Chinook season ends big

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

The king salmon fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula closed Wednesday, but anglers reported catches of some big fish over the past week.

On Tuesday, Jackie Johnson of Kenai reeled in an 82-pound king while fishing near Beaver Creek.

Also Tuesday, Ester Mulcahy of Sterling caught a 72-pound king while fishing from a private boat with "Island" Dan Schaff.

"She's phenomenal. She's my good luck charm," Schaff said.

Mulcahy had quite a battle on her hands, taking between 45 minutes and an hour to boat the fish after it nearly broke her pole, then wrapped the line around the propeller.

Schaff said they were lucky to be fishing near the chinook sonar sight at River Mile 8.6 during high tide, when the river's current is slowed by the tidal action.

"It was like catching a king in a big pond," Schaff said.

Anglers will have a couple more days to catch their breath before the Kenai River opens to fishing for silver salmon. Silvers, also called coho salmon, cannot be targeted until Sunday.

Regulations governing fishing on the Kenai changed significantly Thursday. In addition to last week's emergency order upping the bag limit for salmon from three to six fish, only two of which can be silvers, anglers now are allowed to use multiple hooks, such as treble hooks or two single hooks.

Bait fishing downstream of the Sterling Highway bridge in Soldotna is prohibited during the silver salmon closure.

For anglers that just can't wait until Sunday, the silvers are in at the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon. The lagoon is reported to be packed with bright silvers that are biting on spinners, and the daily bag limit in the vicinity of the lagoon is six silvers.

Silvers also have been spotted in the Anchor River, and the entire lengths of the Anchor, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River are open to fishing for Dolly Varden.

Adding to anglers' fun is the run of pink salmon, which hits the Kenai Peninsula in even-numbered years. While many anglers consider pinks just to be in the way while trying to fish for other species, the small salmon readily take any fly or bait and can be a blast to catch on light tackle.

Fishing for trout on the Russian River and upper Kenai River also has been reported to be good, with rainbows taking flesh and egg patterns.

Halibut fishing out of Homer, Anchor Point and Ninilchik has been good, with plenty of fish in the 40- to 60-pound range.

Good clam tides hit the peninsula Wednesday, which could make fishing for a barn door halibut a little tougher, but some big ones have been brought in recently, including the new Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby leader, a 347-pounder caught by Clayton McDowell of Eagle River Sunday.

Halibut fishing out of Seward continues to be good. The limit for salmon out of Seward is six per day. Inside Resurrection Bay, all six can be silver salmon. Outside the bay, south of a line from Cape Resurrection to Cape Aialik, only three salmon can be silvers.

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