Fishing still strong on Russian river

Sockeye

Reports of sockeye salmon catches on the Russian River are still ranging between “good and excellent” two weeks after the opening of the fishery, said Alaska Department of Fish and Game assistant management biologist Jason Pawluk.

An emergency order opened the Russian River Sanctuary Area to fishing for sockeye salmon on Tuesday.

The emergency order also increased the sockeye salmon bag limit to 6 per day and 12 in possession upstream from Skilak Lake 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 an Fish and Game marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River.

Last Thursday, in a foot survey taken between the Russian River Falls and Halfway Hole, biologists counted more than 10,000 sockeye salmon in that area, indicating the run is still strong, Pawluk said.

Logbook reports indicate sport-fishing efforts in the Kasilof have mostly shifted toward sockeye salmon, which also indicates successful fishing in that area, Pawluk said.

Resident species

The best option for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing is on the upper Kenai River, Pawluk said.

Discarded carcasses from the sockeye salmon fishery are now heavy in the confluence area of the Russian River into the Kenai River. The concentrated food source draws trout and Dollies to the area, making for a good place for catching the resident species, Pawluk said.

The bag limit for both species is one per day and one in possession, and the fish must be less than 18 inches long.

Salmon

It is safe to say the early run king salmon fishery on the Kasilof River is coming to a close, Pawluk said. Reports of success are low and will likely continue to dwindle.

Fishing for king salmon on the Kenai River is closed through June 30.

On the Kasilof, the bag and possession limit is restricted to one hatchery king salmon.

Hatchery king salmon are distinguished from natural king salmon by their missing adipose fin. A healed scar will be in its place.

The annual limit for king salmon larger than 20 inches in the Cook Inlet is five.

Treble hooks, baiting or scents are prohibited on the Kasilof. Anglers must use single hooks on king salmon.

In the salt water, anglers have had success trolling for feeder king salmon near Flat Island, Point Pogibshi and Bluff Point. Anglers are also reporting catches of sockeye, chum and pink salmon in those areas, according to the Fish and Game Lower Cook Inlet fishing report.

Popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, hootchies, tube flies and spoons with dodgers or flashers for extra attraction.

In Homer, king salmon fishing in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is good, anglers have had success with salmon eggs, herring and blue Vibrax spinners, according to the report.

King salmon have also been returning to Seldovia and the Halibut Cove Lagoon.

Personal-use fisheries

The Kasilof River personal use gill net fishery closed Tuesday.

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery opened Wednesday. Fish may be taken from the bank or from a boat. To use personal fisheries a resident fishing license and a permit is required.

The China Poot personal use dipnet fishery opens July 1. Personal-use caught sockeye must have both tips of the tail fin removed.

Clamming

The next series of clamming tides run from June 25-30.

For razor clams, try beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet where they tend to be more abundant.

For beaches on the east side, those North of Clam Gulch access road have been the most productive this season, according to the Lower Cook Inlet fishing report.

Harvesters should be aware of a recent report of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning from a Kenai Peninsula resident from a person who harvested from the Clam Gulch area.

 

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com, Rashah McChesney can be reached at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com

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