It's often said that when a door of opportunity closes, a window opens and that's just the case in regard to this weekend's fishing opportunities.
The closing door of the peninsula is the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek. This is the final weekend to fish for king salmon on these two waterways.
"The fishing on Deep Creek should be good, but it'll likely be a little slower up on the Ninilchik," said Stan Harrington, of the Anchor Angler tackle shop in Anchor Point.
He explained that pokier fishing on the Ninilchik is the product of two factors: below average water levels and increased angling pressure as a result of the two-fish bag limit only one of which may be wild.
Further to the south, fishing on the Anchor River should be very good both this weekend and next weekend according to Harrington.
"This is typically the middle of the run when a lot of fish are coming through and a lot are holding in the river," he said.
The weir count on the Anchor River recorded 775 king salmon passing by on Wednesday for a cumulative 6,195 kings so far this season.
"Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon we'll also be having our Kid's All-American Fishing Derby at the Anchor River," Harrington said.
The event includes a big fish contest and casting contests. There will also be a picnic provided for contestants and families, sponsored by the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, Anchor Angler and the Southern Peninsula Sportsman's Association. All events are free to kids under the age of 16.
For more information on the derby, call 907-235-8351.
The opening window of fishing opportunity on the peninsula is the Russian River and the upper Kenai River.
The upper Kenai, downstream of the Russian River ferry crossing, and the Russin River above Fish and Game markers near its mouth, open Saturday. The mainstem Kenai River between the ferry crossing and the poerlines, as well as the Russian River upstream to Fish and Game markers 600 yards below the falls, and are fly-fishing only waters with restrictions on tackle.
Dedicated anglers may be able to pick up a sockeye or two. Counts for the weir at the outlet of Lower Russian Lake began on Tuesday with 108 sockeye, followed by 219 sockeye on Wednesday for a total of 327 fish so far this season. Trout and Dolly Varden fishing should be excellent in these areas.
Anglers should note though, the sanctuary area at the confluence of the two rivers remains closed by regulation until July 14, though Fish and Game may open it sooner by emergency order.
For salmon, particularly king salmon, the lower Kenai River should start to really produce this weekend if this year is anything like the last two years, and, so far, sonar information is looking like the run is right on track for a big push of fish to enter the river.
On Wednesday, 744 king salmon passed the Kenai River sonar counter, this was a jump from 419 kings on Tuesday. So far this season, 4,428 kings have passed the sonar counter.
In 2003 and 2004, the second week of June was when the first big slug of fish came in, and daily sonar counts jumped to between 600 and 800 kings.
On the Kasilof River, fishing also continues to be fair to good depending on whether anglers fish from shore or a boat.
Most drift boats are reporting good angling success, although many of the salmon being caught are wild fish, and therefore only keepers on Tuesdays or Saturdays.
One local guide reported his clients caught 17 salmon in one drift last week, of which only one fish was a keeper.
However, catching that many fish even if they must be released is still better than most bank anglers are doing.
After a dreadfully slow start to the season, bank fishing picked up to fair but spotty this past week, particularly at the ever-crowded "People Hole" where the waters of the Kasilof River and Crooked Creek meet.
Many of the fish being caught were jacks or small salmon in the 10 to 12 pound range, although a few fish weighing more than 20 pounds have been landed.
For those looking to get a jump on the sockeye dipnet season, the 2005 Upper Cook Inlet personal Use Salmon permits are now available from licensed vendors and at Fish and Game offices in Soldotna and Homer.
A list of vendors can be obtained from the Internet at www. sf.adfg.state.ak.us/region2 /areas/kenai/cipusalmonvend. cfm.
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