A depth marker is almost entirely subsumed by the waters of the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A depth marker is almost entirely subsumed by the waters of the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

High waters make Kenai River coho fishing difficult

As the river falls in the next couple of weeks, coho fishing should return to “fair”

A Northern Kenai Fishing report published by the Department of Fish and Game on Friday says high waters on the Kenai River are making fishing difficult, especially for coho salmon.

Freshwater Fishing

Kenai River

As a result of high waters on the Lower Kenai River, the report says fishing from shore may be difficult.

Because of those high waters, the report says that coho fishing is slow, but as the river falls in the next couple of weeks, coho fishing should return to “fair.”

Bait and multiple hooks are allowed up to river mile 46.

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.

On the upper Kenai River, coho fishing is “fair.”

Upstream of the power line near Sportsman’s Landing, the limit is one per day and one in possession, in other waters of the upper Kenai River the limit is three per day and three in possession.

King salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must immediately be released. The department says coho anglers should avoid areas of the river where king salmon are concentrated and should “cut leaders or lines to avoid stressing incidentally hooked king salmon.”

Fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden in the middle and upper Kenai River, as well as Kenai River tributaries, “has been fair to good.”

Kasilof River

Coho fishing is fair. Starting Saturday, Sept. 16, only unbaited, artificial lures or flies will be allowed.

Russian River

Coho salmon fishing “is fair,” the report says. The bag limit is one per day and one in possession. All coho removed from the water must be retained and become part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish. Coho that are 16 inches or longer may not be removed from the water before being released.

Russian River Recreational Area is closed to all traffic and users for construction on its access road. The Russian River Ferry has also closed for the season.

Resurrection Creek

Coho salmon fishing is “fair,” but “should improve over the next couple of weeks.”

Swanson River

Swanson River coho fishing is good. The department recommends fishing the incoming and outgoing high tide.

Local Lakes

Elephant (Spirit) Lake access gate is closed and will remain closed through Sept. 30.

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.

Emergency Orders

Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Local Lakes

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.

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