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Seasonal Fishing Report
Bill Coulson let a couple friends start off the season this year on June 11, by catching 24" and 29" rainbows before he got started. He soon got in on the action with a 28" beauty.
Our early sockeye run started very strong and we had several days with boats landing 100 or more fish. If you were there for the right week, you had a ball. Suddenly, the run slowed and became spotty.
Trout fishing was excellent, but slowed as well, when salmon success petered out. Our ADF&G operated a unique “test fishery” to help with their budget or lack of one. In other words, they netted and sold our fish for profit. Let’s hope the test failed as the angling public was not pleased. While the Russian River reached escapement, the availability of fish for anglers was altered drastically during prime time. On a positive note, lower sockeye numbers late in the month required us to alter some tactics and I learned a few more tricks for hooking up with those chrome beauties.
It was an interesting month for trout fishing. We had cool weather and cold, clear water. There was no glacial runoff and the Kenai simply did not look like the glacial river we expect. It fished more like a typical freestone with hot bites and occasional hours of inactivity.
With little flesh from the early sockeye run, the trout were very opportunistic and focused on bugs and juvenile salmon. Nymphs, streamers and even dries had their moments, but each day was a new puzzle to solve. It was fishing and I really enjoy working for the bite, sometimes. We still had some great days and as always, some fine fish were taken on every trip. The late run tributary sockeye were available most of the month with peak action days spread sporadically throughout. A large number of fish staged on the lower Kenai this year and fishing below Skilak Lake was the best call for filling up on chrome fish.
Sometime during August the trout bite goes from good to just hit the water and be ready. It only takes a few Kings to begin dropping eggs to get the trout and dollies sparked into a feeding frenzy. Later in the month, the sockeye and pinks begin dropping and the egg feast is on. We did not see nearly as many Kings spawning as ADF&G return estimates indicated, but we still had great trout fishing. I guess the fish were hungry. Our late sockeye run was strong and again, although I did not see the salmon spawning numbers I expected based on escapement estimates, the trout fishing was great. Silver Salmon show up in August and we love to target them on the fly.
It always goes too fast and should really be four months long. It was another great September on the Kenai River. We found fast action on both the upper and middle Kenai River reaches at times and sustained good fishing throughout the month. September was the fairest weather month of the 2010 season and well earned after the cloudy and moist summer days. Water levels progressively dropped as the nights got colder and the trout began to move in search of food and deeper cover. Big silvers pushed quickly through the skinny water and were spread throughout the river by month’s end.
October is always a special and unique month with weather changes and conditional events. A storm brought the water up quickly and created several epic days after stirring up the eggs and flesh. The trout, dollies and silvers went on a savage bite. Then the water began falling with the leaves and many of our fish begin to move to the lakes for wintering. Those that remain are more challenging and rewarding to catch and often big and beautifully colored.
Thanks to everyone who helped us help them enjoy another season of Kenai River Time. If you can't wait until next season in Alaska, come visit me in Montana this spring, meet up with Stacy in Baja, or join us in Florida this May.
Kenai River Fishing Report 2009