Soldotna resident Angie Hall is shown with her 63 pound King she pulled out of the Kenai River near Eagle Rock on Wednesday. Hall was fishing with Travis Endsley and Kurt Watkins, both of Soldotna.
Photo courtesy of Travis Endsley
Last weekend’s king fishing would be hard to top, but if the marine sport fishery is any indication, it will still be worthwhile to wet a hook Saturday and Sunday.
“I think we’ll see it turn around in a big way toward this weekend and into next week,” said Brian Miller of Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing in Soldotna.
This should be good news to anglers, particularly those who saw the daily return of kings drop off almost overnight Monday after a slowly, steady buildup for more than a week.
According the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s sonar counter, 8.6 miles from the mouth of the Kenai River, no less than 800 salmon a day had passed by since July 4. As many as 1,269 kings came in last Saturday alone.
By Monday, however, the daily number of kings dropped to 446, then 310 on Tuesday, and 431 on Wednesday for a cumulative 7,805 so far in the late run.
Miller attributed the drop to the recent series of extreme tides, but said, “As the big tides ebb, we should see some fish.”
Miller added that the marine sport fishery has also been producing lots of fish big ones, too.
“The saltwater fishing has been good to great. I know of at least one 86-pounder caught in the salt this week, and you know if it was that big it was headed to the Kenai,” he said.
While the marine fishery was undoubtedly better than the fresh-water fishery this week, some in-river anglers willing to put time in on the Kenai also saw rewards.
“The fish are there, you’ve just got to get down there and work at it a bit,” Miller said.
Angie Hall of Soldotna can vouch for that. She worked a 63-pound king onto the sharp end of her line Wednesday after several hours at Eagle Rock.
“It was pretty sweet. I’ve never caught a king before. It was my first one,” she said.
Hall said the fish also put up quite a fight.
“It took me 20 minutes before I even saw it at the surface, then it was another 10 minutes before I got it into the boat,” she said.
It took three people to hoist the fish out of the water, she said. It measured out at 51inches long and 31inches around.
While all signs indicate the king fishing should soon be solid, the same isn’t true for sockeye, which continue to trickle into the Kenai in low numbers.
According to Fish and Game, on Wednesday a puny 2,000 sockeye entered the Kenai River for a cumulative 36,000 sockeye so far in the late-run.
“We’re still hoping a big push of reds is coming,” Miller said .
If the reds are coming, they better hurry because silvers are already showing up, which means pinks won’t be too far behind.
“There’s been a few silvers showing up way down the (Kenai) river,” Miller said.
Silvers also are showing up further to the south. A few have passed the weir on the Anchor River, and Fish and Game reported the silver fishing is fair at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer.
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