Tight Lines: Humpy fishing hot on the lower Kenai

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010

Anglers looking to catch some salmon on the Kenai Peninsula this weekend should think pink.

Clarion File Photo
Clarion File Photo
Steven Meadows waits for a bite while fishing for silver salmon at Cunningham Park off Beaver Loop in Kenai last year. The small park is a popular spot to chase silvers.

According to reports, the humpies are coming in thicker than pea soup in the lower Kenai River.

Jason Pawluk, assistant area manager for the Department of Fish and Game, said he was down at the Pillars Boat Launch Tuesday evening and the pinks were rolling everywhere up the river. Pawluk and his fishing buddies caught a few pinks that at first they thought were silvers because they were so bright and had yet to change to spawning colors.

They were "really, really fresh pinks," Pawluk said. "If you're looking to harvest some pink salmon in good condition now is the time."

Coho fishing has been spotty so far with anglers having some good and bad days, Palwuk said, but that should change this weekend.

He said silver salmon fishing should really pick up on the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers after the last commercial opener today.

"That should put some fish in the river this weekend," Pawluk said.

Water levels on the Kenai are still higher than historical averages, making the fishing conditions more challenging.

"It's a little bit off color," he said, which makes it "really hard to fish for resident species."

But if it is the resident fish you're after, try for rainbow trout on the Russian River, where reports indicate fishing has been good to excellent.

And trout fishing may be the best bet for the Russian, as the river closed to sockeye fishing at 12:01 a.m. today.

The department closed the Russian and the "fly-fishing-only waters" of the Kenai Tuesday after it determined the count is currently below what is needed for the targeted escapement.

Down south, silver salmon fishing has been fair so far, with the runs just starting on the Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep Creek.

Nicky Szarzi, Fish and Game's biologist in Homer, said the count on the Anchor River is higher than normal for this time of year.

"Hopefully that means we'll have good silver fishing," she said.

According to Fish and Game's Anchor River weir count, on Monday 90 silvers swam upstream for 451 cumulative coho in the river.

She said anglers looking to fish from the shores should check out Anchor River or Deep Creek this weekend because the silvers are not quite in at Homer's Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

"The return to the fishing lagoon really hasn't materialized, so there aren't many fish there," she said.

Fishing for Dolly Varden in the southern streams is also a good choice, Szarzi said, as anglers have been having good success with small clumps of salmon roe and small spinners. Fly-fishers have reported success with egg patterns, beads and Muddler Minnow patterns.

The limit on these streams for dollies is two per day and two in possession.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at brielle.schaeffer@peninsulaclarion.com

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