The fireweed blossoms have just about reached the ends of their stalks, but for many anglers on the Kenai Peninsula, the fishing season is just getting under way.
"That's definitely it -- the fishing sometimes is better, and there's nobody here to compete with you," said Cameron Hawthorne of Kenai Lake Tackle in Cooper Landing as to why autumn is many anglers' favorite season. "If you go down to the confluence (of the Russian and Kenai rivers) right now, there's literally hundreds of silvers from the Russian down to the ferry and five to 30 people down there fishing, depending on the day. Even guys that are new are coming back with their two fish, which is saying something."
Hawthorne said that anglers have been using a variety of flies -- dark-colored streamers, egg-sucking leaches, Kenai bugs, and lost of dead-drifted beads.
Hawthorne added that trout fishing on the upper Kenai River also has been excellent.
On the middle and lower portions of the Kenai River, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reporting good numbers of silver salmon in the water. Anglers have been reporting difficult fishing conditions, though, due to the number of pink salmon in the river.
Bright spoons and spinners, Spin-N-Glos with salmon eggs and smaller Kwikfish have been the tackle of choice for anglers chasing both species.
Pink and silver salmon also can be found in good numbers on the Kasilof River. Anglers should be aware that steelhead may not be retained from the mouth of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge.
On the lower peninsula, fishing for silvers in the Anchor River and Deep Creek has been excellent, with many anglers opting for salmon eggs and small corkies, and the run is expected to remain strong through the holiday weekend.
Dolly Varden and pink salmon also are in the river in good numbers, as are steelhead trout. Steelhead must be released immediately, and anglers need to be able to distinguish a steelhead from a silver salmon when fishing.
Regulations on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River change Sunday, with anglers restricted to single hooks without the use of bait.
Fair weather over the past week has made for nice conditions on Cook Inlet for halibut fishing. Boats run a little further from port at this time of year as halibut begin to migrate into deeper water, but a series of small tides should provide a good window for anglers trying to catch that barn door before the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby ends Monday.
The late run of silver salmon has arrived at the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon, and anglers are finding good success drifting eggs near the inlet channel or casting spoons and spinners around the lagoon.
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