An angler shows off his early run sockeye on the Kenai River in June 2019 near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo submitted by Jason Foster)

An angler shows off his early run sockeye on the Kenai River in June 2019 near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo submitted by Jason Foster)

Strong sockeye run moving toward Russian River

“The first run of sockeye is better than I’ve ever seen it.”

As of Tuesday, the confluence of the Upper Kenai River and Russian River are open to sockeye salmon fishing and if the run on the Lower Kenai River is any indication, fishing should be good.

“The first run of sockeye is better than I’ve ever seen it,” said local angler Jason Foster, owner of Foster’s Alaska Cabins in Kenai. “Our guys are limiting out every morning. I’ve never seen a retainage of sockeye on that first run down here.”

Foster recommends anglers find some fast-moving water, near the shore.

“These sockeye are going all the way up to the Russian, so they’re moving. They’re not holding up in holes,” Foster said. “All these fish are going to the Russian, so I imagine the Russian River is going to be amazing.”

For the Lower Kenai, a hook and bead is all you need. Anglers on the Russian River need to use Russian River flies — a single hook, unbaited fly with a gap between point of shank of 3/8 or less. The fly must weigh less than a quarter ounce. If a weight is used, it must be 18 inches ahead of the fly.

As for kings on the Kenai, they are out are present, but in low numbers.

“The kings have been present on the Kenai. There are a few out there but it’s slow,” Foster said. “We talked to a drift boat yesterday that got one. They are there.”

King salmon fishing on the Kenai River is catch and release only until July.

Anglers have taken to the Kasilof River to find their king salmon.

“The Kasilof River has some kings and they’re catching a few but the water is murky and you can’t use bait, so it makes things difficult,” Foster said.

Fish and Game expects the king salmon fishing to improve over the course of the next week as well.

Off the rivers, lake fishing in the Kenai area remains good. With Hidden Lake producing some “killer trout,” according to Foster.

Trout spawning closures ended Tuesday, opening the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River marker and all of the tributaries. Fish and Game expects the rainbow trout fishing in these waters to be very good.

Lake fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and landlocked salmon is very good, according to Fish and Game.

“Sport Lake has been producing nice-sized rainbow trout, and fishing the Swanson River Road lakes is reported as fair,” according to Fish and Game. “Try 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.”

For those travelling north, fishing for sea run Dolly Varden at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope should be picking up soon, according to Fish and Game. They recommend using pink fry pattern flies.

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