Kenai high water poses a challenge

Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fishing on the Kenai River this weekend, area anglers have just as much of a chance of catching lawn furniture as they do a fish.

The river, which has been subsiding from high water levels in late July and early August, shot back up over the past weekend.

While river levels should be on their way back down by the weekend, the movement of silvers and sockeye in the river channels has again been changed.

That may not be a bad thing though.

Lynn Smith, a program technician with the Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, said angler reports have indicated there's still good sockeye fishing in the upper Kenai.

She also said the Russian River remains a good option as it has not been impacted by the high water levels.

"Sockeye fishing in the upper Kenai and Russian River is excellent," she said.

While silver fishing has been good to most anglers on the Kenai, the constant fluctuation of water levels means the fish are likely to be changing their travel lanes by the day in some places.

The fish may be swimming in areas that are normally well above water this time of year. This means throwing hardware is a potentially good bet. Target areas were you see grassy banks, backwater sloughs and debris hanging out in the water.

There's a good chance you'll fund a silver resting in areas like these, and with the right presentation, you may entice a strike.

The increased water turbidity adds a challenge, as does the large amount of debris that's heading down river for those fishing from boats.

Remember that silvers are skittish and should be fished for much as one might hunt. Stealth and surprise are perhaps the two best assets an angler has with silvers. Always approach suspected holes slowly and quietly to avoid spooking them. If dropping anchor, do so as discreetly as possible. Silvers are known to be very sensitive to noise.

Last weekend's rain was good news on the Anchor River.

Nicky Szarzi, the Department of Fish and Game management biologist in Homer, said a shot of fish went up the Anchor on Saturday after rainfall sent the river level up.

Since the weekend, she said the fishing's fallen off some and only a few fish have been filtering in by the day.

Another rise in water levels there will likely send more fish up the river though, so keep your eye on the weather.

Szarzi said fishing on the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek has also been decent.

Anglers have found less success on the Homer Spit.

"It's slow on the spit, sadly," Szarzi said, of silver fishing in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

She said the late run fish are expected to return anytime though, and are normally coming in thick this time of year.

In Cook Inlet, silver fishing has been decent.

"People are going way out and limiting out," Szarzi said.

Anglers are running about 25 miles out into the central inlet, Szarzi reported.

Trout fishermen and women should be starting to think about gearing up for the fall season.

While the current water conditions on the Kenai may not be ideal yet, other area rivers are still good bets, as are the many area lakes and ponds.

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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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