Silvers: The bite is half the fun

Silver salmon are now bending the rods of local anglers who were anticipating their arrival among an abundant early run of pink salmon.

For weeks it was difficult to hook silver salmon, also called coho salmon, with the pink salmon flooding the Kenai River, said assistant area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Jason Pawluk.

Silver salmon can be identified by their greenish-blue colored backs and silvery sides. Small black spots are found on their dorsal fin and usually on the upper lobe of the tail only. They have a black mouth and white gums that start at the base of their lower jaw.

Now the aggressive species is filling the two-per-day bag limit of fishermen perched on the banks of the Kenai River and anglers downstream, Pawluk said.

The most success is being had near the mouth of the Kenai River, said co-owner of Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing, Scott Miller. Throughout the last two or three days it has really been picking up.

“There are so many different ways to fish for silver salmon,” Miller said.

Environmental factors are contributing to the gear being purchased for fishing silver salmon this season, Miller said. Dark, murky water has inspired the purchasing of orange or chartreuse colored spinners for spinner fishing, he said. Once the water clears up, anglers will go back to buying pink colored spinners.

Bobbers are the favorite method for fisherman targeting silver salmon, which is likely because the visual aspect makes it more exciting, Miller said.

In the area around Soldotna bridge people are plunking off the bank, where a weight anchors the line holding the hook to the river bottom, Miller said.

The silver salmon being reeled in range around 10-12 pounds right now, Miller said.

“Part of the charm of silvers is that they are very aggressive fighters,” Miller said.

Unlike king salmon, where anglers take very specific, tested approaches to catching the large species, silvers go after bait and hooks more aggressively and will respond well to a wider variety, Pawluk said.

Right now the silver salmon coming in are either at the beginning or within the first pulse that enters the Kenai River usually every August, Pawluk said. The second pulse, which is not as concentrated as the first, can be expected in September.

Fish and Game does not have any directed assessment to enumerate the abundance of silver salmon, Pawluk said. But sonar sites targeting other species, as well as reports from the commercial fishing industry, driftnet fleet and local guides, are all suggesting the salmon run is progressing.

For now the lower part of the Kenai River will yield the most success for anglers until the schools move further upstream, Pawluk said.

The pink salmon are getting old and not biting as hard, Miller said. They are making it easier to target the influx of silver salmon now.

 

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Two snowmachine-triggered snow slabs are seen below the weather station of Seattle Ridge in Turnagain Pass on Dec. 3, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Chris Flowers and the Chugach Avalanche Center)
Multiple avalanches in Turnagain Pass reported Friday

The center reported Saturday that current avalanche danger was considerable above 1,000 feet and moderate below 1,000 feet.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School district changes COVID policy for close contacts

The policy went into effect on Nov. 29

This 2010 photo shows the soon-to-be-replaced Tustumena come into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia. Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Saturday the state would be replacing the ferry. The replacement vessel has not yet been named, and a statewide contest will be held to name the new vessel, Dunleavy said. (Homer News File)
State moves ahead with replacement of Tustumena

The state has other plans for updating the marine highway.

A sign urging COVID-19 mitigation measures hangs at a free vaccination clinic at the Y intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways, on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Omicron variant spurs travel restrictions locally, nationally

It’s still unclear if the omicron strain is more dangerous than other COVID variants.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Junetta Delong browses the shelves at the Soldotna Library Friends’ book and art sale at the Soldotna Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Something for everyone’

Library holds art and book sale fundraiser

Danny Dommek takes photos with Santa at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘And to all a good night’

Soldotna celebrates Christmas in the Park

The badge for the Kenai Police Department (Clarion file)
Walmart briefly evacuated after bomb threat

The investigation is ongoing.

The new Homer Police Station, as seen Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. Members of the Homer Police Department officially moved into the building on Thursday. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
K-9 trooper team finds lost girl

A 12-year-old girl, poorly dressed for the elements, ran away from her downtown Homer home.

Most Read