For anxious anglers put off by this year’s fish-halting cool spring, the wait is over. The water temperatures and river levels have risen. As a result the kings are in, and even a few sockeye, too.
“It’s been slow, but it’s getting normal and this should be a good weekend on the Kenai and even the Kasilof,” said Scott Miller of Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing in Soldotna.
Anglers might have noticed the bite picking up last weekend. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recorded toward the end of the week a surge of kings blowing past the sonar station located 8.6 miles from the mouth of the Kenai River.
Fish entering the river slowed a bit on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, though, when 334, 326, 231 and 297 kings came in, respectively. Wednesday’s daily count was 343 kings for 5,101 kings cumulatively so far.
“Like the fish counts, catch rates on the Kenai are starting to pick up. We’re not up to July catch rates or anything, but most guides are saying it’s been pretty good,” Miller said.
The situation on the Kasilof is much the same, according to Rocky Laster of the Kasilof Mercantile.
“It’s picking up finally. We’re starting to see more consistency and some nice-size fish being caught. A lot of 40-pounders,” he said.
Further to the south, this is the last weekend opener on the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek and fishing should be good, according to Fish and Game.
The Anchor River also opens for its second to last opener and the sonar unit located two miles upstream from saltwater continues to see consistent daily counts. On Wednesday, 120 kings were counted for 3,133 kings cumulatively.
For those who have had their fill of kings, a sprinkling of sockeye have also made their way into a few peninsula waterways.
“You have to put some time in, but reds are showing up. I’ve even heard a rumor that a few have made their way up to the Russian River,” Scott Miller said.
The Russian River opens to fishing on Sunday, however, the Sanctuary Area remains closed until July 15 unless opened early by emergency order. The daily limit for sockeye on the Kenai and Russian rivers is three fish per day and three in possession.
“Trout fishing on the Kenai opens (Sunday), too and it should also be good,” Miller said.
The Kenai River closed to rainbow trout fishing May 2 to protect spawning fish. The daily limit for rainbows on the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers is one per day and one in possession and fish must be less than 16 inches in length.
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