A Northern Kenai Fishing report published by the Department of Fish and Game on Friday says that lake fishing is excellent for the second week in a row — with two local lakes freshly stocked. Kasilof River hatchery kings are improving, and rainbow trout fishing in Kenai River tributary streams will open Sunday morning.
In the Kasilof River, hatchery king salmon can be kept. For the last two weeks, that fishing has been slow, but this week the department says that the run is “improving.” 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 hook may be used. The department recommends trying to fish from the shore of the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
Fishing for sea run Dolly Varden at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope “should be starting this time of year,” the report says. The department recommends trying to fish with pink fry pattern flies.
The flowing waters of the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River and all Kenai River tributary streams has been closed to fishing to protect spawning rainbow trout. These streams will open at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, when the department says fishing for rainbow trout “is expected to be good.”
Surf fishing for halibut along the beaches of Cook Inlet near the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers is “good for anglers willing to put in a little time.” The report says that these Pacific halibut fisheries are managed by the federal government instead of the department, encouraging anglers to double-check those regulations.
For more information about beach fishing for halibut, including regulations, the report points to “Online Fishing Forum: Beach Fishing for Halibut on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula,” a 2021 YouTube video produced by the department.
King salmon sport fisheries in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of Bluff Point are closed. The report says that any king salmon accidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released.
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 was stocked with more than 5,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout last week, and an additional 1,000 on Wednesday making for “excellent fishing,” the report says. It also says that Johnson Lake would be a good choice for kids.
John Hedberg Lake was also stocked with 1,000 catchable sized rainbow trout on Wednesday, and fishing is also “excellent.”
Spirit (Elephant) Lake access is still closed for Spring breakup.
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
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-KS-1-08-23 prohibits the retention of naturally produced king salmon beginning 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Additionally, only one single hook either baited, unbaited, or on an artificial lure may be used beginning 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 16 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Single-hook means a fishhook with only one point. Naturally produced king salmon have an adipose fin and may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
To reduce the mortality of Kenai River king salmon, the personal use set gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River is closed by Emergency Order 2-RS-1-24-23. This emergency order is effective 6 a.m. Thursday, June 15, 2023, through 11 p.m. Saturday, June 24, 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.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at email@example.com.