King season sees slow holiday start

King season sees slow holiday start

The Ninilchik River was the best bet for fishing, but was pretty light.

The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River were open to sport fishing this holiday weekend but high water levels left anglers with a lot to be desired.

“Overall, fishing was rather slow this last weekend which was to be expected,” said Gary Sinnhuber of Silverfin Guide Service. “We had quite a bit of rain, so the Anchor River and Deep Creek rose up pretty high and murky.”

The Ninilchik River was the best bet for fishing, but was pretty light.

“The encouraging thing, though, is to look at the fish counts … it looks like the numbers are increasing by a good amount. It’s looking much more favorable,” Sinnhuber said.

The Anchor River weir has counted 288 king salmon so far. Deep Creek weir is reporting 228 fish.

A weir at the second mile marker on the Ninilchik River weir has seen 144 king salmon since its installation on May 15.

Sinnhuber operates a ‘walk and wade’ guiding service, where he shows his clients how to fish from the banks of the rivers.

“I don’t have a boat, I just take people on the rivers and we walk about a half a mile,” he said. “It’s pretty simple, but it’s also about letting people know the regulations and the proper handling of fish.”

An important aspect is teaching his customers, and other fishermen, how to properly release a fish. On the Ninilchik River, anglers are only allowed to retain hatchery fish, so wild king salmon have to be released.

When releasing a fish, it’s important to land the fish as quickly as possible and to leave it in the water, avoid dragging the fish onto the river bank. Remove the hook back through the same hole it entered while the fish is still in the water before releasing it.

“You need to keep the fish and the gills in the water so the fish has the best chance of surviving,” Sinnhuber said.

The Kenai River has seen some king salmon. Fish and Game is reporting that a few have been caught and released on the lower Kenai River, where water conditions are low and clear. The Kenai River fish count is at 203 for the early run.

Kasilof River king salmon fishing is also expected to pick up over the next week or so, according to Fish and Game.

Local lakes are also warming up, leading to improved fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and land-locked salmon.

“Sport Lake has been producing nice-sized rainbow trout and fishing the Swanson River Road lakes is reported as fair,” according to Fish and Game. “Try 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.”

Island Lake in North Kenai was stocked on May 17 with nearly 5,000 catchable Arctic char. Arc Lake in Soldotna and Tirmore Lake in North Kenai were both stocked with catchable Arctic grayling on May 23.

Reach fisheries reporter Kat Sorensen at

More in News

COVID-19 (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 3 more COVID deaths, more than 900 cases

The newly reported deaths push Alaska’s total to 594 COVID fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP)
Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The ship performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades.

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

Kyle Kornelis speaks at a public meeting about the Runway 7-25 Rehabilitation Project on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna airport unveils revamped runway

Runway 7-25 was temporarily closed earlier this year while it underwent renovations.

Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Redistricting proposals draw concerns from local residents

The state is seeking feedback on the best way to redraw the state’s legislative district boundaries in the wake of the 2020 census.

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Ordinance seeks more funding for sports complex renovations

Approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting, the legislation would put an extra $583,000 toward the project

Most Read