The visual simplicity of a foggy early morning fishing trip on the Kenai River is contradicted by the aural complexity of the whining of dozens of fishing boats taking anglers to the favorite fishing holes for silver salmon. Guides say fishing has picked up in recent weeks and September’s promise of a run of larger silvers looms.
While the season started slow, it has steadily picked up since mid-August said guide Eric Loomis of Eric Loomis Fishing Alaska.
He said silvers have been biting on both the Kenai and the Kasilof rivers, though he has focused on the Kenai River in recent days because it’s closer to his business and the fishing has been good.
Both rivers will see a lull in the run at the end of August and beginning of September, but fishing will again pickup on the Kenai River in September.
Not so for the Kasilof, Loomis said.
“The Kasilof never does kind of pick back up again,” he said.
While the Kenai River’s silver fishery will continue for months, effective silver fishing on the Kasilof is slowed dramatically after Sept. 15 when the fishery moves to no-bait as a way to protect steelhead.
Capt. Mark Ledden, of Kasilof River Guides, says he typically stops guiding for the season when the fishery loses bait. But, until then, Ledden said the Kasilof River is a completely different fishing experience than the Kenai River.
“The drift boat experience is quiet,” he said. “There’s not as much traffic over there, especially with the Kenai being so good.”
The river also forces anglers to be patient.
“Without the ability to run back up to different holes, you kind of have to wait and see about the hole you’re on,” he said. “You can’t follow the fish back up once they go.”
While anglers can be seen fishing for silvers from shore on both rivers — typically from the Crooked Creek Campground on the Kasilof River or Centennial Park on the Kenai River — both Ledden had Loomis suggested springing for a guided trip.
On the Kenai, Loomis said the silver salmon run spreads out along the river and being limited to one hole or one portion of the river could make or break a day of fishing.
“Right now, it’s good on the lower river. The middle stuff above the bridge has been kind of slow and it’s just barely starting to pick up at Bings (Landing) where, if you work you can get your limit, but it’s like an all-day deal to get your limit,” he said. “You need to be able to move to follow the fish.”
Reach Rashah McChesney at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.