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Thread: looking back at 09 Kenai Kings...

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    Default looking back at 09 Kenai Kings...

    For those of you who fished Kings on the Kenai during mid/late July this past season, you probably noticed that there were far less fish caught in tidewater than usual. Some of the most popular holes on the Kenai (The Beav, Mud Island, the Pasture, Cunningham, and the Bridge) were virtually abandoned on some days due to a complete lack of production. While fishing was generally tougher than usual, and high water played its part, there were still fish being caught in decent numbers - nearly all of them from the Toilet Hole and above. I've heard lots of theories behind this phenomenon, but I'm curious what some of you guys think. I've fished the river for 20 years+ and can't remember a year when the trend was this drastic. You know they had to push through tidewater to get upstream where they were finally being caught, but they certainly weren't biting down there... weird.... any ideas?
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    Well, when was the last time anyone saw the Kenai at this high of a water level and this off color in July? Just my opinion but...The farther downriver you fished the Kenai this past July the more gunk was in the water which made it almost impossible to run your gear without having to clean it every few seconds. Kind of like fishing in a blinding snowstorm through the eyes of the kings. There was still gunk in the water above the toilet hole but just not as much. Add this to the water being even more off color the farther you went down the river (once entering the tidal zone) with the mud banks and "there you go".

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    Default looking back at 09 Kenai Kings...

    I'm sure the clarity had alot to do wiht it. However, I wonder if all the increased pressure assoicated with the dipnet fishery is not impacting the way those fish behave and bite in the tidewater??

    I think that extra stress and strain might be a factor.?.

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    Default yea, but...

    I wondered the same thing about the dipnet fishery... I know fish don't think like we do, but I can imagine that getting through the dipnet gauntlet at the mouth to be a traumatic experience, and it could effect their behavior as they head upstream through the tidewater. I honestly don't think that's the reason, but it has certainly crossed my mind.

    The clarity was a big factor for parts of July, but there were a few windows in which the water level and clarity were just fine, and it didn't improve the tidewater fishery at all... it could have been that the water just happened to clear up during times in which fishing would have been poor either way, who knows...

    any other ideas?
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    Early on in July I was seeing a pretty consistent bite as folks followed the kings up as they came in on the tide. You could see the push as the the tide came in by the nets in the air. Some days it was a bigger push than others for sure and you had to be there when they came by or you missed em. More than one day most of the boats had already headed upstream when the push came. But, the kings did not seem to be holding for very long nor did they seem to be flushing.

    Not sure what to think about the dipnet net fishery and what it does to their peace of mind. It didn't seem to bother them in years past so...

    I do know that ADF&G did really good on netting kings in the area ABOVE Skilak Lake this year. Maybe they were just pushing on thru with the high water and all.

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    I would think the higher water would push a lot of traveling fish off to the side into the softer water, probably also encouraged them to keep on moving rather than holding up in some of the typical spots.

    But I think more water also tends to disperse the fish, making it more difficult for the fleet to readily intercept them, especially when fishing less than a full spread of rods.

    My brother fished the third week of July in the usual haunts and really struggled to find willing biters.

    Not really sure I could have helped him, but had I been there, I would have changed tactics accordingly.
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    Default Agree

    I agree that tidewater was a tough bite in July. On Mondays we only went to the Pillars or Eagle Rock and never did bounce the Beav or row out Mud Island, which has always been killer in the past. We basically would back troll above College hole, Sunken Island, Poachers, then drift and drink coffee until we bounced Big Eddy for the rest of the trip. Always caught fish, and I'm not one to let a king go, so I was rowing quite a bit. We did catch fish in water that was quite slow compared to normal. Maybe the fish were pushed to the side or were just resting there.

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    Default Water Temperature

    Start keeping track of the water temperature differential between the inlet salt that the kings are exiting and the lower river fresh water. Then compare with your catch rates. There you will find your answer.

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    Last year was the first time I fished tide water out of a power boat in 15 plus years the water clarity was bad with some of the biggest trees, stumps, trash, ect ect that iv seen. Some people called it an early season with that lack of action. This is just my thoughts without scientific proof that the run was on the skinny side, smaller then what the counter said was in the river combined with the poor visibility & high water made for some long hours between bites,. On a side note a friend of mine & board member showed me some pictures of a King caught by ADF&Gs test net just below Cooper Creek I think is what he said??? Boyzz that fish might have given Les Anderson some competition. Icebule may have seen the same,,,,,, it was Beautiful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lure View Post
    Start keeping track of the water temperature differential between the inlet salt that the kings are exiting and the lower river fresh water. Then compare with your catch rates. There you will find your answer.
    This is the kind of information I was looking for.... I always peek at the river temp on my fish finder, but am completely oblivious to the ocean temp (probably pretty steady right?) I suppose it must have taken the fish an unusually large amount of time to adapt to the relative drastic change in water temps, leaving them lock-jawed until they were good and ready to bite - around honeymoon cove.
    I never thought of it that way before... I always look for optimum river temps, but don't actually pay that much attention to it because it's really out of my control; however, I never really thought about the actual difference in temps between the inlet and the river. This is the first explanation that makes perfect sense, and something I can actually pay attention to and respond to as a fisherman. I would love to get ahold of some data that shows the difference in inlet vs. river temps during july... it would be great to compare 09' (slow tide bite) to 08' (hot tide bite) and see if there's really a trend.
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  11. #11

    Default CAREFUL there Joe!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lure View Post
    Start keeping track of the water temperature differential between the inlet salt that the kings are exiting and the lower river fresh water. Then compare with your catch rates. There you will find your answer.
    We don't want science to interfere with recreation! Water temperature shouldn't have anything to do with the fish activity.... right???

    Seriously, I really think that along with the turbidity of the water, the temperature differential between the inlet and river truly makes the fish think about finding more comfortable climates rather than killing that irritating kwik fish...

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    Quote Originally Posted by markw3 View Post
    For those of you who fished Kings on the Kenai during mid/late July this past season, you probably noticed that there were far less fish caught in tidewater than usual.
    The other thing so many of us are already forgetting is that 2009 also happened to be the all-time worst in-river return of late run kings since the advent of the sonar counter.

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    Question is on all of our minds i am sure and that is what will 2010 hold? Any guestimates out yet on that one?

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    LR2-o's from 2006 brood, escapement = _____
    LR3-o's from 2005 brood, escapement = _____
    LR4-o's from 2004 brood, escapement = _____
    LR5-o's from 2003 brood, escapement = _____

    OK I started this post only to find out I have NONE of the pertinent data in my files. Inquiry sent off to ADFG!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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