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Thread: Returning to AK - Kenai River tips?

  1. #1
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    Default Returning to AK - Kenai River tips?

    Hey guys,

    I was referred to this forum by a friend of mine as he said you guys could help me out. I grew up in the area, but moved south many years ago. Finally returning this spring. I haven't fished the Kenai since I was a boy and I am looking to give my boy the same experience.

    I'm looking for any tips for fishing the salmon runs this summer. I'll have a boat, but if I remember right the lower Kenai can be a bit of a rat race, especially during the second King run. I also remember the Kenai having a lot of very strict regulations. So any tips (or links) regarding techniques, tackle, general locations, etiquette, and boating tips is GREATLY appreciated. Anything helps, I just want to re-educate myself before heading out on the river.

    Thank you and tight lines.

    AKS

  2. #2
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    Here is the link for the current regs for the Kenai, make sure to double check after april 15th in case there's changes: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...egulations.pdf It's still a rat race, just more people crammed into the same spots.

    Others who actually spend a reasonable amount of time on the river can do better with the tips, etc.

  3. #3
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Soldotna AK, Eugene, OR
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    The Guides are on the river from about 5:30am till about 6:15pm, they can only fish from 6:00am till 6:00pm, so if you fish before or after they are there it is a lot less crowded. It is light most of the time so it is easy to almost have the river to yourself and a few friends. Remember only one hook can be used, that means only one pointed hook, there is no size limit on the hook for Kings. Max HP is now 50 HP and it has to be a 4 stroke motor. Usually Bait and scents are allowed after July 1, but it can be cut off from use at anytime, last year the last week was bait and scent free, not a good thing. There is a new section of restricted use around the Pillers boat landing, it is limited to dragging only, do not back bounce or back troll in that area. There are signs on the banks to warn you of the area, it goes down below Eagle Rock landing. Remember if you take a King out of the water, you must tag that fish, all releases must keep the fish in the water. I prefer to not even net them, it causes a lot of stress and will take off scales. Use heavy enough line that you can get the fish to the boat fast and not tire it out to much. Have fun, enjoy the ride.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    The Guides are on the river from about 5:30am till about 6:15pm, they can only fish from 6:00am till 6:00pm, so if you fish before or after they are there it is a lot less crowded. It is light most of the time so it is easy to almost have the river to yourself and a few friends. Remember only one hook can be used, that means only one pointed hook, there is no size limit on the hook for Kings. Max HP is now 50 HP and it has to be a 4 stroke motor. Usually Bait and scents are allowed after July 1, but it can be cut off from use at anytime, last year the last week was bait and scent free, not a good thing. There is a new section of restricted use around the Pillers boat landing, it is limited to dragging only, do not back bounce or back troll in that area. There are signs on the banks to warn you of the area, it goes down below Eagle Rock landing. Remember if you take a King out of the water, you must tag that fish, all releases must keep the fish in the water. I prefer to not even net them, it causes a lot of stress and will take off scales. Use heavy enough line that you can get the fish to the boat fast and not tire it out to much. Have fun, enjoy the ride.
    A couple of clarifications.

    The area around Eagle Rock is designated as a dragging area only during July. When bait is not allowed (May/June) you can backtroll through this area.

    The guide hours are correct but guiding is only allowed Tuesday through Saturday until July 31st. Starting August 1st there are no more guide hours but Mondays are designated as a non guide day.

    I find you can stay out of a lot of the king boat traffic by fishing above the tidal areas. I also find that many guides are running full day trips and end their day by 4:00pm so don't wait until after 6:00 to go out.

    Live by the golden rule and you'll find most everyone gets along fine on the water. The fact that you asked about what you should do tells me you'll be a great addition to the river. See you out there!

  5. #5
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    A bit of a rat race is a great way to describe the lower Kenai during July... of course, there's a reason all those boats are out there! My best advice would be to take it slow and make sure you're comfortable operating the boat before you dive right into the heat of the action. If you stay above tidewater (above Honeymoon Cove) you'll avoid the worst crowds and have a little more space. If you'll be here during June, it's a great time to fish without the crowds in preparation for the heavy traffic of July.
    As far as fishing goes, good bait is key. And if you don't have eggs a freshly wrapped kwikfish will get the job done - some of the best fishermen on the river are kwikfish guys, so don't feel like you have to have eggs to catch kings.
    Regulations - Single hook always for kings, no bait until july 1 unless opened early by emergency order... those are the ones that get people most of the time, but there are obviously many regulations to consider.
    Of course, this is just a small amount of info about a small fraction of the fishery...
    Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions
    Mark
    www.akfishology.com
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

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