Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Lower Kenai Sockeye

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    136

    Question Lower Kenai Sockeye

    There is always lots of discussion on the sockeye fishing on the Russian and at the confluence area. I would like to find out more about fishing the lower Kenai. Where there is access, techniques, timing. I get the impression it is not quite the same. Any and all comments welcome.

  2. #2
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    5,639

    Cool Choices. . .

    Having done very little of both and neither any longer, here's my take, which can be corrected by those with more experience.

    There's good fishing at the Russian and good fishing in the lower Kenai, both depending on the presence of the fish. Lots of fish may be easier come by at the Russian due to that being a smaller river. It takes upwards of 25,000 fish days to make good fishing in the lower Kenai.

    Both fisheries present crowded to combat fishing with the lower Kenai probably less crowded. There are various but limited access areas on the lower river, enough it would seem to keep most folks happy.

    Technique on the lower Kenai is a bit different in that hook size is not regulated, and most folks are flossing with hooks up to 2/0 on 4' leaders.

    The best time for the lower river is from the middle to the end of July.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    10

    Default

    If you want good sockeye fishing wait till August 1 to third week of August. We slay reds the month of August and 95% of everyone else are fishing silvers and trout. The best spots to fish reds on the lower kenai are below skilak lake down to aboveswift water park. A boat is pretty much a must to get to a spot. If you have any other questions let me know. Our best day this year for our clients was 184 lbs of sockeye and silver fillets in a little over 4 hours for seven people. This was on the 25 August.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Sloka View Post
    There is always lots of discussion on the sockeye fishing on the Russian and at the confluence area. I would like to find out more about fishing the lower Kenai. Where there is access, techniques, timing. I get the impression it is not quite the same. Any and all comments welcome.
    If you want good sockeye fishing wait till August 1 to third week of August. We slay reds the month of August and 95% of everyone else are fishing silvers and trout. The best spots to fish reds on the lower kenai are below skilak lake down to aboveswift water park. A boat is pretty much a must to get to a spot. If you have any other questions let me know. Our best day this year for our clients was 184 lbs of sockeye and silver fillets in a little over 4 hours for seven people. This was on the 25 August.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,847

    Default Just a question GabeAk

    GabeAk, since the outlet of Skilak Lake is a major salmon spawning area and you indicated 184 pounds of fillets taken by seven people it means that each person took 8 fish from this area (I assume 6 sockeye and 2 silvers which is the limit).

    However, in mid to late August in a normal year the peak of sockeye spawning will be taking place. How many fish did you sort through to get 8 good sockeye and silvers? If you released any with hook and release mortality your clients in essence killed more than the limit. How do you feel about that in terms of the ethics of being a guide?

    Also, why promote a fishery in the major spawning area for these stocks? This gravel dune area is very limited in area and the number of boats using this area has increased significantly over the past years. Do you think it is a good idea to put boat traffic and associated disturbance in this spawning area? Is that good for the resource?

    Finally, this is a major brown bear concentration area (over 40 bears are known to use the area) and the USFWS and ADF&G are not encouraging people to visit this area during the salmon spawning period. The chance for brown bear and human interaction just increases and the bears usually lose in that situation. Telling people who are not familar with the area to go there via boat or walking is just not good advice. ADF&G in fact is very concerned people will walk into this area and create a second Russian River situation.

    You could have kept this to yourself so I am sure you think this is a great recommendation and you are sharing a great spot - and you are. However, given the above I found your comments to raise more questions than answers.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    Nerka, the limit is 6 salmon, not 8, only two of which may be silvers. You can have 4 sockeyes and 2 silvers, but not 6 sockeyes and 2 silvers for a total of 8. The only time you can go over the 6 salmon limit is fishing pinks, the are 6 by themselves and not counted in the 6 sockeye/silver limit with no more than 2 of the 6 being silvers.

  7. #7

    Default All Species Here

    Quote Originally Posted by GabeAK View Post
    If you want good sockeye fishing wait till August 1 to third week of August. We slay reds the month of August and 95% of everyone else are fishing silvers and trout. The best spots to fish reds on the lower kenai are below skilak lake down to aboveswift water park. A boat is pretty much a must to get to a spot. If you have any other questions let me know. Our best day this year for our clients was 184 lbs of sockeye and silver fillets in a little over 4 hours for seven people. This was on the 25 August.
    Not only is the salmon fishing great here, the Rainbows and Dollies are literally swarming the place. A lot of Rainbow guides fish above Skilak, but the best place to catch them is below Skilak Lake, lots of places to get out of the boat and fish from shore. That is what I like about it. Actually between the outlet at Skilak and Bings Landing is best. You don't have to wait that late. It heats up there on the second week of July and runs all the way til freeze up. It is really tremendous there right now. A friend just returned and they caught four rainbows over thirty inches. You will see a long gravel bar that creates a shoal for about eighty yards. This causes a drop off in the water level. That is where the fish lay.

  8. #8
    Member jmg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    At the end of the cul-de-sac
    Posts
    963

    Default

    I agree with Marcus that high numbers of fish are generally needed to have great fishing on the lower kenai. That is just speaking from personal experience, but I do not have a boat either. I prefer the Russian because the river is so much smaller and can be waded and moving up and down the river is fairly easy. It is also just a great place to be. I do not, however, (and never have), fish the confluence. I walk upstream quite a ways and generally get away from the crowds.

    As for the Kenai, I have generally fished at Bing's landing and Centennial Park with some success for reds (again, when they are running strong). People with boats tend to better for silvers and kings as the river is simply huge. Centennial is generally pretty crowded, Bing's tends to be better. There are several campgrounds near Soldotna and Sterling for access to the river. Good luck and tight lines.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,847

    Default Thanks Akres

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Nerka, the limit is 6 salmon, not 8, only two of which may be silvers. You can have 4 sockeyes and 2 silvers, but not 6 sockeyes and 2 silvers for a total of 8. The only time you can go over the 6 salmon limit is fishing pinks, the are 6 by themselves and not counted in the 6 sockeye/silver limit with no more than 2 of the 6 being silvers.

    In my attempt to figure out how one can get 184 pounds of fillets for 7 people I just did some rough math. I figured 184 pounds translates into almost 420 pounds of fish in the round(43 percent recovery). At 420 pounds divided by 7 that equals 60 pounds per person round weight. At a limit of 6 sockeye that is a 10 lb average for each fish. Since sockeye in the Kenai average 6.5 lbs and I understand they were smaller this year I figured that the 7 had to catch 8 fish. I guess two could have been pinks.

    In any event it was just an exercise for fun and not to cast any negative comments on GabeAk - I was just trying to figure out the general success rate and if they were at the limit or not for the catch and release question I posed.

    Any observations from those who fish this area on the comments I made about bears and human interaction? ADF&G is very sensitive to this issue and I was wondering what experience others have had in the area.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    I have fished that area for 10 years in that time frame, I have only seen 1 bear while fishing from shore (around renfros) Total I have seen 2 bears in that area in August. I am usually the first or second boat up the river. Personally, I stop fishing reds around Aug 15. It is amazing how bright the meat is on some of those male fish that are turning, females are really soft but the males stay nice and firm even when the fish is pretty colored up. I find about a 3 to 3.5 lb average when they are filleted. (and we do weigh them after filleted)
    BTW, I could see where one could catch sockeyes pretty late this year as the run came in strong in August. I have actually caught some good fish Labor Day weekend many years ago.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    Nerka,
    I just did the math and 42 fish and a 3.5 lb average is 189 lbs. It would be pretty easy to do. I assume the 6.5 lb average fish is from commercial data. The fish can easily average 8 lbs in a daily harvest.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,847

    Default great

    Thanks Yukon, again I was trying to see if it was a limit not to cast negative comments on GabeAk. It appears they caught their limit so I am still wondering about how many fish they sorted to get good ones. From your response it sounds like they had to do some sorting but maybe not that much.

    Thanks for the information on the bears.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thank you yukon with the statistics for Nerka. Its a shame when some one tries to help another person out with good fishing advise and they have to be so critical. Expecially when they are doing the right thing. Where are you from Nerka? Not all fisherman are bad fisherman and when catch and release is done correctly it is not a bad thing. I believe that a single rainbow on the Kenai River in a single year has been caught and released more than 20 times. Though I have never in my 27 years of growing up in Alaska seen a sockeye bleed out or even show signs of weakness after releasing in my presents. And for one thing I teach my clients the proper procedures of catch and release before they wet a line. Its our river and us Alaskans have to take care of it. Fishing the upper Kenai right below Kenai lake I would say that over 50% of the sockeye we catch and bonk have multiple flies in them from other anglers. And those hooks are not in the mouth like my 5/0 owners with yarn are.

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    136

    Default

    OK, After wading through the responses above. Areas that I can get to on foot as I don't have a boat. Centennial, Bings and some campgrounds near Soldotna and Sterling. Timing is earlier than the Russian. They have to get in the river bebore thay can get to the Russian say last two weeks of July? But, it appears that some stay below Skilak through the middle of August.?.? Longer leaders and bigger hooks (yarn flies...). How long, roughly, what pound test. I usually use 20/25 up by the confluence to horse them in with the crowd. Technique is similar (?) to up at the confluence. Flip and drift just off the bottom.
    Appreciate all of the responses. I have been fishing Alaska for the last 8 yrs but Sitka for the last 3 years and have an urge to come back to fish the Kenai (Seward, Homer, Russian/Kenai river)in 2007. Any other info is welcome

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,847

    Default GabeAK - do not take it the wrong way.

    Sorry GabeAk if you took it the wrong way. I have been in Alaska longer than you have been alive from your response.

    What the issue was and still is from my perspective is when and where we send people to fish. Good fishing is not the only criteria. I have talked to some refuge people and ADF&G and they are concerned about the growing sport fishery at the outlet of Skilak Lake and the camps assoicated with that fishery. You may not have been aware of that concern.

    Second, what does it say about a fishery that has 50% of the fish you catch has hooks in them? I can tell you that lethal impacts are not the only concern about hook and release. Spawning fish will retain or absorb eggs or not spawn, and therefore not contribute to future production, if stressed significantly. A number of fish will die if stressed toward the end of their journey - you just will not see them.

    With these large escapements over the past few years that is probably not as issue biologically. However, it could be on low returns.

    GabeAk, again I was not making negative comments about your guide service since the area is legally open to fishing. However, I do question the concept of fishing on spawning fish in a major spawning area. In Kenai Lake the tribs are closed to fishing because of spawning sockeye, the same is true for Kasilof, and other sockeye streams around the state tend to be closed when exposed to high density fishing. Why would the outlet of Skilak Lake be any different?

    This is probably worth a new thread but really do not want to get into the catch and release issue at this time. I just wanted GabeAk to understand why I would not send someone to the outlet of the lake. A difference of opinion.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    There is not a lot of pressure on the sockeye's below Skilak in August. There pressure that is there is 90+% on gravel bars and high bank areas, not grassy bank areas. The largest increase I have seen over the years is in the C&R trout fishery. I don't see a harm in this increase except for the overall experience. It is a C&R fishery with the vast majority of fishermen very respectful to the fish. Those that are not are quickly corrected by other fishermen, a very self policing fishery.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •