Big kings showing in Kenai

Fishing Report

Posted: Friday, July 07, 2000

Fishing for king salmon on the Kasilof River has slowed as the early run is tapering off, but the late-run kings are starting to make their way up the Kenai River.

"We've had some spectacular fishing lately," said Nathan Warren at the Kenai Riverbend Resort, located just outside Soldotna off Ciechanski Road.

Warren said a family fishing trip with guide Mike Kelly led to some impressive results as a 6-year-old angler landed a 55-pound and a 72-pound king salmon in two days of fishing.

"That kid was just a spectacular fisherman," Warren said.

Warren said the series of big tides over the past week has brought some big fish into the river, and the king fishing has been excellent in the lower part of the river, particularly in the early-morning hours.

"There's a lot of fish coming in at about the 55-pound range, and there seems to be a lot more 60-pounders than in past years," Warren said.

Anglers fishing from boats have been landing kings using Kwikfish with sardines, according to Warren.

"At times, you'll get a good bite on a Spin-n-Glo and eggs," Warren said.

Anglers should remember that while bait is legal in the Kenai River, tackle is still restricted to single hooks. Bait and treble hooks are allowed in the Kasilof River.

Warren said anglers are awaiting the second run of sockeye salmon with baited breath, but in the meantime, the trout fishing also has been stellar.

"An angler hooked a 7-pound rainbow off the boat launch, which is huge for this part of the river," Warren said. "We're sending a lot of people to the stocked lakes -- the ones off Swanson River Road, and Johnson Lake or Longmere Lake are excellent -- they're mostly catching rainbows there."

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stocks 28 lakes on the Kenai Peninsula with trout and salmon. Bait is legal in all lakes on the peninsula, except for parts of Kenai Lake.

Warren suggested using spinners in the various stocked lakes.

"Spinners, or maybe a single egg on a Mepps," Warren said.

Fish and Game reports that fishing at the confluence of the Russian River and the Kenai River for red salmon has tapered off and likely will remain slow until the late run of sockeyes hits the river later this month.

For something a little different, try heading to Hope on July 15 for the start of the pink salmon derby. Hope Fishing Charters owner Barbara Wright is putting up an ounce of gold for the biggest pink.

The ninth annual derby runs through August 15th because, as Wright said, "You never know when those pinks are going to come in."

Wright said the pink salmon haven't shown up in the creeks around Hope just yet, but they're expected to make an appearance any day.

Call Hope Fishing Charters at 782-3268 for more information on the derby.

While the average halibut caught in Cook Inlet or out of Homer weighs in at 25 pounds, many anglers are coming back with much larger fish -- anywhere from 70 to 200 pounds.

"We had four in our boat over 100 pounds the other day," said Carl High of Flat Fun Charters in Homer. "I know they say the biomass is down, but we're seeing an increase this year in numbers and size."

In addition to halibut, High also fishes for salmon and rockfish, which he called "guaranteed action."

High said he generally targets pelagic rockfish, which includes the black rockfish and the yellowtail rockfish, also known as the black bass.

"We work the shallower reefs for rockfish," High said. "People have a blast."

The Anchor River, the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek are closed for the rest of the season to king salmon fishing, but anglers are permitted to fish the saltwater right up to the rivers' mouths for the late-run kings moving through Cook Inlet.

Late-run kings also are beginning to find their way into the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon, while red salmon have been spotted at China Poot Bay.

Fishing for king salmon from the beaches in Seward has slowed in the past week as the early run is tapering off, but silver salmon and pink salmon are starting to make their way into Resurrection Bay, according to Fish and Game reports.

Fishing for halibut and rockfish out of Seward has been steady, with most boats limiting out in short trips. A 215-pound halibut was landed near Nuka Bay.

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