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Thread: Kenai River Predictions

  1. #1

    Default Kenai River Predictions

    Anybody have any predictions/guesses what day is going to be the big day this year? Just curious. I always enjoy reading all the opinions on when the big push is going to be. And the analysis as to why it will be that particular day. Just the right wind to push the fish up the shore, just the right tide to get the smell of the Kenai out into the inlet. The OTF indexes etc. Let's hear everyone's opinions. Jokes or serious. input is welcome.

  2. #2

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    There are big tides coming up next week which make for miserable dipnet conditions fighting current.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by HomerJack View Post
    There are big tides coming up next week which make for miserable dipnet conditions fighting current.
    Good point.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Anybody have any predictions/guesses what day is going to be the big day this year? Just curious. I always enjoy reading all the opinions on when the big push is going to be. And the analysis as to why it will be that particular day. Just the right wind to push the fish up the shore, just the right tide to get the smell of the Kenai out into the inlet. The OTF indexes etc. Let's hear everyone's opinions. Jokes or serious. input is welcome.
    I'm going with 14-16 as the big day(s) and I'll be upriver to intercept

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Anybody have any predictions/guesses what day is going to be the big day this year? Just curious. I always enjoy reading all the opinions on when the big push is going to be. And the analysis as to why it will be that particular day. Just the right wind to push the fish up the shore, just the right tide to get the smell of the Kenai out into the inlet. The OTF indexes etc. Let's hear everyone's opinions. Jokes or serious. input is welcome.
    Kenai Historical Averages:


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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8fl View Post
    Kenai Historical Averages:

    Is this a graph of the sonar counts at the place by the rock downstream of Soldotna bridge? If so it is not a count of escapement because fish are caught above it so the count is just that, a sockeye count of what is swimming by to maybe get caught upstream and escape. If it is not the count by Soldotna bridge how did you come up with the number of fish spawning each day in July?

  7. #7

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    This is sonar counts which everyone considers escapement, one assumes F&G's actual escapement goal for spawing is a couple hundred thousand fish less than their sonar escapement goal.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidfromgarcia View Post
    Is this a graph of the sonar counts at the place by the rock downstream of Soldotna bridge? If so it is not a count of escapement because fish are caught above it so the count is just that, a sockeye count of what is swimming by to maybe get caught upstream and escape. If it is not the count by Soldotna bridge how did you come up with the number of fish spawning each day in July?
    The data is from the counter upstream of the Warren Ames bridge. ADF&G calls it "escapement".

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  9. #9
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    From the ADF&G website that posts the daily fish counts:

    "The Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon sonar project is located approximately 19 miles upstream from the mouth of the Kenai River. The estimated travel time for sockeye salmon to reach this site once they have entered the Kenai River can be quite variable, ranging from approximately 24 hours to 72 hours."

    So, by the time they are counted, the salmon are already up in Soldotna, and passed through the dipnetting zone 2-3 days earlier.
    Therefore, anyone who wants to "be there" during one of those high fish count days, should skew all those historical dates 2-3 days to the left.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    From the ADF&G website that posts the daily fish counts:

    "The Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon sonar project is located approximately 19 miles upstream from the mouth of the Kenai River. The estimated travel time for sockeye salmon to reach this site once they have entered the Kenai River can be quite variable, ranging from approximately 24 hours to 72 hours."

    So, by the time they are counted, the salmon are already up in Soldotna, and passed through the dipnetting zone 2-3 days earlier.
    Therefore, anyone who wants to "be there" during one of those high fish count days, should skew all those historical dates 2-3 days to the left.
    but this year you need to move the sonar counts 5 days to the right since the run is looking like it is late or just top them off because the run is less fish than the numbers in your graph picture.

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    So if you look and use the figure (which is an average) the entry could be anywhere from the 15th to the 28th. Not very useful in my opinion. Averages are not used by ADF&G for this reason to figure out run timing. There are better indicators and yet with all the data no one can predict when fish will come to the beach. If they could ADF&G management would be a piece of cake. However, here are a few things one can look at and try to use for an indicator.

    1. Drift fleet harvest pattern. The drift fleet is a good indicator of when fish are in the district and if they fish district wide where the fish are being caught. Unfortunately with the new management plans these data have been compromised. But right now on the 12th with the drift fleet fishing south of Kaligan Island they only took 170 sockeye per boat. With an on time forecast for this year they should have taken 300-500 or more fish. So it looks like Kenai is late or late and weak. It is not early.

    2. The ADF&G makes a run timing estimate from the OTF program and total return estimate. It is usually done around the 15th so one can ask them for it or someone on the forum can publish it. However, again this year because of the management plans they may have to wait until the 20th to make that estimate. Right now they are in the cautious mode for Kenai because of the low drift catches.

    3. Annual daily escapements are better than average so plot the daily escapements and lag the escapements back 2-4 days to the river mouth. This is very crude since one can have 500,000 come in on one tide but spread out in the river so those fish pass the sonar counter over a few days. This is especially true early in the season. Later fish want to get to the spawning grounds and move quickly up river. After mid-July the travel time can be 1-2 days.

    4. Since most people come on weekends there are really only two weekends that matter in that 15-28th period. So trying to predict is not very useful. Just come both weekends and hope.

    5. For locals have friends who live on the bluffs keep an eye on the beach. Especially north of Kenai. Fish hit the north beach and move toward the Kenai. One can get a few hours head start if people start to see lots of jumpers. ADF&G has commercial fisherman watching all the time so they can react if they need to get gear in the water. A few remote video camera may be a good idea for some individual or organization to take on. The river mouth is too late to react. Some years Kenai hits far south and that gives a couple of tides notice. Watch the set net catch and reports from this area.

    In summary, a major research project in UCI is to try and figure out when fish will come to the beach. It takes a lot of money to do this and so far no one wants to spend that money.

    I may try and put some useful data together for this site over the winter relative to the above data so everyone has it. In the end it is still a guess right now. For this year no one knows how many fish are north and staging. The drift fleet has not fished this area and so everyone is blind.

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    Just one more comment. When the winds blow out of the north fish rarely come to the beach. I believe this has to do with the attractant water set up for Kenai. In any event with the north winds yesterday and today I doubt that fishing is good at Kenai. On the other hand when the winds turn around to the southwest fish in the northern part of the inlet may make a push on Sat or Sunday. The strength is unknown.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    1. Drift fleet harvest pattern ...they only took 170 sockeye per boat. With an on time forecast for this year they should have taken 300-500 or more fish. So it looks like Kenai is late or late and weak. It is not early....low drift catches...


    fyi as of 7/18

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    Thanks for posting this but one has to be careful with averages. Also the drift fleet has not fished in the whole District so the above averages include some district wide openings and at higher Kenai returns. But the bottom line is that Kenai if just late a few days should have had better drift fleet catches. However, if it is like 2006 which was a record late year then things will change quickly here this coming week. I would hope the drift fleet fishes out in the inlet on Monday so we can see what is really going on.

  15. #15

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    According to today's Anchorage paper Bristol Bay got a late surprise ,they are getting slammed with sockeye .

  16. #16

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    Just got back from two days on the river. First day was extremely slow. 14 fish dipping with two nets from a boat. Fished all day. Second day was substantially better. 84 fish with two nets from a boat. We ended up with 98 fish. Not bad, but I've had better. But can't complain. God is good. He always provides. We worked for it though.

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    The fishing this afternoon and evening is the best of the year.

  18. #18

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    Seemed like the average for our crew was about a dozen fish per hour on Saturday and Sunday. 8+ hour day Sat yielded 106. Other boats managed 96, 80, and 70. About the same hourly avg Sunday. Most of us run two nets.

    Did kayak fish the inlet Sunday as well and the inlet at anchor point had reds hopping everywhere. Seemed very fishy from a spot observation.


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