally are surprised by larger fish. Land-locked cohos can weigh as much as 5 pounds. A few rainbows have been reported at more than 10 pounds.

Stocked lakes include Arc, Aurora, Barbara, Cabin, Carter, Cecille, Centennial, Chugach Estates, Douglas, Elephant, Encelewski, Island, Jerome, Loon, Long, Long-mere, Meridian, Quintin, Rainbow, Roque, Scout, Sport, Upper Summit, Thetis, Tirmore, Troop and Vagt.

Maps and information on peninsula lakes are available at the Soldotna offices of the Department of Fish and Game and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. "Kenai Peninsula Stocked Lakes," available from the Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, contains maps and descriptions of beaches, parking, boat ramps and other facilities.

Lakes are a great place to take small children. With a stick, a piece of line, a small hook and a salmon egg, they can entertain themselves for hours.

Many lakes offer good ice fishing during winter. Fishing along lake shorelines is often good when the ice is receding during spring and just before freeze-up in the fall. Rainbow trout can be caught on both wet and dry flies, as well as on small spoons and spinners. In summertime, when water temperatures rise, most larger fish move to deeper water and can be caught by trolling deep.

A canoe or float tube makes lake fishing more fun and productive. Most lakes have either brushy or swampy banks, so they don't lend themselves to wading. Always wear a life vest when boating. Even in summer, the water is cold enough to quickly bring on hypothermia.



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