Happy anglers

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2002

Perhaps the best way to judge just how good the fishing is, is to ignore the fish tales and instead, pay attention to the grumbling, or lack thereof, from folks after they spend time on the river.

"I haven't heard any complaining," said Darwin Peterson, owner of Kenai Cache Tackle in Cooper Landing.

Peterson reported that fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden on the upper Kenai River and its tributaries has been excellent over the past week, and with plenty of salmon spawning in the river, he expects things to only get better.

"On the upper part of the river, from the Kenai bridge (located at the outlet of Kenai Lake) down to Sportsman's (Landing) has done exceptionally good the last few days," Peterson said. "There's lass traffic on the upper part, and it's been producing probably better than the (part of the Kenai River on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge) has."

Peterson said that his guides have had catches of 27- to 28-inch Dolly Varden, and added that a fair number of silver salmon have made their way into the upper Kenai and the Russian River.

"It's not any more than average," Peterson said of the silver run. "The Russian River is pretty good for silvers. With the clear water, they may be a little easier for people to catch.

"But the trout fishing has been so good, I don't think anybody's complaining about not catching silvers."

Fly-fishing-only restrictions on the Russian and its confluence with the Kenai ended Tuesday, but anglers still are restricted to unbaited, single-hook artificial lures in those areas. Fishing for red salmon on the upper Kenai closed Wednesday, though Peterson said there are still plenty of spawning sockeyes in the river.

"On Quartz Creek the fishing is not as good as normal because there's so many reds, it's hard to get down through them to catch the trout and Dollies," Peterson said.

Peterson also reported good lake fishing, particularly on the Russian Lakes and on Crescent Lake for grayling.

Anglers fishing the lower Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the Upper Killey River are allowed to use multiple hooks and bait in their pursuit of silver and pink salmon.

The early run of silvers typically peaks during the third week of August, and anglers typically use Spin-N-Glos with eggs, bright spoons or spinners, and smaller sized Kwikfish when targeting silver and pink salmon.

Good fishing for silvers and pinks is available on the Kasilof River, where bait and multiple hooks are legal.

Runs of silver salmon on the lower peninsula streams, including the Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River, also are reported to be excellent.

"There's some superb silver salmon fishing here," said Heath Harrington at the Anchor Angler tackle shop.

Harrington said the rain from the last few days has improved fishing conditions.

"It got the river up a little bit, and the fish are storming in," Harrington said.

Harrington said that there hadn't been much of a crowd, and that just about any tackle was working.

"Eggs are the best, but guys using flies or spinners are doing well too," Harrington said.

Harrington also said that the run of steelhead trout has started entering the streams on the lower peninsula. Anglers need to be able to distinguish steelhead from silvers as steelhead are a catch-and-release-only species.

Late run silvers have begun to show at the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon, and halibut fishing on lower Cook Inlet has been good, though weather can frequently cancel trips at this time of year.

Anglers should be familiar with fishing regulations before heading out. Many regulations change during the month of August, and restrictions can vary by location.

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