Early Run Kasilof Kings! Low water and fresh fish makes for some great action. If you are looking for that first fresh salmon of the season, look no further than the Kasilof in late May and early June.
After a long winter in Alaska, there is just something special about the first salmon returning to nearby streams. They rarely arrive in great numbers early, but they are often the most beautiful of the entire run. Particularly on the Kasilof River, it’s tough to find a prettier sight than that of an ocean bright king, minutes from salt, and just glowing with an iridescent purple sheen. Perhaps it’s the several months of not seeing fish on a regular basis, the long winters spent preparing for just that moment when the first rod of the season flattens out and line starts pouring off the reel…ahhh yes, fish on! Indeed the early season king fishing on the Kasilof is a great experience. It offers relatively uncrowded conditions and a very scenic drift. It offers a glimpse at Alaska as a whole awakening from its slumber. It is common to see moose and fledgling calves, arctic terns diving in the riffles, seagulls of every variety mulling about and of course, newly arriving kings that at the right time and place will just about pull your rod out of the boat!
The drift boat experience in early season low water makes for a very stealthy approach to the fish but make no mistake, this is not one after another type fishing. There are definitely days when our paths just do not meet, but then again there are lots of days when they do. Of all the fishing action I get to witness over the course of a summer and fall season, I am not sure anything is as exhilarating as an early season king salmon bite in a drift boat. Again, maybe it is the winter respite, or the added effort of rowing the boat to produce the strike, but that rod violently pinning itself down in the rod holder and the eruption of glacial water several yards in front of the boat is just incredible to be a part of.
With the low water and less current, early season Kasilof kings fight really well and each one you put in the net is well earned. This run seems to fish best beginning around May 25 but peaks in mid-June. The 2015 run was relatively large and success rates were high for those that put their time in. This is a combined return of both hatchery and naturally produced king salmon. The Kasilof is a very unique river and the 8 mile float is loaded with great scenery and ample time to sit back and relax and just soak in Alaska! Just make sure you keep one eye on that rod.