A Northern Kenai Fishing report published by the Department of Fish and Game on Wednesday says that sockeye salmon fishing is still slower, but coho salmon fishing is starting to improve.
The report says that in the Lower Kenai River, fishing for sockeye salmon “has slowed.” The department says that limits can still be caught. Daily fish counts for the species last week largely held around 40,000, but this week dipped as low as 25,000.
An emergency order issued Tuesday extended a restriction that limits Kenai River anglers to the use of only one, unbaited single-hook artificial lure through the end of the month.
Bag limits are six per day and 12 in possession. The department recommends fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, the Soldotna Visitors Center, Moose Range Meadows or Soldotna Creek Park.
Coho salmon fishing “is improving and should continue to improve.” Upstream of the Powerline near Sportsman’s Landing, the limit is one per day and one in possession, in other waters of the Upper Kenai River the limit is two per day and two in possession.
Fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden in the middle and upper Kenai River, as well as Kenai River tributaries, is “good.”
Sockeye salmon fishing on the Kasilof “has slowed down.” Coho fishing is also slow, but “should improve.” The bag limits for sockeye are six per day and 12 in possession. Only two may be coho salmon. The department recommends fishing from the shore at Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
Daily fish counts for sockeye salmon on the Kasilof River have fallen consistently below 10,000 since Aug. 9.
Sockeye fishing on the Russian River “is good,” the report says. The bag limit is six per day and 12 in possession. Until Aug. 20, only one per day and one in possession may be coho calmon.
Daily sockeye counts on the Russian have been between 3,000 and 4,000 since Aug. 9.
The report also reminds anglers that fish carcasses need to be removed from Russian River clear water and taken to cleaning tables near the mainstem Kenai River.
“Please respect habitat and cultural resource protection sites that are fenced or roped off, stay on the established trails and boardwalks, and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas,” the report reads.
The report says that coho salmon “should be arriving soon.”
Swanson River coho fishing “should improve over the coming weeks.”
Kenai and Kasilof River dipnet fisheries have been closed. Personal use harvest reports were due by midnight on Monday.
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,” and is a good choice for young anglers, the report says.
John Hedberg Lake is also fishing excellent, and the department says it’s a nice place for a picnic or a hike as well.
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-58-23 order supersedes emergency order 2-KS-1-51-23 that prohibits the use of bait and restricts sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure while sport fishing in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake through Aug. 15 and extends these restrictions though Aug. 31, 2023.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-54-23 order 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 through Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2023.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-47-23 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, other than king, pink, and coho salmon, from three per day, six in possession to six per day, 12 in possession in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. No more than two salmon, 16 inches or longer, per day and in possession may be coho salmon effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2023.
Emergency Order 2-RS-1-32-23 increases the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, 16 inches or longer, to six fish per day and 12 in possession in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing effective 12:01 a.m. Friday June 30, 2023. No more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon.
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.