Fishing report: Reds rush to the Russian

With plenty of sockeye salmon making their way up the Russian River, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has upped the bag limit and opened the Russian River sanctuary area to salmon fishing. Along with the rush of reds, there are plenty of options for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden, not to mention saltwater fishing opportunities, it is hard for an angler to go wrong this week.

During a survey of the upper Kenai River on Wednesday, Fish and Game Assistant Area Management Biologist Jason Pawluk noted about 200 people fishing — with about 400 fish on stringers.

“Things are looking excellent up there,” Pawluk said.

Pawluk said based on sonar reports from the lower river, fishing should remain hot for the next 5 to 7 days.

The bag limit for sockeye salmon on the upper Kenai River and Russian River is now six per day, with 12 fish in possession. The area covered by the emergency order issued Monday extends from Skilak Lake upstream to Fish and Game regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to a Fish and Game marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls.

Fish and Game reports that early run sockeye salmon also are being caught on the Kasilof River.

Most anglers targeting sockeye use a coho fly, with a weight positioned above the fly so it bounces along the bottom of the stream.

According to Fish and Game, anglers fishing for rainbow trout are having success throughout the Kenai River drainage.

Pawluk said that while observing the sockeye fishery on the upper Kenai, he could see rainbows coming close to shore to grab salmon eggs or drifting pieces of salmon flesh in the water.

Anglers should consider using beads or flesh patterns fishing downstream of the sockeye salmon fishery.

On the southern Kenai Peninsula, the lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik Rivers open to sport fishing July 1. Fresh water retention of king salmon is prohibited, except that hatchery king salmon may be retained in the Ninilchik River after July 1. Hatchery king salmon are recognized by the missing adipose fin and healed fin clip scar.

Recent emergency orders have restored the seasonal five-fish limit for king salmon harvested in the Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point, and rescinded the preseason action that maintained the conservation zone surrounding the Anchor River mouth and regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas 2 miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point from July 1-15.

Halibut fishing in lower Cook Inlet continues to improve, with larger fish migrating into shallower summer feeding grounds. Likewise, halibut fishing out of Seward has been good.

Have a great fishing photo? A fishing tale to tell? A favorite recipe? Email the Clarion at

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