A Northern Kenai fishing report published by the Department of Fish and Game on Thursday says that sockeye fishing will improve on the Kenai River and is slowing on the Russian River.
The report says that in the Lower Kenai River, fishing for sockeye salmon has been slow but “will improve over the next several weeks. The department recommends fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, the Soldotna Visitors Center, Moose Range Meadows or Soldotna Creek Park. The water conditions are high, and continuing to become clearer after being reported as turbid two weeks ago.
Fishing for rainbow trout in the middle Kenai RIver is “fair” but should improve, the report says.
In the Kasilof River, hatchery king salmon can be kept. The department says that the fishery is “slow.” Hatchery salmon do not have an adipose fin, and any naturally produced king salmon that do have an adipose fin may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released. Additionally, only one single unbaited hook may be used.
Sockeye salmon fishing on the Kasilof is described as “fair for anglers willing to put in the time.” The bag limits are six per day and 12 in possession. The department recommends fishing from the shore at Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
Sockeye fishing on the Russian River is “slowing down.” The bag limit is nine per day and 18 in possession until July 14.
The department warns of limited parking and long waits to access the Russian River Campground. Anglers should be cautious when driving and shouldn’t park on the Sterling Highway. The report also reminds anglers that fish carcasses need to be removed from Russian River clear water and taken to cleaning tables near the mainstem Kenai River.
“Please respect habitat and cultural resource protection sites that are fenced or roped off, stay on the established trails and boardwalks, and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas,” the report reads.
Dipnetting on the Kasilof River is reportedly “fair.”
Dipnetting on the Kenai River will open on July 10 at 6 a.m.
Retention of king salmon is prohibited in both dipnet fisheries, and the department reminds anglers that a new regulation prohibits the use of felt or other “fiber material” on the soles of wading boots while dipnetting.
Fishing on local lakes for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and land locked salmon “is good to excellent.” The report recommends fishing with dry or wet flies such as an egg sucking leech, bead head nymph, or mosquito pattern; small spoons and spinners size #0 or #2; or small bait under a bobber.
Johnson Lake is “fishing excellent,” and is a good choice for young anglers, the report says.
John Hedberg Lake is also fishing excellent, and the department says its a nice place for a picnic or a hike as well.
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-29-23 increases the bag and possession limits for salmon, other than king salmon, to nine fish per day and 18 fish in possession in that area of the Kenai River upstream from Skilak Lake to ADF&G 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 an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 24, 2023 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 14, 2023.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-25-23 opens the Russian River Sanctuary area to sport fishing for sockeye salmon.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-10-23 closes sport fishing for king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake from 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Fishing for king salmon will remain closed from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023, in waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon accidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-11-23 closes the Kenai River to fishing for king salmon and prohibits the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to ADF&G markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-32-23 increases the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, 16 inches or longer, to six fish per day and 12 in possession in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing effective 12:01 a.m. Friday June 30, 2023. No more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-33-23 prohibits the retention of naturally-produced king salmon while sport fishing in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge. Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing in these waters effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2023. Naturally-produced king salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.
Emergency order 2-KS-1-40-23 prohibits the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use dip net fishery. Any king salmon caught incidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
Emergency order 2-RS-1-28-23 expands the personal use salmon dipnet fishing area on the Kasilof River. Salmon may be harvested from the shore from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Salmon may be harvested from a boat from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to ADF&G markers placed at approximately river mile 3 effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 25 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, August 7, 2023.
Cook Inlet Salt Waters
Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 prohibits sport fishing for king salmon (including catch-and-release) in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00’ N. lat.) effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 15 through Monday, July 31. King salmon incidentally caught while fishing for other fish may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-23 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey and Derks lakes for the 2023 season.
Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-23 establishes a bag and possession limit of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish, less than 16 inches in length for the 2023 season.