King season countdown on

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2009

There's nothing like a shot of cold wind and rain after weeks on end of sunny weather to remind anglers that this is a short season.

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Kenai resident Jackie Bell hooked into a 72-pound Kenai River ing while fishing with guide Danny Paulk of Kenai River King Guide Service. Jackie's husband, Bryan, helps her hold up her catch.

The clock is ticking down with only a week and two days left in the 2009 king season.

If that doesn't have some worried anglers tossing in their sleep, low visibility and mucky water pouring out of the mountains isn't helping the issue either.

"Water conditions have deteriorated and it's not ideal. It's tougher fishing conditions than they were last week," said Robert Begich, the sport fish area management biologist with Fish and Game in Soldotna.

Dave Athons, an angler from Kenai, said he went out Monday and found cloudy water and a slow bite.

"When you don't have visibility it makes a difference," he said.

He did note that the river was relatively quiet in terms of the number of drift boats he saw.

Given the time of year however, pressure may pick up this week and next.

Compounding woes, tides these past few days have been better for clamming than for king fishing.

This could help out this weekend, however.

Begich said that following the peak of the tide cycle, fishing tends to pick up a bit.

"I would expect to see fish moving into the river after the tides start to ebb," he said.

He was quick to note that fish also have a knack for doing what they please regardless of what they're supposed to do.

Sockeye fishing has been more of a roller coaster with on again, off again lulls and surges.

In the last few days the Fish and Game sockeye counts on the Kenai have fluctuated 56,000 to 28,000 fish a day.

Red fishing on the Kasilof is hot.

A strong return there prompted Fish and Game to issue an emergency order last weekend permitting anglers to keep six sockeye a day, 12 in possession.

Begich said area dipnetters fared well this past weekend.

"Saturday started slow then picked up through Monday with average and above average catches," he said.

He noted that those with boats continued to do particularly well.

Fishing is also picking back up at the Russian River, where a fresh push of fish has made it through the weir at the mouth of Lower Russian Lake.

Fish and Game has been recording a steadily improving daily fish count there since July 15.

Fish photos, tales, comments and recipes can be e-mailed to, or submitted on the Tight Lines Web page by visitng and following the Tight Lines link. Look for a photo gallery and great fishing information on the Tight Lines page.

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