As summer fades quickly into fall, tourists leave and the salmon spawn in many area rivers, fishing on the Kenai Peninsula remains steady.
Anglers who have been casting their luck for silver salmon know that it has been slow but should pick up with the late-run near the middle of the month. Those after rainbow trout and Dolly Varden know that this is the peak timeframe for fishing those two species, in early September when salmon spawning means resident fish are biting.
"It's not been fantastic but it's been steady," said Scott Miller owner of Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing about silver catching on the Kenai River. "If you're going out there you can expect to catch a fish if you put a couple hours of fishing in."
He said the pink salmon have been thinning out on the Kenai River making it easier to catch the coho.
Jason Pawluk, assistant area management biologist for the Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, said the pink salmon are spawning.
"The majority of them should be dying off here probably within a week or two. There's not very many fresh pinks," he said.
Also, he said, there seems to be less of an abundance of pinks this year than in years past in the middle Kenai River.
"People are happy about that because it makes a little bit easier to get to the silvers without having to go through 30 pinks," he said.
Pawluk said silver fishing has slowed for now but should pick up shortly.
"The lower Kenai is going to be a little slower than what's it's been until we get that big push of silvers in mid-September," he said. "With the silver salmon there's kind of an early component and a later component. We're entering that period of time being in between the two pulses of fish."
Miller said he went out the other night with some friends on a boat and each caught their limit in silvers in about an hour using eggs as bait.
"We caught our silvers pretty fast," he said.
Miller recommended bobber fishing with eggs to land silvers on the lower river.
The bag limit for silver salmon changed from two a day/two in possession to three a day/three in possession Sept. 1 for fish caught in the middle and lower Kenai river.
Dave Goggia of Kenai's Hooky Charters recommended anglers get out in the morning to increase their chances of catching, especially on the sunny days forecasted for this week.
"When the sun gets on the water they quit biting," he said.
Pawluk said the Kasilof River has been good for silver salmon fishing.
"The Kasilof is seeing a pretty good return of silvers," he said. "Everybody we've talked to has nothing but good things to say about Kasilof."
He said the size of the salmon has been consistently big, to the extent that anglers keep bringing in their coho catches to see if they are trophy-sized. None have been, but the fish have ranged from 12 to 15 pounds.
"They're good sized fish and they're spread throughout from the mouth all the way up to Tustumena Lake," Pawluk said.
Trout and dolly fishing has been good throughout the whole river and on the lower river too, Miller said.
He said people have been drifting shrimp and catching those trout.
"The river below Skilak Lake is doing really great for both rainbows and dollies," he said.
But anglers might want to check out the upper river and Russian River as well.
"This is the peak of rainbow and dolly fishing on the upper Kenai for beads," Pawluk said.
Silvers should be up there in good numbers in the holes, he said, which means fishing upstream for them could be promising.
Down on the Southern Peninsula streams, anglers have reported fair to good catches of coho on Deep Creek and the Anchor River, according to Fish and Game's report form there.
According to the department's coho weir count on the Anchor, some 141 swam upstream Sunday for a total of 4,417 silvers since counts began July 21.
But fishing for silver salmon in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit has remained poor.
The Homer Halibut Derby remains hot and heavy with a new 277.6 pound jackpot leader. It was landed last Saturday by Jamie Olvera of Fairbanks. The derby goes on through the rest of the month.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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