They’re active, acrobatic, prone to chasing bait and, unfortunately susceptible to the hot climate.
Silver salmon fishing, normally picking up this time of year, has been slow to spike on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers. In part, it’s due to the clear, hot days, the low water conditions and unseasonably warm water temperatures, said Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Robert Begich.
Still, there’s a draw for chasing the large salmon. The Kenai River is calm, peaceful and the summer crowds have largely disappeared.
Joe Hanes, owner of Fish Magnet Guide Service said the silver fishing tends to pick up with locals and in-state anglers.
“There’s quite a few people from Anchorage that come down if they haven’t gotten their fish yet,” Hanes said. “Locals around here would much prefer silver fishing to king salmon fishing just because you can anchor up and kind of have your own spot on the river to fish.”
If this season follows the pattern, silver fishing will pick up for the last few weeks of August, lull for a few weeks and then pick up again in September.
There are several places on the Kenai River to both see and fish for the rolling silvers from shore. Here, anglers can cast a line out from shore wiht a strong weigh, sit and wait for the fish to come to them.
For fishermen casting from shore, fishing with flashy spoons and spinners can produce good fishing. Anglers should look for pockets of slack water near the bank where the water runs slow.
During the silver fishing season anglers will typically congregate at Swiftwater, located behind the Fred Meyer’s. There, a fee-based public-use park and campground provide a fair amount of riverside to fish from shore. Centennial Park in Soldotna is also frequently hot spots for shorefishing. Further downriver, Cunningham Park in Kenai is a good shore-based fishing area — however fishing this close to the mouth of the river can make catching silvers very tidal dependent.
Connors said the run tends to move in pulses into the lower river before moving upstream, spreading out and slowing down.
While shorefishing can be sufficient with silvers, Connors said fishing from a boat can be preferable.
“When you’re fishing from a boat, you’re mobile. So fish are maybe coming in directly that morning or you can go upriver and fish on some fish that came in the night before,” he said. “There are definite advantages.”
The Kasilof River also supports a healthy coho run, though it doesn’t typically draw the same crowds as the Kenai River.
Begich said usually just a few thousand fish are harvested from the Kasilof versus the Kenai River which sees tens of thousands harvested each year. The Crooked Creek State Recreation Site, located near the confluence of Crooked Creek and the Kasilof River is a camping and day use area that supports a healthy silver fishery.
Begich said the site, located on Cohoe Loop Road, is a good spot to fish because a lot of silver fish make their way of Crooked Creek.
Regardless of how they’re fished, hitting them in the early morning hours, in the late evening, or on cloudy days will likely be the most effective.
Reach Rashah McChesney at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens