King fishing hot on Lower Kenai

Posted: Friday, July 07, 2006

Fishing is starting to heat up on the Kenai River and the bite should get even hotter as July progresses.

“King fishing on the Kenai is pretty darn good right now,” said Scott Miller of Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing in Soldotna.

Miller said he makes this statement based on first hand experience.

“The fishing has been really good on the lower river. We’ve caught no less than three fish every time we’ve gone out,” he said.

All the usual spots seem to be producing, Miller said, citing the Pastures, the Pillars and Eagle Rock, just to name a few holes that are hitting.

A few kings are even starting to make their way as far up river as the Sunken Island hole, he said.

Miller said the guides seem to be do equally well as of late.

“They all say its going pretty well. It’s been a lot of jacks, but the big fish are starting to show now that the second run is starting. I saw a 76-pounder hanging up just a few nights ago,” he said.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported the preliminary estimate for early-run kings — counted by their sonar station located 8.6 miles from the mouth of the Kenai river — was 23,880 kings. This is significantly more early-run fish than was counted the past two years.

For management purposes, Saturday, July 1 was the start of the late-run king salmon on the Kenai River. On Wednesday, the counter recorded 953 kings passing by for a cumulative 2,989 kings so far in the late-run.

Miller added sockeye fishing on the upper Kenai and Russian rivers remains excellent.

“The fish are still coming in good at the Russian. It’s just been a really good run, better than I think anyone expected,” he said.

Miller added that his brother fished at the Russian river just two nights ago, and was in and out of the crowded fishery.

“He got four fish in 20 minutes. They were all still bright, too,” he said.

Fish and Game reported on Wednesday that 1,845 sockeye passed their weir at the outlet of Lower Russian Lake. With this, 61,754 sockeye have made it to escapement so far this season.

Trout fishing on the upper Kenai River has also been sensational, both above and below Skilak Lake.

Also, Fish and Game reported that many anglers targeting kings in the lower river are incidentally catching rainbows.

The Kenai River watershed is now open for Dolly Varden as well. Anglers should expect good fishing for Dollys on waterways to the south, particularly Anchor River and Deep Creek.

Further south, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit opened to snagging for kings on Thursday. Snagging remains open through midnight Sunday.

Silver salmon should be showing up at the Lagoon soon, possibly as early as next week.

The Kasilof River personal use dipnet fishery remains open, but fishing has been slow.

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens Monday and is expected to be poor, based on predictions of weak sockeye returns.

On Wednesday, 2,757 sockeye were counted by sonar for a cumulative 13,458 sockeye so far in the late-run.

As Miller stated, “There may not be big numbers, but there should be a few fish for dipping.”

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