Alaska Fishing Report: Aug 7, 2015
The last week of July and the first week of August have come and gone in rapid fire and fishing over this two week span has been excellent. As noted in our previous report, king season took on a more normal feel this year as the season stayed open until its seasonal closure of Aug 1. Moreover, bait was allowed in the final ten days of the fishery. This decision came with great skepticism for many as we are just coming off three consecutive seasons of poor king returns and related restrictions. This concern was well justified as the projections for the late run of kings proved too optimistic and it now appears in the final days of the sonar counting that the run will barely meet the lower end of the escapement goal. ADF&G essentially spent their monthly “budget” on speculation and projections, much the same as someone who goes out to eat on nightly basis with no money in the bank. This counting of the chickens before they hatch mentality is one reasons we continue to see our king salmon returns struggle. The political pressure on ADF&G to allow more commercial fishing time in Cook Inlet is what truly drives most of the decisions and allowing bait for kings in the in-river fishery allowed managers to liberalize commercial fishing time. Set nets were given much more time. Along with the sockeye, they harvested many thousands of king salmon headed for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. Yet here we are in the second week of August struggling to meet minimum escapement goals for king salmon. It is a frustrating scenario for sport anglers as they watch the over escapement of one salmon species (sockeye) trump the under escapement of another (king salmon). Changes to the management plans are needed which will prevent managers from making in season decisions based on projections and speculation.
Currently, sockeye fishing remains the best bet for those wanting a ton of action and lots of great meat to take home. The limit of six fish per person is easily achievable with 30,000-50,000 fish still arriving daily. The run has now delivered well over 1 million total fish to the river and it seems more are on the way even as we enter the second week of August. Unfortunately, our early run silvers have been slow to show. We do have some silvers entering the river daily and some boats are seeing limit catches but it requires persistence and being at the right places at the right times. The run will surely hit with more abundance over the next week to ten days and I would expect the early run silver fishing to be very good until the end of the month when we start to see the larger, late run September silvers begin to arrive.
Rainbow trout fishing continues to be outstanding with many, many trophies being caught daily. What a truly incredible fishery this is and we love showing those willing to forgo a harvest day just how epic these true sport fish can be. The water levels are dropping and are definitely low for this time of the season and when this happens, we start to see the trout population gradually move up river as it prepares for the annul king and sockeye spawn in the waters below Skilak Lake. Currently both the middle Kenai and the Upper Kenai below Skilak have very good numbers of trout present so both options have been very rewarding. This awesome trout fishing will just continue into late fall as they feed on the banquet of flesh and eggs all around them.
Fly out fishing for silvers continues to be very strong with limits in all locations. The Kustatan and Bachatna Creek have been by far the most consistent and these runs appear strong with lots of larger fresh coho being caught daily on both systems.
As we enter the final third of our season, I look forward to the annual transition to silver fishing and more unbelievable action for giant rainbows. Sockeye fishing will likely remain a viable option for another week so there are lots of great option on the table at this time. Please enjoy another batch of great pictures from recent trips, we have been very lucky to have many great people out fishing with us this summer and it is always rewarding to look back on all the fun photos!
[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 5124,5123,5122,5121,5120,5118,5116,5115,5114,5113,5112,5111,5110,5109,5108,5107,5106,5105,5103,5101,5100,5099,5098,5097,5096″ limit=”-1″ link=”lightbox” width=”290″ height=”340″ title=”never”]