Alaska Fishing Report: Sept. 30, 2015
As the last yellow leaves cling to the trees, the final days of September are upon us and as usual this signals the close of another summer here on the Kenai River. It was a very satisfying and rewarding year in many respects and as always I will expand on that in my annual year in review. Meanwhile back on the river, silver fishing keeps going strong with very few people on the river and lots of chrome bright late-run coho pulsing through the shallows. The water is much lower this fall than we have seen in recent seasons and this resets the table and changes where we fish. September and October can give the river a whole new look and feel and with fresh silvers and huge trout prowling it’s tough to resist.
The early run of Kenai silvers did prove to be a decent return, just a week or so later than usual. With the lower water, the fishing seemed best in the lower tidal portions of the river. As the fish moved up river they became harder to find in high numbers as they moved quickly through the system. This first return of Kenai silvers lasted into late August and early September before we began to see the tell-tale late run silvers with their king size profiles and chrome bright appearance. This second run of Kenai silvers will return well into fall, with some fish arriving well after the first snowfall. Throughout September, we have been seeing very strong pulses of late run silvers and more continue to enter with each passing tide. Along with the big silvers, fishing the Kenai in September is by far one of the most picturesque times to be on the river as the landscape is literally awash in fall colors. The leaves are visible in different hues of yellow and orange throughout the month and despite a few chilly mornings, including a couple with Northern Lights leading the way upriver from above, September weather this year was mild. Here late in the month we are seeing a large rain event and even the threat of some snow but with the river as low as it is and the temperature falling, the river will likely only see a slight rise.
Trout fishing over the last few weeks has been steady but not red hot. The primary reason for the mediocre trout fishing is simple, the amount of natural or real food in the environment is mind boggling. Everywhere you look along the sides of the river and in every snag, rock pile or overhanging branch, dozens of dead salmon are piled up like cord wood. A combination of kings and sockeyes, the carcasses are a positive show of strength in numbers and hopefully enough to foster strong future returns. As the weather gets colder and we get deeper into fall, the flurry of loose eggs and carcass meat will begin to wane and the largest rainbows will once again be on the move.
It was an excellent season for fly out silver salmon in nearly all the locations that we regularly fish. The late season fishing on the Crescent River began slowly but it did eventually heat up and provide several days of very good fishing. The bear viewing this year from Crescent River/Lake was reportedly very good as well. As always a huge thank you to Alaska West Air for once again getting us to all of our many remote fishing destinations with safety and style.
From excellent king fishing in May and June on the Kasilof to great sockeye salmon fishing on the Kasilof in June and early July to a rebound in king salmon on the Kenai River to another amazing late run of sockeye salmon on the Kenai to incredible fishing for early and late run silver salmon on the Kenai, the fishing this summer has been non-stop and outstanding. Mix in some world class steelhead, halibut, trout and remote fly out fishing and in a nutshell you have our five month season. The number of fish and different experiences you can pack into that nutshell is always astounding to me and while it is impossible to remember everyone I wish to thank all of you for another very successful, safe and prosperous season. We look forward to seeing you again very soon and thank you again for fishing with us on the Kenai and beyond!
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