Made it to the Pillars State Park at 12:05 pm.Parking lot totally empty.Pull down to the boat ramp and off-load the Ultimate.Get everything all set up and push off to let the wife get some pictures of boat in the water.Come back in to let her paddle around a little to see how she likes it before we go pick up her new boat.She sets up to fish off the bank for a while and I try to help her get used to her new bait casting reel.She's always used spinning gear so she needed a little encouragement and guidence.
Waited til 1:30 in case any forum members/readers showed up to join this float and to be closer to slack low tide which was at 2:46 pm.No one else showed up and the wife was casting okay so it's time for me to shove off and try to find some king action.
Knowing I would be having to spend most of my effort controling the kayak I figured the best way to fish would be with a jig under a bobber.So I tie on a black and red nightmare jig and set it at 4 foot deep.Throw out about 40ft off the bow and start working down stream.I have fished a lot between the Pillars and Beaver Creek and have a good working knowledge of the deeper holes.So those areas were my target.The river is so low the deep spots were fairly easy to find.By the time I got to Eagle Rock I'd had no hits so pulled in behind Eagle Rock to change jigs.
Tied on an orange/pink/white 1/4 0z jig and while I was doing that the current had pushed me down onto a gravel bar.Ok,shove off that and get back into some deeper stuff.As I was going thru crossover the wind started picking up enough that I found myself doing a lot more paddling to keep my bow pointing down stream.Just as I got into Chicago----- Bobber Down.Sweet.........I thought. I'd hung a submerged tree Paddle above that and got unhooked without too much hassle.It was right at slack tide so I'm sure there was a calming influence involved.
Continue down thru Chicago working the high bank side and keepig an eye out for more hidden trees.Fighting a head wind and work on down to Beaver Creek.This is about the deepest hole in the lower Kenai so I put on a dark purple jig,adjust my depth and slowly push through the hole.Stayed on the deep side under Riddles Lodge where it's 12-20 ft deep.Went through once then back paddled back up through and floated down again.Current was very soft and there was some protection from the afternoon wind.But I could not intice any strikes.
Keep going down river past Mud Island which was totally new territory for me.I had never fished lower than Beaver Creek before (except for dip netting by the canneries) so I was in virgin water for my personal expirence.Took the channel to the right side of Mud Island and got hung on another tree.****-it. Got loose from tree and shortened up to 4 ft again.Put on a white/pink jig.Just as I was nearing the Bluffs bobber started acting weird.Suddenly bobber down----cool----- a nano-second later a seal pops up not 10 ft from my port side blowing air and scaring the holy crap outa me.I cussed him pretty good.That definitly got my attention.
I figure that if seals are up that far (this is about RM 9) they are there for food.So while I was a little POed for getting startled I was also encouraged by the seals presence.Continue down toward Pastures as the wind was pushing 20+ mph.Still workin the pink/white jig.1st on side then the other side.I come around a corner and there are 3 seals working/fishing ahead of me.This will have any kings nearby more nervous than anything so I paddle on down to get away from the seals and surprisingly they go up-river .Now maybe I can get into some fish.
A little further past the Pastures the water clarity has gotten very silty.The tide was coming in hard by now.I was still being pushed down river by current,it was just at a very slow pace.Perfect for jig fishing.Unfortunately visibility had dropped to about 6 inches---not so perfect.If the river was open for bait I believe my chances of hooking up would have been much greater.But that was not the case at this time.So a guys gotta do what he's gotta do.As I came around another corner I could see the observation walk ways of Cunningham Park.Decision time----------keep going with diminishing visibility or pull out here ?I still had 4 miles to go to get to the Kenai city ramp and I had already gone 6 miles so I decided to call it good for today.
The tide had only come in about 5 ft of a 17 ft change so there was a lot of mud on the bank.Slippery mud....need I say more....?After a few falls and curse words I made it up the bank and called the wife for a pick up.
While I did not catch any fish it was a good day on the river.I learned some new area,got to share time with a lot of eagles,ducks,moose and terns.I had thought that floating an in-coming tide would bring in more fish,but I'm not so sure that it is neccessary in the lower Kenai River.In fact,I now beleive that fishing high tide going out might work out better.Any fish that came in with the tide would already be in the water you want to cover and the speed of the current could work to your advantage when dragging a jig or especially hanging bait.As the river level rises I may have to rethink this concept but I can say I will make this float again.As more fish enter the river to begin their spawning runs my chances can only improve .
Next time,maybe some of you will join-in and share this wonderful river.And maybe I/we can post some awesome pics.