Oddly enough, Pink salmon on the Kenai River return only on even years. The smallest and most abundant of the Pacific Salmon, Pinks or Humpback Salmon have a strict two-year life cycle. From the moment they emerge from the gravel in early spring, juvenile pinks head for the salt where they mature for a full year and return the following fall as adults. On the Kenai, we see the bulk of the pinks arrive (on even years only) in the first two weeks of August. They are tough to miss as the total run sometimes tops several million fish. The pinks in 2016 arrived very close to their normal time in late July and early August, but their overall numbers were not quite as high as previous returns. Fewer fish had no significant impact on fishing success, as it was a fish on every cast as usual. One difference we did notice with the pink return this year was the average size of the fish was noticeably larger than normal.
Typically picks weigh on average 5-7 lbs., but this year most of the fish were a solid 7-9 lbs., with some of the larger males easily going over 10 lbs! Remarkably, after 42 years, the state record pink salmon was caught not once but twice in the third week of August this season. The previous record of 12 lbs. 9 ounces caught in 1974 was surpassed first by a 12 lb. 13 ounce fish only to be surpassed later in the same day by a 13 lb., 10.6 ounce pink, which is now the new state record. If you have aspirations of breaking this record, come see us in August 2018 and we will see what we can do!