King, halibut fishing heating up

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fishing might be slow for salmon on the Russian and Kasilof rivers but things are heating up for kings on the world-famous Kenai River.

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Photo By Brielle Schaeffer
Photo By Brielle Schaeffer
Emily Wideman, 14, of Grapevine, Texas, proudly displays her 45-inch king salmon at Centennial Park that she caught on the Kenai River with bait on Saturday. Fish and Game opened up the river to bait use after run numbers rebounded last week.

"It seems to be gaining momentum," said Robert Begich, area management biologist for the Department of Fish and Game. "If this is what we have to look forward to for the rest of June it's not bad at all."

On Tuesday, Fish and Game counts picked up with 537 kings swimming upstream for a total of 8,978 salmon in the river.

"A lot of anglers are having success," Begich said.

Fish and Game is allowing the use of bait from the mouth of the Kenai to a point 100 yards downstream from the confluence of the Moose and Kenai rivers. Slot limits are in effect.

Steve Anderson, owner of Soldotna's Alaska Fishing Charters, said the best bet for this weekend is probably fishing for Kenai kings or Homer halibut.

"Halibut fishing has been great," he said. "We've been catching average fish, about 25 pounds, but we have caught some 40, 60 and 80-pounders."

While these flatfish are not as big as the derby behemoths, Anderson said he prefers catching the smaller ones because they make for better eating.

All of his clients have been catching their bag limits in halibut, he said.

Leading the Homer Halibut Derby for June is Phil Dean of Roseville, Minn. with his 247.2-pound fish. In Seward, the derby leader there is still Aaron Buscher of Conifer, Colo. with his 337-pounder.

Anglers can also try for halibut out of Deep Creek and Anchor Point where Fish and Game reports the fishing has been good to excellent.

Things are not looking so hot on the Russian, where anglers have reported tedious and crowded fishing conditions.

"It's a little slow but if you put your time in people get their limits," said Dewayne Holt of Alaska Troutfitters. "It's boiling down to people being in the right place at the right time."

Last weekend things were crazy in Cooper Landing, he said.

Russian River ferry "had a line of traffic out to the road," Holt said. "It's definitely the kind of traffic you'd expect to see when they open the sanctuary."

The sanctuary is still closed to all sport fishing.

Begich said he recommends waiting to fish on the Russian.

"We currently have good numbers of fish making their way up to the weir but the fishery is still slow," he said.

On Tuesday, Fish and Game counts jumped from double to quadruple digits on the Russian with 1,142 fish swimming through the weir for a total of 1,836 fish.

If it's trout you're after, fishing on the Russian and the Kenai has been decent.

"They are there to be had for the rainbows and the Dollies," Holt said about the Russian River.

Begich said the water has been coming down on the Kenai to make for good visibility and fishing conditions for rainbows there.

King fishing in the Kasilof has been slow as well, Begich said, but there has been an increase of red salmon coming into the river.

Remember to always check the 2010 Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary before putting a line in the water. Hardcopies of the regs can be found anywhere licenses are sold, or online at

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at

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