New rules help the king hunt

Posted: Friday, July 02, 2004

A couple of changes went into effect Thursday that favor Kenai River anglers looking to take home a king salmon.

Bait now can be used from the mouth of the Kenai all the way up to Skilak Lake. Further, between the mouth of the Kenai and the Soldotna bridge, there is no longer a size limit for king salmon.

Between the Soldotna bridge and Skilak Lake, king salmon still must be less than 44 inches or 55 inches or longer in order to be kept.

Laurissa Cox, an employee at Ken's Alaskan Tackle in Soldotna, said bait improved the fishing on the Kenai River on Thursday. Cox said Ken's had a couple of guides on the river, and on each boat three of the four clients landed kings. There was nothing over 50 pounds in the mix.

Jamie Rasmussen, an office manager with Rod N Real Fishing Charters, said her employer had three guide boats on the river Thursday, and each boat landed two fish, with the biggest being a 55-pounder.

Not being able to use bait didn't stop Arizona angler Steve Hucky and his guide, Greg Brush, from landing a notable fish Wednesday. Hucky caught and released a fish 55 inches long and 34 inches in girth. Brush used a Kenai king-specific formula to estimate the size of the fish at 86 pounds. That is the biggest fish caught in Brush's guide boat in 15 years.

As for the sockeye fishing in the Russian River area, Eric Burg, an administrative clerk with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, said the fishing has slowed down.

"On the upper Kenai, they're waiting for the second run of fish to show up," Burg said.

Even though there will be big tides this weekend suitable to clamming, the halibut fishing has been great in Cook Inlet.

Rasmussen said halibut fishing out of Deep Creek has been superb, with fishers regularly limiting out.

In Homer, Tabor Ashment, owner of The Sport Shed, also said anglers are having no problems limiting out with halibut.

Tuesday, Don Hanks of Sparks, Nev., took over the lead in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby with a 352.6-pounder. It is the largest halibut to be weighed in the derby in the last six years. In 1997, a 359.3-pounder won the derby.

Ashment also said snagging in the Homer fishing lagoon opened Thursday at noon and is going full bore. He said a lot of fish had been taken out by Thursday afternoon. Snagging will remain open until Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

Burg also said fishing on the stocked lakes should be good right now. For example, he said Johnson Lake should be yielding some good rainbow fishing.



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