31 Jul July 2016 Fishing Report
July was met with great weather and as usual great clients. The fishery was interesting but productive. We typically fish the Kenai exclusively for Red salmon and trout during this time of year. (This marks our 3rd year not targeting Kings on the Kenai and Kasilof due to the continuing decline in King Salmon returns)
In like a lion out like a lamb is a great way to describe the July Red salmon fishery on the Kenai River. We began by getting quick limits starting in the first week of July, which is early, and continued this trend through the third week. The run numbers were not big, but consistent, a steady trickle if you will.
In the infinite wisdom of Fish and Game they raised the limit from 3 to 6 in the beginning of week four. Normally this makes sense as the run escapement of 750,000 fish have been accounted for. However this year they decided to open it up at 680,000 on a prediction of 2.5 million fish returning. Literally, the run came to a screeching halt the moment the limit was raised. Is the run over? Hard to say, salmon runs are a hindsight. Attached is the link for the emergency order, https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2016&NRID=2304 The interesting thing is the Kenai was not ahead of schedule, but 100,000 fish shy of the escapement limit.
As I sit to write this (August 7). We are seeing an increase of Reds hitting the river, could we see 2.3 million? Who knows. What I do know is the continued dereliction of ADF&G’s management system regarding the Kenai and Kasilof rivers has now caught the public eye and is quickly being scrutinized and put under the microscope. Many are quickly realizing the decisions made by ADF&G over the past few years regarding the 2nd run of King and Red salmon are not entirely for the preservation of the resource but fueled by political and commercial interests. The plot to this story will only get more interesting over the next few seasons……stay tuned!
July was definitely off its normal mark of productivity for Trout. This did not come to much of a surprise as the high water in conjunction with the small return of Reds made for tough and inconsistent fishing. The correlation between Kenai River Trout and salmon returns are ying and yang as Kenai bows primary feed off of salmon eggs and flesh. Anglers fillet and throw the carcass and eggs from reds back into the river creating a wonderful mid season food source for Trout. We are staunch believers that the July trout fishery has the ability to match and sometimes out preform the fall fishery due to the above reason. Even though the fishing was tough we were still able to squeeze out some nice fish!