Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Paul Pichette fishes at the confluence of the Kenai and Funny Rivers on Wednesday July 14, 2015 in Funny River, Alaska. Anglers reported slow, small catches of sockeye that have been picking up over the last few days.

Tight Lines: A quieter place to fish

For his patience a Canadian teacher standing in the Kenai River at the Funny River campground was rewarded with his day’s limit of sockeye, though they were small and hard won.

Brian Bowers, of Calgary, fished for more than three hours Wednesday standing in the shaded water near the grated sidewalk that leads from the small 10-unit campground and day use area sitting at the confluence of the Funny and Kenai rivers. The campground, about 11 miles from Soldotna down Funny River Road, offers a quiet place to camp and fish early in the season.

He stood at the site’s fillet table, cleaning his three fish at about 10 a.m., talking to the handful of other anglers who made their way down to the site for a chance at the sockeye run. The group agreed one a few things: one, that the fish seemed smaller this year; and two, that the run had not yet pushed into the river in full force.

“I’ve been fishing here for 23 years and I haven’t seen them this small,” Bowers said.

As he spoke, he dropped an egg into the water and watched dozens of smolt swimming around in the shallow water near shore converge on the tasty treat.

“They’re waiting for food,” he said.

Bowers’ largest catch for the day, a 5-pound sockeye salmon, was one he said he’d typically release. But, he’s still willing to eat them.

“My wife says the small ones taste the best,” he said. “I don’t know about that. The bigger ones are more fun to catch.”

He caught his reds on a fly rod with a coho fly.

Nearby, Paul Pichette avoided the rocky bottom of the fishing hole with a slinky-weight setup. Pichette, of New Hampshire, said he didn’t have any trouble with snags using the long fabric tube weight in that area of the river.

While Bowers owns a cabin on Funny River Road, Pichette said he drives up every year to fish and stays at the campground.

“I camp all over the place, the Russian River, Bings Landing, anywhere they’ll have me,” he said.

At least one person in the group had a good fishing tale to tell.

Willow resident Terry Anderson sat on a nearby bench watching the fishing and recovering from a late night binge of catching fish.

Anderson said he and his family fished at Centennial Park late into the evening Tuesday.

“We caught six reds and a king,” he said.

The group started fishing around 6 p.m. and didn’t finish until midnight.

“We were watching the tide and had a mad rush come in,” he said.

The Anderson family will camp in town for a few more days and then they’ll head to Seward where they have a boat moored.

“We’re just chasing fish,” he said with a grin.


Reach Rashah McChesney at or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A sockeye salmon dangles over a group of smolt in the Kenai River on Wednesday July 14, 2015 in Funny River, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Brian Bowers, of Calgary, Alberta, cleans a sockeye salmon on Wednesday July 14, 2015 at the Funny River campground in Funny River, Alaska.

More in News

COVID-19. (Image courtesy the CDC)
49 new COVID-19 cases reported

Seven of the new resident cases reported Thursday were identified on the Kenai Peninsula.

Skylar Giordano cuts Ryan Huerta’s hair at RD’s Barber Shop in Kenai, Alaska on Thursday, July 9, 2020. RD’s is one of the 186 local businesses and nonprofits in Kenai that already received financial assistance through the City of Kenai’s Grant Program. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai boosts local economy with grants

The city has distributed $1.9 million in grants to 186 businesses and nonprofits.

Hospital adds new COVID-19 rooms

The hospital has made several changes or modifications to its facilities.

Salmon Run Series returns

Running races now feature masks, pods and elbow taps

A Homer Volunteer Fire Department emergency medical technician, left, assists a person who was involved in a boat capsizing, center, as they walk up the load-launch ramp on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. The crew of the F/V Captain Cook helped rescue the person. The crew of the F/V Casino rescued the other two people who were aboard the 14-foot skiff when it capsized near the entrance of China Poot Bay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
1 dead, 2 rescued after boat capsizes near China Poot Bay

A 14-foot skiff carrying three people overturned near Gull Island in the mouth of China Poot Bay.

The Kenai River and Skilak Lake are seen from the Hideout Trail in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, July 5, 2020, on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Public comment open on proposed refuge changes

State could get more power over regulation refuge

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
10 new COVID-19 cases on the Kenai Peninsula

Statewide, 49 new cases in total were identified: 40 resident cases and nine nonresident cases.

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen here on June 1. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly overrides veto of hybrid election system

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted to override a mayoral… Continue reading

Parker Rose and Kendra Rose, members of the Sterling Horse and Livestock 4-H Club, are seen here with their miniature donkey on April 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy Cassy Rankin/Kenai Peninsula District 4-H)
Keeping cows and carrying on

4-H looks for alternative ways to host animal auction

Most Read