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

Linda Galloway, of Kenai, fills out her absentee ballot at Kenai City Hall on Wednesday. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Questions on casting your ballot?

There are 12 days left until th Nov. 3 general election.

Kenai librarian Bethany McMilin demonstrates how to use Lynda.com, an online learning resource available for free through the public library system, at the Kenai Community Library on March 13, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Community Library goes late fee-free

The Kenai Community Library will no longer charge daily late fees for materials.

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
DHSS reports more than 200 new cases for fifth time this week

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai City Council discusses COVID-19, emphasizes diligence

Growing infection numbers, increased case rates and mask compliance were all discussed.

File
file
Free flu shots available Saturday

Shots will be available Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lot of Kenai Central High School.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, bottom right, participates in a press conference via Zoom videoconferencing along with members of his public health team on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Top left: Jamie Hartung, interpreter; top right: Heidi Hedburg, director of Public Health; center left: Dr. Joe McLaughlin, chief of the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; center right: Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; bottom left: Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer; bottom right: Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Screenshot by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We always knew that virus cases were going to rise’

In first press conference in almost two months, Dunleavy addresses recent virus surge

This graphic shows the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District risk levels associated with different numbers of new COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
High case counts to keep schools remote for another week

Central and southern peninsula schools to continue remote learning through Oct. 28

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 204 new cases, 15 on the peninsula

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high.

Most Read