King angling picking up as Kenai run starts to lag

Jun 6, 2018

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.

The number of large, that is over 34-inch, early run kings are tracking better than the 2014 return through Monday (June 4), and were keeping up with the 2015 run until about two weeks ago until falling behind. Through Monday a total of 932 large kings have passed Fish and Game's sonar at river mile 14. By comparison, over 2,300 had passed by the sonar this time last year, over 1,900 in 2016, and over 1,200 in 2015.

Those escapement numbers have been adjusted to reflect only king salmon greater than 34-inches in length. In 2017 the department started managing escapement goals based on larger king salmon. Now, the early-run king salmon escapement goal range is 3,900 to 6,600 large king salmon.

Meanwhile on the Kasilof where early-run king angling was a little more successful already, the fishing continues to pick up, with Chinook reported being caught in the section of river near the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.

Steelhead trout are also moving into Crooked Creek to spawn and the department reports angling near the state recreation site can be fruitful.

Lake trout fishing should be improving with warming water temperatures, and the department says most any kind of lure could lead to success, be it wet or dry flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. In addition, Spirit and Island lakes have been stocked with Arctic char and Johnson Lake has a fresh stock of ready-to-catch rainbows.

The hooligan, or candlefish, run on the Lower Kenai River has dropped off and catches are reported as poor.

The Upper Kenai River and Russian River will open to sport fishing on Monday (June 11).