Kenai River

With all the closures and restrictions lately, one wouldn’t be blamed if they thought there were no more angling opportunities in the central Kenai Peninsula. But they'd be wrong.

First of all, dip-netting is still open at the mouth of the Kasilof River, with just a couple caveats: One, any king salmon caught must be immediately returned to the water, and two, the fishery is for Alaska residents only. Other than that, Fish and Game says dip-netting success on the Kasilof remains good.

This week’s Central Kenai sportsfishing report is more of a list of things one cannot do on the water in pursuit of a salmon.

Of course the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, which is two days earlier than scheduled.

Meanwhile, from the mouth of the river to Skilak Lake, the bag and possession limit for sockeye 16 inches or longer is reduced to one per day and two in possession effective Monday as well.

City of Kenai Dipnet app

 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued two emergency orders restricting the harvest of sockeye salmon on the Kenai River.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

It’s the midway point for the Kenai river personal-use fishery and the sockeye are still just trickling in. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran caught up with some dipnetters fishing near the Warren Ames Bridge late Friday morning, achieving various levels of success.


City of Kenai officials will be closing access to the Kenai River's Soth Beach tonight and are warning dipnetters not to camp there or on the North Beach.

The reason are extreme high tides overnight that could pose hazards to campers. 

The morning tide Thursday at 3:54 a.m. is forecast to be 23 feet, followed by Friday morning's 4:44 a.m. high tide of 24 feet, and Saturday morning’s high tide at 5:44 will be nearly 25 feet.

Late Tuesday night the National Weather Service in Anchorage issued a special weather statement for high water levels expected on the Kenai River below Skilak Lake.

Water levels on the Kenai River are reported at bank-full just below Skilak Lake and at Kenai Keys, and they are expected to continue rising over the next few days, potentially peaking less than a foot over minor flood stage.

No widespread flooding is expected at this time, but low lying areas may have standing water ponding on them.

ADF&G

The annual personal use dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River begins Tuesday. But amid expectations of an underperforming salmon return, the City of Kenai, which is host to the fishery, is ready, according to City Manager Paul Ostrander.

Late run king salmon fishing reopened on the lower Kenai River on July 1st, however no bait is allowed. King fishing above the ADF&G markers at Slikok Creek is still prohibited.

The Department sonar shows 598 kings have escaped this season. That compares to 820 at this time last year, 1,066 in 2016 and 498 in 2015.

Meanwhile, fishing for king salmon on the Kasilof River has been fair, according to Fish and Game's weekly fishing report.

ADF&G

A half-dozen reminders of recent emergency orders led off this week's Northern Kenai Fishing Report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including a catch-and-release restriction on the Kenai River. But that restriction was superseded today (Monday) in an emergency order when the Department banned all angling for king salmon the Kenai River, even catch-and-release.

King salmon fishing on both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers will have restrictions placed on them starting June 13, both due to the below average run strength. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restrictions Monday afternoon.

On the Kenai River, sports fishing will be limited to catch-and-release only, effective June 13 through July 15. Anglers may fish for king salmon with a single, unbaited, artificial lure, but may not remove the fish from the water before releasing it.

Sport fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kenai River is reported to be fair and improving, which is a marked improvement over the situation from the freshwater fishing report from Fish and Game last week.

According to this week's report, the water remains relatively clear, but some moss and debris are fouling lures and lines.

In the latest Kenai Peninsula freshwater sports fishing report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, angling for early run king salmon is still slow on both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

The water is clear and low in the Kenai River, and there's seems to be a little more early success on the Kasilof near the Cooked Creek State Recreation Site.

Sport fishing for salmon in the Upper Kenai River and the Russian River do not open until June 11.

In one lifetime, the number of beluga whales in Cook Inlet has dwindled by about a thousand, with a little more than 300 still hanging on.  As a result, keeping an eye on the one-ton white whales has become a priority. On this week's Kenai Conversation, Sea Grant fellow Kim Ovitz talks about her project learning about belugas that visit the Kenai River, and what they mean to the people of Kenai.

Andrew Malone

  Saying the season for ice berg surfing only lasts three days or so, one young man has been raising eyebrows along the Kenai River between Soldotna and Kenai. 

Andrew Malone of Soldotna said he’s been riding the ice floes on the Kenai for four years, and he says people stop and take pictures and wave. Sometimes, like on Thursday, someone calls 911 thinking he’s being swept out to sea. But, as you may have read in the Clarion, CES responders were familiar with Malone and his impromptu float trips.

National Weather Service

  The Kenai River at the Soldotna Bridge entered minor flood stage several times on Thursday and Friday, according to National Weather Service measurements.

The Service issued a special weather statement Sunday warning of the rising water levels on the Kenai River as freeze-up continues. As ice forms the river, the statement says, it can build up and restrict the flow of the water, backing it up behind the ice and raising levels.

As the Alaska Board of Fisheries begins its work session in Anchorage today, it will consider requests from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and cities of Kenai and Soldotna to meet on the Kenai Peninsula in the future.

The board considers Upper Cook Inlet management issues every three years. It’s going on 20 years since the board held a full meeting on the central peninsula, despite being home to some of the largest salmon-producing rivers and associated fisheries in the region.

National Weather Service

  The National Weather Service has upgraded its flood watch for the Upper Kenai River to a flood warning, meaning flooding is now expected at the Primrose Campground, in Cooper Landing, and Skilak Lake and Kenai Lake.

The flooding is driven largely by an outburst from a glacier-dammed lake into the Snow River near Seward. Heavy rains will add to the flooding, according to Eric Holloway of the River Forecast Center in Anchorage.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for much of the Kenai River drainage due to the release of water from a dammed glacial lake.

The flood watch goes into effect Friday morning through Monday morning for Kenai Lake and the Upper Kenai River from Cooper Landing to Skilak (SKEE-lack) Lake. In addition, water levels on the Lower Kenai River, from Skilak Lake to Cook Inlet, are expected to rise to bank-full conditions as well.

Late Tuesday afternoon the Alaska State Troopers recovered a body from the mouth of the Kenai River, near the north shore. The body was found at about 4 p.m. Troopers have sent the body to the Alaska Medical Examiner's Office for positive identification.

No other information was officially available, however, in early August, 63-year-old Phillip Kurt Keltner, of Colorado, disappeared when he was swept downriver after the skiff he was in capsized. According to the troopers, he went under and was not seen again.

The Kenai River king salmon season closed at the end of July, and by all accounts, both the early and late runs were successful for both anglers and escapement.