Kasilof River

A head-on car collision on the Kenai Spur Highway this Saturday killed three people, injured four and closed the highway for some time.

Kenai Police report that a small vehicle was headed south around mile 15 of the Spur and passed another car on the right side at a high speed. The Spur there is only two lane, and people will sometimes pass on the right on the shoulder of the road. Police say the driver of the small car lost control and crossed into the oncoming lane and collided with a pickup truck.

Courtesy of Department of Natural Resources

It’s been about four years since the state put the brakes on a project that would have improved a boat ramp facility on the Lower Kasilof River. Now, the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking to formalize that facility as drift boat retrieval only.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Fishing for king salmon the Kenai and Kasilof rivers will be catch-and-release only starting Wednesday.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. Not enough large kings are coming back to the river to meet the escapement goal, so the restriction is to help preserve more of the fish, according to the department. As of Sunday, 1,699 large kings—that’s kings 75 centimeters or greater from mid-eye to tail fork, the only ones that the department counts toward escapement—had passed the sonar on the Kenai River. Under current projections, there won’t be enough to meet the escapement goal.

Peter Micciche/Facebook

Every year, Alaskans flock to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers for a chance to scoop up some of the sockeye salmon that pack the estuaries on their way upriver to spawn. Many peninsula residents have mixed feelings about these fisheries, but one thing that's pretty clearly unpopular is the mess the fisheries often generate.

A photo of overflowing dumpsters at the mouth of the Kasilof River, near the personal use dipnet fishery, touched off angry debates on social media this week. The photo, taken Monday morning after a busy three-day holiday weekend loaded with beautiful weather and a healthy sockeye run to the Kasilof, shows four dumpsters packed to the brim with trash and more scattered across the pavement nearby.

Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens on Friday at 6 a.m. This year, though, dipnetters are not allowed to keep any king salmon they net. They have to let those go immediately.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. The department is concerned about enough king salmon making it up the river for escapement, so dipnetters are restricted from keeping them. Sportfishermen are not allowed to use bait, either, and are restricted as to where they can fish and how many big fish they can keep.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

 There’s just under a week until the Kenai River dipnet opens on July 10. But if you want to get out and get some dipnetting done this weekend, there’s a little more space at the Kasilof River to do it.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kasilof dipnet is open to shore fishing all the way from the mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Dipnetting from a boat is allowed, too, but only up to a marker around mile 3 of the river. No king salmon can be kept, though.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

King salmon fishing on the Kenai River will open with no bait, with retention of kings less than 34 inches long. The Kasilof River will also start July with no bait.

Both rivers have seen low king salmon runs so far this season, with the Kenai River going to no fishing for June. Starting July 1, king salmon fishing will open, but only from a marker just downstream of Slikok Creek down to the mouth. Upstream of Slikok Creek all the way to Skilak Lake will stay closed through July 31, according to an emergency order issued Monday from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The department will continue to monitor the run as the season goes on.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Starting Wednesday, king salmon fishing on the Kenai River will be closed entirely through the end of June.

So far, only 583 large kings have come back to the river, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That’s a little more than a third of the number that had passed the sonar on the same day last year, and well below the preseason forecast.

Early run sockeye strong on Kenai

Jun 7, 2019

Kings and sockeye are running on the main stem of the Kenai River, and soon tributary streams will open for rainbow trout fishing.

The latest report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game indicates fishing is expected to be good.

The confluence of the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers will open for early run sockeye fishing on Tuesday.

Kasilof River king salmon fishing is good and should continue to improve over the next week or two.

A months long review of escapement goals for salmon in the Upper Cook Inlet won’t immediately affect the king salmon fishery on the Kenai River, but some fisheries at the Kasilof might be affected.

Fish and Games sports fish and commercial fish divisions met five times since November for an interdivisional escapement goal review. Because the recommendations were needed before a board of fisheries deadline for comments on April 10.

King angling will open under restrictions

Feb 15, 2019

King salmon sports fishing on the Kenai Peninsula’s two main rivers will open again this year with restrictions.

 

In two announcements from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna this week, the Kenai River early run of kings will be restricted to catch-and-release only, while on the Kasilof River anglers may only keep one hatchery-bred king salmon longer than 20 inches in length.

 

In what is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal sportsfishing season, the bag and possession limits on the Kasilof River has been liberalized in an effort to minimize what is now expected to be an over-escapement of sockeye salmon.

In an emergency order, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game increased the bag and possession limits to six fish per day and 12 fish in possession; however, no more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon, in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing.

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.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The Kasilof River has been open to dip-netting since June 25. Newly expanded facilities and parking area on the north shore of the river mouth means easier access for dip-netters. Easier access means more visitors. And more people can mean more trash left behind.

That’s where the Stream Watch program comes in.

“If you’d like you can grab a bag and help yourself to cleaning up the roads or a little bit of the beach and the parking lot,” said Terese Schomogyi, a summer intern with the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Stream Watch program, which organizes volunteers to do restoration, protection and education programs along sensitive sections of waterways on the Kenai Peninsula.


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.

King angling shut down on Kenai

Jun 18, 2018
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.

Kenai, Kasilof rivers face king salmon restrictions

Jun 11, 2018

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.

Kings still slow in ADF&G Sportsfishing Report

May 30, 2018

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.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has an open comment period through the end of the month for its plan to enhance the king salmon run on the Kasilof River and Crooked Creek, as well as in Kachemak Bay.