While the king salmon fishery has largely ended and the sockeye salmon fishery is slowing down after moving past it’s peak, anglers shouldn’t put away their tackle just yet, because the silver salmon fishery is preparing to take off.
Silvers are reaching the peak of their run in Homer and have already started to show in other waterways of the lower Kenai Peninsula.
“The silvers are coming in,” said Carol Kerkvliet, an assistant management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Homer.
She said the flood tide has been washing in silvers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (formerly the Homer Spit Fishing Hole), which should bode well for young anglers this weekend.
“We have a youth fishing day coming up on Saturday,” Kerkvliet said.
A portion of the best fishing area at the Lagoon will be set aside for kids 15 and under only to fish between 12:01 a.m. and midnight.
Kerkvliet explained the intention of the event is to give youngsters some prime fishing opportunities while also promoting good fishing ethics and sportsmanship.
“We’ll also have Fish and Game employees there helping out and giving demonstrations from noon until 4 p.m.,” she said, and the Mobile Aquatic Classroom will be on hand with free activities.
According to Fish and Game, cured salmon eggs are the best bet when fishing the incoming tide, but herring also works. In slack water in the lagoon, fish the eggs and herring below a bobber. Also, Vibrax spinners are working well inside and outside of the lagoon.
The daily bag and possession limit for silver salmon is six in the lagoon area.
Anglers fishing the Anchor River have also reported a sprinkling of silver salmon this past week. This fishery should improve over the weekend and continue building steam throughout next week.
The upstream areas of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River, opened to fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow/steelhead trout on Monday.
Fish and Game reminds anglers that rainbow/steelhead trout may not be retained or taken out of the water and must be released immediately.
Steelhead are also starting to enter the rivers and are catch-and-release only as well. Anglers should know the differences between a steelhead and a silver salmon to avoid any harvest accidents.
Rainbow/steelhead have black spots all over both lobes of the tail, while silvers have black spots only on the upper lobe of the tail.
Rainbow/steelhead also have a white mouth with white gums at the base of the teeth on the lower jaw, while silvers have a black mouth with white gums at the base of the teeth on the lower jaw.
Further to the north, Crooked Creek also opened to trout fishing on Monday. Angling pressure has been quite high from the start despite fishing conditions that have been fair to good at best.
On the Kenai River, anglers targeting Dolly Varden and/or rainbow trout have also reported fair to good success.
“Below the (Skilak) lake and in the lower river trout fishing has been pretty good. The fish are still a little thin, but they’re being caught,” said Brian Miller, who works at Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing in Soldotna.
Fish and Game is expecting the success of anglers targeting trout both above and below Skilak Lake to skyrocket when the salmon begin to spawn over the next few weeks.
This is due to the fact that the feeding patterns of trout become voracious at this time.
Miller said silver salmon are also starting to trickle into the Kenai in low numbers.
“We’ve been getting reports of a few being caught here and there from people targeting kings,” he said. However, reports from the marine fishery indicate a lot of silvers actively feeding, so when the fish do begin to enter the river more consistently, it may be in relatively large numbers.
Sockeye salmon continue to enter the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, but the daily counts are dwindling.
The Fish and Game daily estimate for Kenai River sockeye was 21,349 salmon on Wednesday for a cumulative total of 906,444 sockeye.
However, the Russian River weir count for the same day was quite low for this time of year. Only 845 sockeye passed through the weir on Wednesday for a cumulative 15,863 sockeye.
On the Kasilof River, an estimated 2,935 sockeye swam in on Wednesday for a whopping 317,199 sockeye cumulatively.
The Kenai personal use dip net fishery has closed for the season, while the Kasilof personal use dip net fishery remains open until Sunday. However, dip netting has been reported to be slow.
Fish and Game is asking anyone that has already met their dip net limit for salmon, or that hasn’t but is not intending to dip net for the remainder of the season, to please mail in their permits as soon as possible.
Permits must be returned at the end of the dip net season. Permittees who fail to comply with reporting requirements may be subject to a $200 fine and will be ineligible to receive a personal use permit next year.
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