The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Slow fishing for hatchery kings on Kasilof River; Cook Inlet halibut ‘just beginning’

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for May 25

A Northern Kenai Fishing report published Thursday says that fishing for Kasilof River hatchery king salmon is beginning to start, but is slow, and that Cook Inlet halibut fishing is still just beginning.

Freshwater fishing

In the Kasilof River, hatchery king salmon can be kept, but fishing is “starting out slowly,” the report says. 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.

The flowing waters of the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River and all Kenai River tributary streams remain closed to fishing until June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.

Kasilof River steelhead fishing is still slow but expected to improve. All rainbow and steelhead trout caught may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released.

Saltwater fishing

Surf fishing for halibut along the beaches of Cook Inlet near the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers is “just beginning.” The report says that these Pacific halibut fisheries are managed by the federal government instead of by the department, and encourages 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 by anglers while they are fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released.

Local Lakes

Fishing on local lakes “should be good to excellent,” now that ice has cleared. Fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and landlocked salmon is expected to continue to improve with warming temperatures. 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.

Spirit (Elephant) Lake access is still closed for spring break up.

Emergency Orders

Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Kenai River

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.

Kasilof River

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.

Personal Use

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-09-23 restricts the duration of fishing periods in the personal use set gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River. The hours open to fishing in the personal use set gillnet fishery shall be reduced from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., to 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15 through Sunday, June 18 and 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Monday, June 19 through 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.

Local Lakes

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 jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, right, slices and serves fresh watermelon during North Peninsula Recreation Service Area’s Family Fun in the Midnight Sun at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
North Peninsula Rec holds annual summer celebration

Attractions at this year’s event included carnival games, food trucks, field games, face painting, live music and demonstrations

The Blood Bank of Alaska’s new Kenai Peninsula center is seen in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Blood Bank relaunches permanent center on Kenai Peninsula

The new location joins others in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Wasilla

Nathan Nelson directs a kite flying dozens of feet up in the sky above Millennium Square in Kenai, Alaska, during the Kenai Kite Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sun, wind, friends and kites

Kiters both experienced and novice gather for Kenai festival

Marchers walk from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Pride in the Park, other Pride celebrations set for Saturday

The event starts with the Two-Spirit March, which meets at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex at 11:30 a.m.

Signs direct visitors at Seward City Hall on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward OKs around $362,000 in purchases for Electric Department material

A pair of resolutions were included and passed within the consent agenda

Sockeye salmon are gathered together at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnets for commercial setnet fishers given emergency approval by CFEC

Up to three 12-hour periods of commercial dipnetting “may” be allowed each week from June 20 to July 31

Council member Dave Carey speaks during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna explores its water and sewer expansion fees

The fees are a single charge to people who are newly or differently demanding or utilizing the services of the city’s water and sewer system

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Disaster determination received for 2023 east side setnet fishery

Disasters have been recognized for 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023

Design Project Manager Steve Noble and Public Involvement Lead Stephanie Queen appear to discuss the Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements project during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sterling Safety Corridor project to get ‘reintroduction’ at community meetings this month

The corridor begins near Whistle Hill in Soldotna and ends shortly after Swanson River Road in Sterling

Most Read