Fishing report: Silvers slow to show, reds still running

On Wednesday afternoon, a handful of anglers were enjoying the sunshine at Cunningham Park on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, waiting for silver salmon to bite.

Fortunately, the weather was pleasant as the fishing was slow.

“But it beats working,” said Joe Mead of Kenai, who had been trying his luck for a couple of days.

Bill Brady, visiting for the summer from Gig Harbor, Washington, was one of the lucky anglers to hook a silver Wednesday afternoon. He said in three visits to Cunningham Park, it was the first silver he’d landed, though he had hooked a few silvers while flipping for red salmon at Rotary Park on Funny River Road in Soldotna.

Jason Pawluk, assistant management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said that while pleasant, the weather — bright, sunny days and warm temperatures — actually has not been conducive to silver fishing.

“The best time to hit it is in the early morning,” Pawluk said. “Get out there before sun-up, when things are cooler.”

Pawluk said this year’s run of silvers may be moving differently through the inlet, but whatever the reason, they’re just not in the river yet.

Red salmon remain in the Kenai in fishable numbers, though the daily sonar counts have tapered to the 20,000-40,000 fish per day range, meaning anglers will have to work for their catch.

“It’s still fishable, and with this type of weather, it’s hard to complain about standing along the bank in the sun four a few hours to get four or five reds,” Pawluk said.

With the silver fishing yet to pick up, anglers may want to try fishing for rainbow trout or Dolly Varden, which may be found feeding on salmon carcasses and eggs.

“Fish where there’s being carcasses thrown into the river — which is essentially from Skilak Lake down to the mouth,” Pawluk said.

Pawluk said in the next couple of weeks, the trout will begin to move to areas downstream of spawning kings to take advantage of that smorgasbord.

The Kenai River personal-use fishery closed last week, and the Kasilof personal-use fishery closes Friday. Fish and Game is reminding fishery participants to return their harvest card. Harvest records may be mailed in or submitted online at

In Seward, Fish and Game is reporting good catches of silver salmon on Resurrection Bay. Silvers are being caught around Caines Head and Pony Cove by trolling or mooching near schools of bait balls. A few silvers are being caught from the shore. Shore fishing is expected to pick up, and anglers should be patient and try casting bright colored spinners.

The annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 16. Tickets are available at derby headquarters across from the B-Dock fish cleaning station. Daily tickets are $10, tickets for the full event are $50.

On Cook Inlet, the big tides of the past week subside, giving anglers fishing for halibut a little bit of an easier time finding the bottom.

The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby runs through Sept. 15; the current leader is a 224.4-pound fish caught by Linda Scott of Bloomington, Minnesota.

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