Fishing report: King fishing improves, sockeyes building slowly

There are more salmon streaming into central Kenai Peninsula streams, but anglers may have to put in some time to catch their limits.

Sonar estimates from the Kenai River for sockeye salmon have fluctuated between 12,000 and nearly 25,000 fish per day over the past sevearl days. While the numbers indicate an uptick in fish in the river — 20,172 on Monday and 24,744 on Tuesday — Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers say they have yet to get any indication that there’s a significant pulse behind them out in Cook Inlet.

With that in mind, sockeye fishing on the Kenai River is likely to follow the current trend over the next several days, with pulses of fish moving through, but some periods of slow fishing as well.

“It’s fishable, but it might be one of those days where you’ve got to spend 4 to 6 hours getting your fish,” said Jason Pawluk, assistant area management biologist for Fish and Game.

The Kenai River also has seen an uptick in king salmon numbers, and anglers have had better success over the last several days.

“That’s the encouraging news so far, king fishing has improved,” Pawluk said. “We saw nice movement of kings into the river, and sport catch rates indicated that as well.”

Water conditions on the Kenai have improved, with better visibility. Restrictions on king salmon fishing limiting anglers to a single-hook, unbaited artificial lure remain in place, but Pawluk said word is getting out that there are some kings in the river.

For anglers wanting to get away from the salmon-frenzied crowds, Pawluk said now might be a perfect time to check out the Russian River, with a lull between salmon runs and fishing pressure focused on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

“Put on some dry flies or a flesh pattern and fish the Russian for trout,” Pawluk said.

Anglers should not that bag limits for sockeye salmon on the Russian and upper Kenai have returned to 3 fish per day, and 6 in possession.

In the saltwater, fishing for halibut continues to be good. The current leader in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is a 199.8-pound fish caught by Jason Solberg of Glyndon, Minnesota. The derby runs through Sept. 15. Halibut fishing out of Seward also has been good, with Fish and Game reporting that catches have picked up with nicer weather.

Have a fishing photo to share? A tale to tell? Email tightlines@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in Life

A copy of Prince Harry’s “Spare” sits on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion office on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Prince Harry gets candid about ‘gilded cage’ in new memoir

“Spare” undoubtedly succeeds in humanizing Harry

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate swings into the year with ‘Tarzan’, Dr. Seuss and fishy parody

The next local showing of the Triumvirate Theatre is fast approaching with a Feb. 10 premiere of “Seussical”

This vegan kimchi mandu uses crumbled extra-firm tofu as the protein. (Photo by Tressa Dale / Peninsula Clarion)
Meditating on the new year with kimchi mandu

Artfully folding dumplings evokes the peace and thoughtful calm of the Year of the Rabbit

Mashed potatoes are served with chicken breast, green beans and pan sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Mashed potatoes for a chef

They are deceptively hard to get right

Photo 210.029.162, from the Clark Collection, courtesy of Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum 
Emma Clark feeds the Clark “pet” moose named Spook in 1981. At the urging of state wildlife officials, Carl Clark had agreed to care for this calf at their home in Hope.
Emma Clark: Becoming a Hope pioneer

For 50 years, Emma and Carl had been central to the story of Hope

A copy of “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” stands on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion office on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Coffee shop time travelers leave reader cold

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is the debut novel of author and playwright Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Josiah Burton and Jaylee Webster rehearse "Something Rotten" on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
School productions bring SpongeBob SquarePants, Sherlock Holmes to the stage

Nikiski and Soldotna drama programs prepare for April productions

Ultra-fast, protein-packed miso soup is a mild and comforting broth for sick days. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Soothing soup for January ills

It’s probably a novelty to have experienced my child’s infancy without a single sniffle

Adobo Chicken Floutas are topped with queso, sour cream, cilantro, onions and tomatoes. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Deep-fried New Year’s indulgence

Like many people, I used to make New Year’s resolutions every year