A great week of fishing for Sockeye, Trout, Halibut and even a few Kings!
The past week has a been a very steady week of fishing on the Kenai river with our first decent push of sockeye salmon arriving and also phenomenal trout fishing along with some decent action for king salmon on the lower river. With the variety of options on the table, we have been able to send people home with plenty of fish, smiles and great memories of fishing the Kenai River and surrounding waters in July. While our king salmon return still looks to be well below average, the numbers did spike slightly this week and this has allowed managers to hold off on any restrictions, at least for now. Unfortunately this has also allowed regular commercial set gill netting to continue on the beaches leading to the river and this has made for sporadic fish movement with good fishing when the nets are removed and slower fishing in the day or two following their openers. If the king counts continue to be below average it does seem likely that the river will see restrictions sometime this coming week and this would include either a step down to catch and release or a complete closure. Only time will tell and we should have a much better idea as to what will happen by the middle of next week.
Meanwhile, with king fishing just being OK and action being very limited for the boats targeting just kings, I have focused primarily on the best action and the most likely chance of not only keeping fish to take home but also a variety of fish to catch. This has included sockeye fishing in the morning and then rounding out the day with trout fishing. On a number of days this week we had incredible sockeye action and limit catches in just a few hours followed by some truly world class rainbow trout fishing.
For those willing to put in their time fishing for king salmon on the lower river, we did see some nice kings come to the net. This was certainly not the best option for those looking for fish to take home or lots of action but again for those willing to put in their time and that really wanted to catch a king, some were rewarded for their efforts. We did and have been encouraging all of our guests to release the kings as their numbers are at all time low levels and there are many of us in the guiding industry that do not feel the river should even be open at all to fishing for kings.
Again far and away the best action has been for sockeye and trout and if you are looking to take some great fish home and also catch a bunch of hard fighting fish, this combination trip is definitely the best option.
Our fly out fishing trips have also been very successful with limit catches being the rule. One really nice component to the fly out trips we have been doing to Big River Lake is the high number of both brown and black bears that we have been seeing. After a few years where we did not see as many bears as we are accustomed to seeing, it seems the bear populations in the area have rebounded and this has provided some excellent photo opportunities to those fishing the lake for sockeye salmon. Over the next week to ten days, we should begin to see some the first good pushes of silver salmon enter the West Cook Inlet rivers and we have already seen a handful of coho arrive in the Kustatan River just south of Big River.
Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet has been outstanding this week with some larger fish arriving and being caught by our guests. My wife Cindy took some family out just a few days ago and landed a nice fish in the 80lb. class and some other guests on the next day landed one close to 90lbs. and another that was 120lbs!!