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Thread: First Kenai/Soldotna trip, have some questions

  1. #1

    Default First Kenai/Soldotna trip, have some questions

    I'm a 30 year Fairbanksan and I've always fished interior, Copper Basin, and Valdez. My wife goes to a dog show in Kenai each year in early July and my work schedule is finally going to allow me to go along this year. I've never set foot on the Kenai before so I've been doing quite a bit of research. I've got some recommendations for fishing spots from a coworker who has relatives in the area and I think I've got a good trip plan with alternatives for the unexpected, but I have a few questions that I'm hoping folks here can help with.

    1. As I read the regs for the lower Kenai mainstem (page 69 in the reg book) during July a fisher can keep 10 sockeye under 16 inches and (or is it or?) 3 sockeye over 16 inches. What's not clear is whether that's AND (for a total of 13 fish), or OR (choose between 10 smaller or 3 larger, but not both).

    2. Recommendations for flash freeze facilities (like Easyfreeze in Valdez)?

    3. Two different people have told me that Petersen Lake and Kelly Lake are good fishing spots. I can find them on google earth, but can't find any info on fishing there. They're not on ADF&G stocked lake list, and I can't tell whether they're hydrologically connected to any major river systems. If I stopped there, what kind of fish should I expect to find/rig for?

    4. My wife wants me to book a king charter (I prefer reds in the freezer). I know my chances are really slim of even finding one this late, but if I decided to try, any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance for any info.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    1. It's probably not an issue you need to be concerned with. I don't think I have ever caught a Kenai red under 16", let alone multiples in one day.

    4. If it were me, a king charter would be taken on the salt out of Homer instead of on the Kenai.

  3. #3

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    Thanks!

    So out of curiosity, did the limits change this year? I see all kinds of photos of people with what appears to be 6 big fish per person. A fellow at Sportsmans Warehouse told me his brother's family of 3 caught 30 reds in Soldotna recently. I know you've got to take what you hear with a grain of salt. Just seems to be a lot of difference between the regs, the photos on line, and the fish tales.

  4. #4

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    The limit for sockeye on the Kenai is 3. It can go up or down based on strength of run. Always smart to check ADFG Emergency Order web page to know if the limit has changed. If you're coming early July the sockeye fishing is usually poor. The historic peak is usually the third week of July. That being said, if you're going the DYI route I would stick with trout or try the Russian River for sockeye. Most likely the Russian will be past peak but you might be able to sneak out a few fresh ones. If you're looking for a Kenai king charter my neighbor is a guide. Good guy and quite fishy. Send me a PM if you want his contact information.

  5. #5
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    In early July it can take you all day 8 hours to catch your 3 sockeye, my friend came up and he is a good fisherman and it took him 8 hours to get his three around the 6th of July last year, but if you are there anytime after the 15th, the three fish can come in a couple hours, after the 20th they can be caught in a few minutes some days, if the fishing is that good they will probably raise the limit to 6 fish per day.
    I have legally caught in the mouth my 6 fish in 21 minutes, I had 23 fish on in that time, but that day 290,000 fish came up the river. There are a lot of places for the public to fish from the bank for sockeye, if you can make friends with some locals, they might have access to a private dock or stream side. I like to go out in my boat and find a nice spot that is not crowded. The public fishing areas have a lot of pressure, and sometimes unhappy people. I like to also go out early in the morning about 20 to 30 miles up stream from the mouth, the fish are spread out and the tide does not have as much influence on the regular catching of the sockeye. The earlier you get out the less crowd you will encounter. King fishing is a lot harder than some make it out to be, local knowledge and experience will help get you into the fish, so a guide is the way to go if you have limited time, and a boat is preferred so you can move with the tides, all King fishing is limited to the lower part of the river, 300 yards below Slikolf Creek to the mouth only. It could be catch and release only with a barbless hook. Good luck and have fun.

  6. #6

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    Thanks. I can't do much about the timing, as the trip is scheduled around the dog show, but spending 8 hours to catch 3 fish is better than not fishing at all in my book. Maybe there will be less pressure if I'm there when the run is slow.

  7. #7
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Bring a dipnet....
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironsights View Post
    Thanks. I can't do much about the timing, as the trip is scheduled around the dog show, but spending 8 hours to catch 3 fish is better than not fishing at all in my book. Maybe there will be less pressure if I'm there when the run is slow.
    Excellent attitude; you will do just fine around here and I suspect you will be going home with some delicious fresh salmon.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    If you just love to fish and arent worried bout bringing home fish, look into an upper or mid river trout float.

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    Regarding the recommendation to float the mid or upper for trout....isn't it year for pinks to run? Won't a fisherman have difficulty keeping pinks off trying to catch a trout? Of course if you just want to catch fish, that isn't such a bad thing? Just wondering because I don't really know. Just know from experience two years ago that our guide wouldn't do a guided trip for rainbows because there were so many pinks in the river.

  11. #11
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Pinks wont show till later part of july.

  12. #12
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Pinks wont show till later part of july.
    Even if the river were plugged with pinks, a fresh Kenai pink likely eats better than most other salmon available in Fairbanks. As it is, there will be reds in the upper, though likely not in big numbers, and chances will be good of tagging a red or two while targeting hook and release dollies and rainbows.

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