2015 Season Recap

20150604_115419The 2015 season was one to remember for a number of reasons. Most notably was the resurgence of our beleaguered king salmon returns. The season started like it has for many of the past 26 years with dumping the drift boats into the Kasilof and looking for those first king salmon of the season. It did not take long to find success and for several weeks in late May into mid June we saw very consistent action for king salmon on the Kasilof. The run was a mix of both hatchery and wild kings and we stayed with this fishery until noticeable amounts of sockeye began to arrive in early June. With multiple thousands hitting the mouth of the river with every tide, we soon transitioned to sockeye trips and we enjoyed launching the drift boats just below Tustamena Lake and floating through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

20150620_094525We have a number of very productive bars to choose from and for several consecutive weeks we saw great success for what many consider to be the best eating of all Alaska salmon. The sockeye are also very strong fighters and catching a three fish limit was very rewarding for our guests. King salmon action definitely tapered off somewhat in late June but the sockeye just kept coming into the first week of July and beyond. On the Kenai, after being closed to king fishing for May and June, the Kenai opened for the first time of the season for kings on July 1 and success was limited. Numbers did improve as we got deeper into July and really over all it was much more “normal” king season than we have seen in the past several seasons. Numbers, while not necessarily abundant, did manage to meet minimum escapement goals and the fishery did remain open until its season closure on Aug 1. For us the mediocre king salmon action was not enough to deter us from the building sockeye run and after trasitionsting from the Kasilof to the Kenai sometime in the second week of July, we saw instant success and it lasted for many weeks. The late run of Kenai River sockeye never really arrived in one huge wave but rather paced itself over the course of a month to six weeks. The run was going strong even in August and it was one of the latest returns I can remember in many many years. By contrast, the early run of Kenai silvers was notably late. Normally the silvers are in the Kenai in catchable numbers by the second week of August at the latest but this year we did not have enough silvers to have dependable action until well after mid month. Even though the run was late, when it did arrive, it arrived with a fury. 20150717_072525The numbers were excellent and from around August 20 well into September and beyond, the Kenai seemed literally filled with silver salmon. The first big waves and the best fishing was on the lower tidal reaches of the river and it was not until late in the month and into September that we started to see decent action upriver below Skilak Lake. Once the fish arrived below the lake we were able to find non-stop action even into November as pulses of fresh silvers just continued to arrive. 20150730_082019bTrophy trout fishing was as incredible as ever this season with good fishing available from mid June well into late fall. We put many fish over ten pounds in the net this year and it never ceases to amaze me the numbers and average size of our rainbow population. Perhaps the most overlooked and underrated fishery in Alaska, the Kenai truly is a world class trophy trout fishery. Fly out fishing was also very productive this year with the notable exception of the Wolverine Creek sockeye run in June. This year the fish did not arrive until well into July and this is well beyond their normal arrival pattern. By the time they showed up in decent numbers we had already transitioned over to the abundant silver salmon that began to flood the nearby Kustatan river in mid July. This run lasted well into late August and neighboring west cook inlet rivers like Bachatna Creek, the Chuit and even Big River all saw really strong silver returns in 2015. Halibut fishing from nearby Cook Inlet and also Homer and Seward was also very good this season, granted anglers had a few new rules to abide by. The one fish over 29 inches and one fish under 29 inches rule was not a favorite but just something to be dealt with. Additionally, charters can now only take one trip per day and this did have some effect on the availability of salt boats. Overall, the 2015 season was very positive as we saw good king salmon recovery and excellent returns of both sockeye and silver salmon. The rapid pace by which a season comes and goes is amazing but pictures are always a great way to look back on another season gone by. A sincere thanks to everyone that visited us and made 2015 so successful. Please enjoy the photos and if you are considering a visit to the Kenai Peninsula in 2016, now is a great time to secure the best lodging and fishing dates! Call or email anytime and we will be happy to help you plan your trip.


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Kenai Guides,
33350 Keystone Drive, Soldotna, AK 99669
Phone: (1800) 622-1177
Website: kenai-guides.com
Email: mgfish@gci.net

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