Fishing report: All eyes on the Kenai as sockeye numbers build, king fishing steady

Angling eyes are on the Kenai River this week as sockeye numbers are building and king salmon fishing remains steady.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers reported a pulse of sockeye salmon hitting the mouth of the Kenai late Saturday and Sunday, giving personal-use dipnetters a good opportunity to catch their limits. The pulse has also provided rod-and-reel anglers with good fishing further upstream.

Jason Pawluk, Fish and Game assistant area management biologist, theorized that high winds leading into last weekend may have helped push that pulse of sockeye into the river.

“Dipnetters got into that little pulse, and we saw some fish move into the river, and bump up the sonar counts,” Pawluk said. “… We’re seeing (sonar counts) come back down, but now in-river anglers have some fish to follow upstream.”

The sockeye sonar on the Kenai River spiked at 49,158 on Sunday and 53,600 on Monday before dropping down to 32,412 Tuesday.

Good news for sockeye fishermen is also on the horizon: Pawluk said Fish and Game’s offshore test boat in Cook Inlet picked up one of its highest index values ever on Wednesday, meaning that there’s a large number of fish out in the inlet that could be hitting the river in the coming week — though exactly when is anyone’s guess.

Fish and Game also is reporting positive news in the Kenai River king salmon fishery, where sonar picked up an estimated 1,018 kings on Friday and 828 kings on Saturday, dropping down to 489 Sunday and 438 Monday.

Pawluk said that on Tuesday, the river saw its highest angler effort of the season, as well as its biggest harvest.

“There’s fish in the water,” said Jim Johnson of Alaska’s Kenai Jim’s Lodging and Guide Service. “There’s not a lot of them, so you have to work pretty hard.”

According to Pawluk, biologists also are seeing the king salmon run switch from younger, smaller fish to older, larger fish in their fish sampling.

Emergency orders restricting anglers targeting kings to an unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure remain in place on the Kenai River.

 

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

More in News

Mary Peltola responds to a question during a forum at the Kenai Visitor Center on Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. With less than two weeks to go before Alaska’s Aug. 16 election, the three candidates seeking to temporarily replace Congressman Don Young in Alaska’s U.S. House seat have made clear their positions on abortion. (Peninsula Clarion/Jake Dye)
Here’s where Alaska’s U.S. House candidates stand on access to abortion

Palin and Begich oppose congressional efforts to guarantee abortion rights, Peltola supports abortion access

The Sterling Highway crosses the Kenai River near the Russian River Campground on March 15, 2020, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Russian River Campground to be closed until June 2023 beginning next week

Resurfacing and reinforcement work will occur along about 1 mile of the Russian River Campground Road

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Hikers rescued near Cooper Landing

They became trapped in a steep ravine after taking a canoe over Kenai Lake and climbing a mountain, troopers say

Vials of empty monkeypox vaccines sit at a table at Seattle Central College in Seattle, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Daniel Kim/The Seattle Times via AP)
State announces two-tiered system for monkeypox vaccine

Due to low availability, the monkeypox vaccine is administered only in response to potential exposure

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, leads an informational town hall about ranked choice voting inside the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Carpenter holds forum on ranked choice voting

Don’t “overthink it,” representative says

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

Most Read