Time of year for variety of catching: Water levels may be high but fishing opportunities are higher

Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2010

During the last part of the prime fishing season here on the Kenai Peninsula, sport anglers have a variety of options for netting souvenirs or simply dinner even with the high water levels.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Logan Schmidt, of Minnesota, and Paul Drenth, of Michigan, fish for silver salmon in the Kenai River at Cunningham Park in Kenai on Thursday afternoon. They said the fishing was slow but were happy for the good weather. "I'm definitely a fair weather fisherman," Schmidt said.

Robert Begich, area management biologist for the Department of Fish and Game, said there are many fishing opportunities this weekend.

"That's the good thing this time of year," Begich said.

He recommended anglers try fishing for halibut or silvers on the saltwater, rainbow trout and silvers on the upper Kenai and Russian rivers as well as hunting for coho on the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers.

Trout fishing on the Russian has been "excellent," Begich said, and the low exchange for tide stages over the next few days should make for some good catching.

Fishing for silvers has been "sporadic" but it should be improving, he said.

"People that want to fish coho are having trouble fishing through the pinks," Begich said. "But it's getting better everyday."

He suggests anglers try to fish for silvers using similar methods as fishing for kings with eggs on the bottom and with sardine wrapped plugs.

"Casting spinners and fishing bait under bobbers is also a good way," he said.

The large amounts of rainfall this month has made the water levels in both the Kasilof and Kenai rivers high, which means fair conditions.

"Hopefully the water will clear up here without the rain," Begich said.

Kyle Kelley, general manager of Alaska Wildland Adventures in Cooper Landing, said the high water levels has made fishing difficult on the Russian and upper Kenai.

"Silvers have been still slow up here," he said. "We haven't seen a lot of salmon come up river like in years past."

But, Kelley said, fishing for rainbows should be a good bet for this weekend.

"Trout is just starting to pick up. The king eggs are just starting to get laid," he said. "Fishing gets better with that."

The appetite of trout picks up when king salmon spawn so the fish are more likely to bite lines.

Down south, silvers are coming in but high water means they're coming in fast.

Carol Kerkvliet, assistant area management biologist for Fish and Game in Homer, said the silvers are coming into the Ninilchik and Anchor rivers and Deep Creek in good numbers.

On Tuesday, 438 silvers swam upstream for a total of 2,502 fish in the Anchor, according to Fish and Game's weir count.

"With these higher water levels fish seem to move faster into the river and upstream through the fishery," she said, meaning anglers have been having a "mixed success" because the fish are not holding downstream.

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

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