A Northern Kenai Fishing report published by the Department of Fish and Game on Friday says that sockeye fishing is excellent in parts of the Kenai River and in the Russian River.
Sockeye salmon fishing opened in several areas this week, including a month early at the Russian River Sanctuary Area because of strong counts at the Russian River weir. Bag limits are set to be increased on Sunday in the Upper Kenai River and the Russian River to six per day and 12 in possession.
In those areas, the Upper Kenai River and the Russian River, fishing for sockeye is “good to excellent,” and expected to continue to be good, the report says.
Fishing for sockeye is described as “fair” on both the lower Kenai River and the Kasilof River — bag limits can be hit by anglers “willing to put in the time.”
Rainbow trout fishing on the middle Kenai River is “fair.”
In the Kasilof River, hatchery king salmon can be kept. The department says that the fishery is “fair.” 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 picking up this time of year,” the report says. The department recommends trying to fish with pink fry pattern flies.
The personal use set gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River was closed by emergency order last week.
Fishing on local lakes for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and landlocked 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 is “fishing excellent,” the report says. In the last few weeks, several thousand catchable-sized rainbow trout were stocked in the lake. The report also says that Johnson Lake would be a good choice for young anglers.
John Hedberg Lake was also stocked with 1,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout last week and fishing is also “excellent.”
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-27-23 increases the bag and possession limits for salmon, other than king salmon, to six fish per day and 12 fish in possession in that area of the Kenai River upstream from Skilak Lake to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 18 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 14, 2023.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-25-23 opens the Russian River Sanctuary area to sport fishing for sockeye salmon.
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.