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Thread: How often do reds swap sides while swimming up the Kenai?

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    Default How often do reds swap sides while swimming up the Kenai?

    Anybody know if reds swap sides of the river regularly while swimming up the Kenai. I know it doesn't really matter, but figured somebody may want to discuss while there isn't much fishing to be done.
    I started thinking about it last year when I fished several spots on each bank on the lower river and it seemed like no matter where I was there was a lot more fish being hooked on one bank of the river than the other. All except for one spot seemed like the south bank produced better. Probably just due to the details of each spot like bank slope, speed of flow, etc I guess. The better bank seemed like the one with the more gentle slope which I guess makes sense since that is where the slower water would be. Anyway it got me thinking if most fish stick to one bank or if they swap back and forth all the way up the river trying to follow the bank with the slower water, and if anybody ever tried to figure it out.
    My guess is they swap back and forth between banks to follow the slower water.

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Your problem wasn't the fish "switching sides". Salmon have a ton of work to do to get up stream so they have to become lazy, or efficient, how ever you view it. This means they follow the path of least resistance. If the water is slack on one side of the river and a raging current on the other they will find the slack water to help em plow up river to get down to buisness (one of the only things on that salmons brain!). There are of course some that can't seem to follow the pack or maybe its that there isnt enough room for em so they end up pushing hard up stream.

    If there are more fish being caught on the other side of the river....... move.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    My speculation is that the current is fastest in the middle of the river thus once they pick a side I suspect they stick to it rather than try and cross the deeper, faster water in the middle. I suspect in the lower river they tend to cross over more since the water is more homogenous (and we catch them in the middle dipnetting).

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    they switch sides, but they do not like fast water. With this being said the people you were watching were probably sitting on a gravel bar were they could see where the fish were moving fairly well and adjusted as such to catch fish. Most people fish the kenai with to much weight, and out to far/deep.

    As for the current being fastest in the middle that is not always the case, if there is more bends in the section you are fishing, usually the current will be faster on one side or the other, usually on the side of the out side bend as the water flows to the outside. However on the lower river it might be that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post

    As for the current being fastest in the middle that is not always the case, if there is more bends in the section you are fishing, usually the current will be faster on one side or the other, usually on the side of the out side bend as the water flows to the outside. However on the lower river it might be that way.
    My point is the fast water is toward the middle of the river from the perspective of a fish on say, the north bank side. I don't see much motivation for them to cross the fast water which is inevitably between them and the south bank. Perhaps in some of the slower strectches it might slow down enough but I'm not sure what there motivation for crossing would be?

    I think I see a study proposal in my future...

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post
    Most people fish the kenai with to much weight, and out to far/deep.
    This is so true. I stood behind some guys last year that were about waist deep in the river casting out using about 1 oz of lead. I had on just under .5 oz and walked in just above my ankles and started catching fish behind them and they weren't getting squat. It wasnt too long before they started backing up and asking me what I had tied up.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6 batmobile View Post
    This is so true. I stood behind some guys last year that were about waist deep in the river casting out using about 1 oz of lead. I had on just under .5 oz and walked in just above my ankles and started catching fish behind them and they weren't getting squat. It wasnt too long before they started backing up and asking me what I had tied up.

    You should have told them it was a secret! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    My point is the fast water is toward the middle of the river from the perspective of a fish on say, the north bank side. I don't see much motivation for them to cross the fast water which is inevitably between them and the south bank. Perhaps in some of the slower strectches it might slow down enough but I'm not sure what there motivation for crossing would be?

    I think I see a study proposal in my future...
    Understand what you're saying, but.......I've caught more than a few in mid river, in the eddy behind large rocks. I imagine that were resting from fighting the current to get there. Since thay find the correct river to return to by scent, I'd imagine they continue upriver wherever the scent is the strongest. In other words, I would think that fish returning to Quartz or Ptarmigin Creeks, cross & re-cross the Kenai many times on their trip upstream.

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    Member AKducks's Avatar
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    I worked on a fish counting tower in bristol bay. The way we counted fish was to count on each bank for 10 mins (#fish*6=total fish on that bank that hour) from what I saw was that durring any count on side of the river would a much larger amount of fish on it (compared to the other side). this wasn't always true (durring the highest counts we normally had a lot on both sides) but the side would switch from hour to hour sometimes. normally though durring any day the fish would perfer one side of the river over the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Understand what you're saying, but.......I've caught more than a few in mid river, in the eddy behind large rocks. I imagine that were resting from fighting the current to get there. Since thay find the correct river to return to by scent, I'd imagine they continue upriver wherever the scent is the strongest. In other words, I would think that fish returning to Quartz or Ptarmigin Creeks, cross & re-cross the Kenai many times on their trip upstream.
    Interesting perspective, I hadn't thought about it that way. I've always wondered about the guys fishing the islands, perhaps they are on to something!

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Interesting perspective, I hadn't thought about it that way. I've always wondered about the guys fishing the islands, perhaps they are on to something!
    I'm sure that there's more that goes into it. They'd probably prefer to migrate close to a drop off - as opposed to keep to a shallow shelf, for protection. I'd also think that by the time the scent of a destination stream travels down 30-40 miles of river, I would think that the scent is pretty difused and the fish will run upstream wherever they feel most comfortable.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    It has been said that the fish do not like to stray from the easy water, but when you hook one or spook it where does it go, right out into the swift part of the river. So I would say they can and will cross the river when spooked or when hooked and then break off. They are in such shallow water that shadows will spook them and they will dart out into the river.

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    The fastest water in a flowing stream is on the surface and the slowest is on the bottom. Folks that measure stream flows have to find the average speed of the flowing water and that average speed is at 0.6 of the depth of the stream where the stream flow is being measured.

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