Well this July marked my 50th year fishing the Kenai. About the only thing that has not changed is the run being managed based on commercial interest, that is still the priority. I don't envy the folks managing the fisheries, what a rodeo.
Speaking of Red salmon. Fishing with a pole has changed, used to snag with spinning rods and reels and weighted treble hooks, then we went to bait casters. Now we have evolved to fly rods and reels as they are so much lighter and handier for us and our old arms and shoulders and we, uh, catch Reds in the mouth with some variation of a fly or bead set up on the Kenai and Kasilof. I quit fishing the Russian in the 70's and quit fishing Kings on the Kenai in the 90's as I did not care for the crowds and all the boats I had to deal with and the charming guys who thought they owned the river.
My wife and I still manage to put about 25 Reds up every year and we thank God for them. That is plenty of canned and vac packed fish for us and we enjoy flipping for them with a fly rod.
We floated the Kasilof from the lake to the bridge with my son in law yesterday and did well. When we got there a lady with us immediately tripped and fell in the water. Then a couple came by in their kayaks and the gal in one kayak ran into her guy and flipped him in his kayak. He made it to shore and the kayak went down stream and his pack with the hand gun is some where on the bottom of the Kasilof. He caught a ride with another drift boat and sent a Soldotna Rescue boat to her as she was scared and would not leave the bank.
Then some guide launched his truck and trailer and boat all at the same time. The truck and trailer were laying against the Kasilof River Bridge piling when we pulled out. On the way home on Kalifornsky Beach Road we passed a 2 car vehicle collision with wrecked cars and a car in the ditch.
A friend was at Walmart in Kenai a couple mornings ago and watched a guy wearing pajamas and carrying a newspaper come out of the store and walk over to his RV. I hope he didn't touch any food when he was in there.
Any way, we made it home safe and sound after a truly beautiful day and good fishing. The bed felt good last night. I'm up early and a little more of this strong black coffee and toast and I will finish processing a dozen reds.
In a couple of weeks some of the chaos should slow down. This much anticipated Red run is bitter sweet to me, as it brings crowds and all the ugly associated with having to many humans in a small area. Yet I understand their desire for fish and fun.
Please be careful out there and take a kid fishing and only keep what you really need.