Alaska Fishing News BLOG


March Blog

March 20, 2018

Late March in Alaska is our first preview into spring, the days are longer, you can actually feel the warmth of the sun, and people are crawling out of their winter sluber to celebrate the spring and talk with anticipation about the up comming summer.  The recent sunny weather and marginal skiing has ramped up our longing and excitement for the fast approaching guide season.  One of our favorite things to guide is Kenai River rainbow trout, and taking a stroll down memory lane brings back our three favorite times (peak times) to come to the Kenai and target the trophy trout that inhabit these waters and torment your dreams.

  

June 15th - June 25th


Trout season opens on June 11, and some great fishing can happen on that day, but it is also busy.  It seems that the Keani needs a day or two to recover from the clamourous first day of trout season.  By the 15th trout appear to be moving about on their daily activites and allow us to pattern them and begin fine tuning thier movements.  Historically we see strong fishing through the end of June before the food source severly diminishes and the trout spread out.  Our favorite way to target trout during this time is swinging streamers.  


The why factor on how this time became one of our favorite three is the high energy, chrome, mid 20" firecrackers that hang in the main channel feeding on anything that floats by.  We often get interrupted by bows in the high 20" range also, but this is not the strongest time for them.  The long warm days of summer add to the experience hunintg Kenai bows during the opening of the season.


July 15 - August 5


The annual return of the 2nd run of Red Salmon to the Kenai River is a welcome to both anglers and rainbow trout.  As Reds enter the river anglers line the river bank to take advantage of a delicious food source.  Trout are hanging below anglers feeding on the filleted remains and egg skeins.  This is the first real plentiful food source for rainbows since the fall and they put on the feed bag.  We often have had days better than fall fishing druing this time in terms of quantity and quality of trout.  50 -100 trout days while hooking into a few over 10lbs is can be quite common during this time. Dead drifting egg and flesh patterns is the way to match the hatch.


August 25 - September 25

The end of August kicks off the fall party.  We have seen the Kenai start fishing stong as early as August 20, but by the 25th you are definitely going to see some good fishing.  The reason is king salmon,  they can be found spawning early in August, but not consistently.  By the end of August the majority of kings that entered the river in July and early August are now on beds dropping eggs.  Trout are egarily positioned behind them gulping up the easy food source.


As August fades and September begins red salmon can been found spawning in full swing while late arriving kings can still be found on beds.    This is probably one of the most productive times on the Kenai for trout.  On even numbered years pink slamon will also be spawning during late August into mid September.  The culmination of several species of salmon spawning create a buffet of food for trout that want to stack on the pounds.  This is the time of year when 24" bows can boost a girth of 18"!


By late September most salmon are done spawning, and dependent on the water levels the food source for trout is slowly starting to dwindle.  Historically we see a pull back in productivity towards the end of September.  But, that does not mean the big fish have left,  the decreasing water levels, temp, and light contribute to the finicky bite fluxes during this time.  Patients and observation can lead to big results, quite often there is a major bite that takes place during a part of the day which can quite possibly be the only big fish window of the day.  


Tying it Together


From June 11 - the end of September anglers can quite easily put themselves in a peak time for rainbow trout on the Kenai River no matter what your schedule looks like.  Approximately 75% of the time the Kenai is in peak season for trout.  How incredible is that?!

All three peaks also coincide with a salmon run, the June peak offers king salmon, the July peak offers kings and reds, and the fall peak offers silvers.  The ability to target trout and salmon is becoming a popular idea for many folks and adds some exciting diversity to their fishing experience.





Feburary Blog

Feburary 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Everyone!

For us at Drift Away Fishing we would like to recognize one of our favorite valentines (after our wives), Kenai Rainbow Trout.  It's true, we absloutly love fishing for them, learning more about them,  taking photos....the list goes on and on.  Since we are in the month of love  it seems fitting that we dedicate the Febuary blog to our love and stoke of Kenai Rainbow Trout.


The Kenai River is a world renowned fishery hosting several speicis of salmon all of which run on the large side of the scale,  are a ton of fun to catch and fill the freezer with, but the resident fish was the major draw to the guides of Drift Away.  A trout crazed bunch of young 20 somethings spending every free minute hunting Kenai bows while constantly trying to learn more and more was the mantra in the days before we made the move to guiding.  Our thought process didn't change much in the early days of guiding, honestly to this day we are still head over heels in love with everything trout,  maybe a touch more refined and efficient, but constantly trying to learn more.  


The excitement of tangling with a Kenai beast still provides the same adrenaline rush today as it did 15 years and thousands of trout encounters ago.  The constant evolution of the "cat and mouse" game between trout and angler is forever a battle of wits and strategy.  Time is on our side as we have seem many of the same situtations unfold over the years, but each year is drastically different.  The Kenai, like all rivers are constantly changing,  water temps and levels are the quickest to move and will dictate fish movement, holding areas, and bite activity.  Shifting gravel bars and log jams are also changing we typically see quick changes after a major weateher event like a flood.


There have been plenty of times when "that one pattern from 6 years ago" or something to that nature, was the pattern of the day.  When the normal starting line up from the previous day is not producing we start asking why and begin thinking back to similar situtations over our career to help quickly navigate us to being on the fish again.  More times than not that one old school pattern works for that day on maybe the next, then loses interest to our pink - sided friends and once again goes back into the vault of dozens of patterns and lies dormant.


When all the planets align the Kenai transforms into a fishermans Disney Land.  Each year we see many days of absolutely ridiculous fishing.  For those of you that have experienced the Kenai in full glory, it is a memory that will not soon fade, and one of the most incredible days you will have trout fishing ever.   


What's our favorite time of year to fish trout?  The easy default is September, as this month is when several species of salmon are spawning and trout are active.  But, July and August  produce days that rivial the fall in terms of quanity and quality.  June is a fantastic time to swing streamers and feel the hard charge of drag destroying  mid 20" chrome firecrackers.  Each month offers a different tactic and zone on the Kenai, but each day is just as fun as the next and we love hunting trout all season.


Fishing season will be here before we know it and our stoke is already starting to ramp up in anticipation.  The first trout trip of the season is always filled with excitement as it kicks off another year of "cat and mouse" with our favorite fish, Kenai River Rainbow Trout!


January Blog

January 10, 2018

 

Happy 2018 everyone,  we hope that your holidays were fantastic!  2017 was a solid year of fishing on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, we are excited for what 2018 will bring and most importantantly the return of Pink Salmon.  Pinks run every year, but even numbered years they can return with over 1 million.  


Once pinks enter the river they mutate rather quickly where as other salmon will remain chrome then slowly change into their spawn colors, making them not the best eating.  Catching them is easy, but the lathargic fight they produce once hooked looses its luster quickly.  


Why are we excited and making Pinks the topic of interest for the first blog of 2018?  Simple, trout love Pink salmon, as trout enthuasists we also love them.  With returns nearing or exceeding 1 million the amont of eggs and carcass left from the Pink spawn creates a large source of food for the gluttenous pink-sided trout of the Kenai.



Historically we see more above-average fish making it to the net during Pink years, the abundance in food spread over many miles of the Kenai allow large populations of fish to congregate in each prime feeding zone and remain there for longer periods of time until an event changes the story.


The time


We will start seeing Pinks in the river  in late July, while the full invasion happens during the middle of August coinciding with the 1st run of Silvers and continuing into September.  Some begin spawning during mid-end of August and peaking through mid September.  We love finding early spawning Pinks during August.  This is typically a tough and transitional time for trout as the Red run is slowing down and Kings have not really began to spawn.  Unfortunatley the early spawning of the Pinks is not a complete panacea to the mid-month slog, but can offer some great surprises.



When's the best time to get a piece of the action?  Roughly August 22 - September 25, with August 25 - September 15 as the peak.  Each year and return is different, and factoring in the water and weather changes can expedite, prolong, or just complicate the heck out of things. If you have been thinking about experiencing trout fishing on the Kenai during a pink run and want peak dates you should book now!  Many of our repeat clients book far in advance to secure these times so space disappears quickly.




The Pink spawn also opens up more water as they can be found spawning from Skilak Lake all the way to Bings.  This allows us to branch out and avoid other anglers.  The numerous spawn beds hold large quanities of trout and offer many "big fish" zones to work all day long without exhausting or killing an area.



How is this season going to pan out?  We have no idea, but what is for certain, there will be some absolutly banner days during this time and we eagilery look forward to sharing that experience with you.



September Fishing Report

October 1, 2017

 

We would like to thank everyone that fished with us this year! We met many great new folks and reunited with many long time friends. We're looking forward to next year and wish everyone a wonderful fall and winter.

As a whole we were happy with the trout fishing for the month of September, it brought us many fun days and challenged us with a few curve balls.  Fortunately the cuve balls were faily navigable keeping the head scrathing at bay.  As always when conditions change and mother nature interjects one is forced to learn from that situtation and come out the other side smarter.  





Early September


The beginning of September greeted us with the start of the Red salmon spawn, and the tail end of the King salmon spawn.  This provided us a large play ground as we were able to find good fish from just below Skilak Lake all the way to bings landing.  Each year early September is a dynamic time as multiple species are in some form of a spawning cycle.  Each species has its own specific spot and pattern allowing us a ton of water to fish and target big fish on the move.




Mid September


As the month progressed the amount of food in the river was becoming evident as the bites became sporadic and very hard to pattern.  More food allows trout to be ultra selective on when and what they want to eat.  Boat pressure also became a large factor in dictating the mood of trout.


We were convinced that there was a pattern out there that would consitently put us on good fish. It took a few days of experimentation, but once we found it the trout confirmed our idea.  The number of fish we were catching went down, but the size and quality went way up.


The bows were literally attacking this pattern, as hard hits and screaming drags became a daily occurrence.



Late September


The end of  the month was shaping up to be a good one until mother nature interjected and the Snow Glacier ice dam broke producing a large volume of water to enter the Kenai, raise water levels, and drastically washed and displaced food down river.  The rising water brought a big decrease in water temp as well, creating chilly rainbows that had to relocate to find food.  The bows overall morale at this point was fleeting and produced some challenging fishing.   This trend of tough fishing persisted into early October where decreasing water levels and spawning Silvers turned the trouts frown upside down.


August Fishing Report

September 1, 2017

 

August was a strong month from start to finish for sockeye, silvers, and trout on the Kenai River.  The below average water levels forced us to rethink our approach to silvers and rainbows, but we managed to formulate a productive game plan and had many good days throughout the month.

Overall we were happy with the performance of the fishing during August and enjoyed our time with old friends and meeting new ones.


Rainbow Trout


As always the first week of August fished great,  we saw many nice, fat fish and several bows in the 8-10lb range.  The slow trickle sockeye run kept the rainbows spread out more than usual so more work was needed to consistently stay on the fish.  Less anglers were seen catching late run reds and less angleres were present along the banks causing a pullback in food for the hungry bows.  Fortunately we were able to find areas that had seveal consistent pockets of fish in short distance from each other  allowing for steady action.


As August rolled on we saw the typical tough mid-month bite.  We had to fish more water than usual as the smaller food supply kept trout spread out.  The lower water levels definitley helped keep food in cachement areas vs. being washed down river by larger water volume helping band aid the situation.


The end of August greeted us with the king salmon spawn, once again the low water dictated which spawn beds were holding fish.  This was a fairly easy crux to navigate and the end result was some great fishing and the discovery of beds we did not know of.  Meanwhile the sockeye were staging fairly strong and some spawning adding some diversity to the mix and several big bows to the net.


We highly encourage folks to check out the late July - early August trout fishery.  This is a great time to target trophy bows and fill the freezer with salmon.


Red Salmon


The first week of August fished pretty well compared to the run as a whole.  The steady but small numbers of Reds entering the river each day kept us working for limits, but we were successful at completing that task most days.  By the end of the first week Red fishing became fairly tough, which was a touch earlier than previous years, but a salmon run is hindsight and next to impossible to predict each year.  We have no idea what next year will bring, but we are looking forward to it.


Silver Salmon


The 1st run of Silvers this year was pretty fun and trickled into early September.  The low water during the meat of the run (Aug 15 - 20) kept us throwing spinners and targeting pocket water.  We love casting for them when applicable, seeing a silver follow and strike a spinner on the retrieve is pretty exciting.  The lower water made silvers a touch more finicky and feeling the subtle bite kept anglers on their game and created a great learning experience.  The above average size of the silvers was a wonderful surprise and added a nice bonus to those looking to fill up the freezer


July Fishing Report

August 1, 2017

As usual July came and went in a hurry, and as a whole it was another great month of fishing.  Our guests had great times on the Kenai river, flyouts, and salt water.  Keeping up with the norm, the Board of Fish and Alaska Department of Fish and Game entertained (mostly infuriated) Alaskans and tourists with their continued inability to effectively manage the interests of user groups and fish returns.  More on that in the Sockeye Salmon portion of the blog.



Sockeye Salmon



As a whole the fishing for Sockeye during July on the Kenai River was tough.  We were getting limits almost everyday, but they did not come easy.  Fish and Game did a great job of preventing fish from entering the river with extensive netting, don't worry this was all in the name of resource management.  At one point during early/mid July the commercial fisheries had just shy of 1 million Kenai Sockeye netted while 150,000 made it into the river.  Follow this link to read a well researched and written article laying out this debacle https://craigmedred.news/2017/07/16/the-curtain-falls/


The past few years have been riddled with poor managment choices from Board of Fish and ADF&G, slowly their practice has become publiczed and is floating to the surface much like a turd in a pool.  After this past year it will be very interesting to see how the public acts and what will be done with this problem.  Only time will tell, but a motivated and educated public has the power to make the necessary changes so all user groups can fairly utilize the resource.



Rainbow Trout


We've said it before and we'll say it again,  JULY 20th - AUGUST 5 IS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES OF THE YEAR TO TARGET TROPHY RAINBOW TROUT ON THE KENAI!!   

The reason?  This is the first real opportunity for Kenai trout to eat a ton of food, sockeye anglers are filleting and throwing the remains back into the river where a steady supply of hungry trout eagerly await an easy meal.  When the planets properly align this time of year can and will compete or be better than the fall trout fishery.  We highly encourage you to give it a try!

For some unfortunate reason we had very few trout only days this July.  Typically we will go after rainbows after we get a limit of Sockeye, but with the tough fishing this year most days were spent concentrated on filling limits of salmon.   The few days that we did get to focus on trout were pretty fun and hope to show more folks how awesome the Kenai can be for Trout in July.

Halibut


The fine folks at J&J Charters are consistently filling limits and freezers with a smile on their faces!  We encourage you to book a day or two with these guys and add some delicious Halibut to the mix. J&J launches out of Deep Creek in the Cook Inlet,  this spot allows the captains to only travel a short distance for good fishing (30 - 45 min is average), and the very Alaskan style of  launching and loading the boats is always fun.


Flyout Fishing


Our guests had a wonderful time on flyout excursions this year.  A steady supply of Sockeye and an above average return of Silvers kept clients entertained and limits filled.  A flyout trip is always an adventure and exposes you to the raw beauty of backcountry Alaska.  There are several trip options all season,  give us a call to find out more.







June Fishing Report

July 1, 2017


Another June has passed and as a whole it was a good one.  The late and cold spring maintained through the entire month, keeping water levels down and clients bundled up.  The low water on the Kasilof didn't seem to have any drag on the Kings as they poured up river fairly steadily through most of June, while the Kenai trout fishery was met with an interesting surprise, gin clear water.  The Red salmon are still taking their happy time moving up river and seem to be a week or two behind.  What lies ahead for the rest of the season, we have no idea, but are excited to find out.  Stay with us as we update our blog with recaps each month.  Have a great summer!


King Salmon on the Kasilof River


This year bait was reintroduced and allowed on it's normal opener of May 16, we haven't seen this regulation for several years.  It has been single hook artificial for some time, with mid June last year being the first time bait was opened.  


The Kasilof fished strong from June 1 well into the third week with several fish being hooked and landed almost daily.  This was definitely the best first run of Kings on the Kasilof we have seen in a long time.   Besides strong numbers, we also saw above average size on both hatchery and natural fish, typically 12-18lbs is the average, but we saw many fish over 20lbs and close to 30lbs. Those of you that were able to experience this run saw some of the best fishing in years!


Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River 


This June we were met with a surprise, gin clear water above the Kiley River.  We were able to make out bottom in 14ft, and see bottom with great detail in 9ft.  We have only seen the middle Kenai this clear a few times in the past 15 years.   Needless to say the trout fishing in this clear of water requried some extra stealth and a jedi mindset.


The clear water can be attributed to a heavy snowfall and late/cold spring.  The lack of melt off the glaciers from snow and glacial ice is the reason for the clarity.  It is pretty cool to see the river that clear and offers some great education, but fishing could get pretty tough when the sun poked out and/or heavy boat traffic entered  the clear water.


It seemed like many of the bigger fish had followed the smolt down river fairly early, even with the late spring, we see this migration every year, but typically hook more fish over 25".  We feel the clear water made the ever scrutinizing large rainbows hyper aware and ultra picky about eating anything that did not look perfect.  These fish can pick apart an egg pattern in normal water clarity of ~ 2 ft with food moving at them 5mph.  This June these fish had spotting scopes and plenty of time to decide if they wanted to eat or not.  There were still plenty of big fish in the clear water,  as we could see large shadows darting away 30ft from the boat, but convincing them to bite was an entirely different story.


Thank God for float rods!  These set ups allowed as to run great dead drifts and swing drifts over 50ft from the boat, which is what we figured was the minimum distance an angler needed to be from the boat to have a successful day.  We absolutly loved the challenge, and our clients enjoyed seeing the bottom of the Kenai while fighting fired up trout.


Red Salmon on the Kasilof River


Red Salmon ususally start running in fishable numbers by early-middle of the third week in June,  even then the fishing can still be inconsistent as it is the beging of the run.  This year has been a bit interesting with the return of Reds to the Kasilof.  Very scratchy fishing was becoming the norm, the interesting part is dip netters were doing well at the entracnce of the Kasilof river, what happened to them and how and why they would spread out and sparsely run up river is unknown to us.  Was it the low water, water temp, or another reason that kept these fish from running up river in the large schools that we are used to?  Hard telling.  What is always consistent with salmon runs is it is a hindsight game, they always return, but when and how many can only be answered at the end of the run.

Smoked Salmon Brine Recipie

March 10, 2017

Summer is fast approaching! A recent trip to the freezer greeted me with a nice supply of salmon left over from last year. I love smoking the remainder of my salmon in the spring to make room for a new summer supply. There are many ways to brine and smoke salmon just ask Uncle Google. A quick search will leave you with overwhelming options. Through some research and trial and error I have come up with a formula that works well for me. So here it is!

Brine

~ 6-8 whole salmon fillets (fills my master built smoker perfect)

1 c. non-iodinized salt
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 qts water

Seasoning

3-4 bay leaves
2 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp old bay seasoning
5 crushed dried red chillies

Syrup

1 bottle white whine
2lbs brown sugar

Mix the brine and seasoning in a large vessel ( I use a 5 gallon bucket), Cut the salmon into 1" strips the entire length of the fillet and add them to the bucket. Marinate for a minimum of 12 hrs. Remove salmon from marinate, rinse with cold water, and set aside. Meanwhile slowly heat the white whine and disolve the brown sugar into a syrup. Let this cool before adding the salmon to the mix. Let the salmon soak in the syrup for 1 hour. Remove and place skin side down on the smoking rack ( take the racks out of the smoker) Let air dry until a candy glaze is over the fillet. Now it is time to smoke!

Smoking Salmon

I absolutly love Cold Smoking salmon and leave it in the smoker for 48 hrs at ~90 degrees using alder for the wood. Now many store bought smokers have trouble heating at 90 due to the heating element usually running at 100 degrees for it's lowest setting. Fortunately there are a few simple aftermarket redneck modifications that can turn most units into a cold smoker, which I will illustrated in our next blog.

Once the salmon is done I take the skin off, air dry it and cut it into bite size chunks, not for me, but our dog loves them for treats and it makes his coat soft and shinny.

 


 

Alaska Drift Away Fishing is proud to announce Silvertip Lodge and Cabins as its feature lodge.

Feb 20, 2017

 

Silver Tip Fishing Lodge

 

Andrea,  Jeremy and GavinJeremy, co-owner of Drift Away, and his wife Andrea purchased the lodge in April 2016 and operated it last summer. George Holthe, a long time friend, client, and fishing rep turned them on to the property several times over the last 3 years. The Anderson's finally decided to see the property and immediatly made an offer to Dean & Mary Talley, the previous owners.

Many of our repeat clients stayed at Silvertip last summer and most of them are already booked for 2017 along with the Silvertip repeat clientele as well. That being said, there is still space available but they are starting to fill in peak dates, if you are looking to get a fishing package together for the 2017 season act now!

There are six cabins ranging in size with the ability to sleep 4-6 guests. All cabins have a full kitchen, private bathroom, wifi, private grill, and coin op laundry is available on site. These cabins are nestled on 9 acres of rolling, wooded, old growth birch forest making you feel as if you were far away from everything. The beautiful part is you are only a 5 minute drive Soldotna. There you will find several restaurants, grocery stores, bars, etc. There are a handful of public fishing spots within 10 minutes of the lodge as well. Most drives to boat lauches for guided fishing trips are within 15 minutes of the cabins and other activities sites are 10 - 45 minutes away. Bottom line this property is perfectly centrally located for your relaxing adventure with us.

 

Silver Tip Fishing Cabin rentals

New this summer is an enclosed fish processing station and freezer space. Silvertip always had this amenity but not indoors with freezers next to the fish processing station. This new additon will decrease the amount of time spent processing & increase time spent sitting around the fire pit telling stories! Silvertip also plans on remodeling the fire pit. They are going to build a new large gravel pad a nice distance away from the cabins with a central fire ring and plenty of seating. Other new things that were done last season include things such as blackout blinds in all cabins so you can sleep well, water filtration system for all cabins to get awesome water, and a complete wifi system for good internet.

Follow this link to view more photos and learn about Alaska Silvertip Lodge & Cabins: http://silvertiplodgeandcabins.com/

Read what other people have to say about their stay here: Read Silvertip Reviews


 

2016 Fishing Season Review

January 15, 2017


We hope everyone had a geat holiday season! At Drift Away Fishing we are full steam ahead for the upcomming season. If you've been thinking about heading to Alaska in 2017 contact us , we'd love help you set up the trip of a lifetime. There are still peak dates available but space is filling fast.

Before we move into the future lets recap the 2016 fishing season:

1st Run Kasilof Kings

We absolutly love fishing Kings during this time and what a run it was! The fishing started off as a trickle, but quickly turened into hitting several Kings in a trip. Once Fish and Game opened bait around mid June we were hitting double digits for the first few days. Reality set back in shortly after and we went back to hooking several fish a trip. All in all the 1st run on the Kasilof was one of the best returns we have seen in a few years.

1st Run Kasilof Reds

Usually by the third week of June we start seeing fishable numbers of Red Salmon returning to the Kasilof, however this year started off pretty slow and very inconsistent. As early July began numbers started showing up, but by then we were over to the Kenai because it was on fire!

2nd Run Kenai Reds

They showed up early this year and were big! We were pleased with how early the Reds showed up in fishable numbers (late 1st week in July). Quick limits lasted through July, but as August approached the run simply died. This is very unusual as early August is typically great Red fishing, but salmon are salmon and will return when they want to with as many as there are for that year.

1st Run Kenai Silvers

Silvers showed up a touch late, and thinned out a touch early. Once they arrived in fishable numbers limits happened pretty quickly and almost everyday. The trend slowed fairly early though, limits were still hooked but a fair amount of work went into filling the fish box

2nd Run Kenai Silvers

This was a pretty tough fishery from early September through the 3rd week where it seemed that more fish were starting to push in. Limits were tough to achieve at first, but soon with some persistence fish started to regularly fill the fish box.

With the exception of 1st run Kasilof Kings the salmon run was a touch off and mirrored eachother in terms of size and percentatge of return. Off years happen and have no correlation on a year to year basis. We are very excited for what 2017 brings and so should you!

Kenai Rainbow Trout

Our trout opener (June 11) quickly put into perspective the dynamic situtation that was at hand and about to unfold. An early, warm spring lead to high water an early trout spawn and migration down river. This happens every year, but usually not this quick. The first few outings of the season quickly brought us aware that the trout have drastically moved down river in search of food due to the high water, causing the trout population to be spread ou over 45 miles of river. Good fish were still being found, we just had to cover lots of water.

The next peak time for Kenai rainbows occurs during the last two weeks of July. As Reds enter the river anglers beging to catch them and release the carcasses back into the water where hungry Trout voraciously feed on the easy food source. This time of year can and will rival the fall fishery in terms of size and numbers. The below average return of Reds in coujuction with high water kept food and rainbows spread out and inconsistent. Once again we were still able to find some great fish, but hard work and persistence was the ticket.

August presented itself with two hurdles, the first was due to the small return of reds and high water, the second was a small return of King salmon. Usually the first week and a half of August produce spectucalur trout fishing, but our food source was not there keeping the trout spread out and elusive. We almost always see this for a few days during mid august as the river transitions from red salmon to King salmon spawning. The low return of Kings lead to a small and inconsistent King spawn. The saving grace was the Pink salmon, they came in the river fairly early and began to spawn fairly early. Trout began to actively seek out Pink beds and the few King beds. We had some great days during this time, but it was short lived as spawn beds would turn on and turn off quickly keeping the bows constantly on the move.

September wasn't as tricky as August, but patience and a strong plan was need to connect the dots and put big boys in the net. The sporatic and inconsistent Pink spawn kept things interesting during most of September a glut (too much food in the water) during week three(ish) required us to be very tactical to hook the Kenai Trophy's that we all love. Both situtations created moving and picky fish.

From start to finish we had some incredible days, the Kenai is world famous for a reason. The overall trend for the trout fishery in 2016 was definitely tougher, having years of experience was a huge help at piecing toghter the puzzle to make rods bends and memories happen. Thankfully we guide the Kenai home to monster rainbows, so even when it's tough you still have the chance to hook into the fish of a lifetime.

Looking forward to fishing with you in 2017 and creating new memories and adding to exsiting ones



September Fishing Report: Kenai River
October 15, 2016

Rainbow Trout

Mother Nature kept us on our toes for the entire month. Two major factors contributed to a tough fishery; an intermittent pink salmon spawn, and a mid to late September glut above torpedo. The Pinks returned much like the Reds and Silvers, not many, but big. The lack of Pinks kept the trout moving during early September, by mid month solid patterns were forming, but not a ton of consistency. Mid to late September began to ramp up but quickly tapered off due to what we believe was a glut (too much food) above torpedo.

Below third hole held nice fish, but a ton of work was needed to extract them. We didn't see many fish pushing through transition holes most of the fall keeping those normal sweet spots consistently inconsistent. We think the trout remained pretty spread out through the Kenai during September, keeping in line with the June thru August trend.

The best part of fishing the Kenai River in tough conditions is it's still the Kenai and you run the risk of hooking the fish of a lifetime if you remain persistent.

Silver Salmon

September was one of the toughest 2nd run silver fisheries in a long time, once again the size of the the fish was nice, but no numbers.


August Fishing Report: Kenai River
September 10, 2016

"Kind of" is a great way to describe August as a whole. As always we will break down the month by species fished, but the trend across the board was definitely, "kind of". Does a tough month or season have any weight on the next month or next year? Absolutely not, Mother Nature has her way and reasoning, all we can do is hang on for the ride and work through the curve balls and duck, ducking is good.

Red Salmon - Kenai River

The first week of August was tough, it was quite evident that the Red run was definitely slowing down as we were having to pick through the fish that have been in the river longer. Putting fresh fish in the fish box happened, but not as easily. Historically by the end of the first week in August the Red Salmon run slows down and picking through the fish to get a limit of fresh ones is typical. Hilarity with ADF&G's prediction of 2.5 million was felt deeply during this time. Granted predicting a run is well, a prediction, historics, and probabilities come into play and best intentions are utilized. There are many factors that come into play for the return of salmon. We often tell our clients when we see a dead spawned out salmon floating down river in September that it is truly a small miracle for that fish to have made it back to its spawn ground and completed its life cycle. It is very cool.

1st Run Silver Salmon - Kenai River

The trend continues with the first run of Kenai Silvers, above average size but not many. The sheer size of the 1st run was impressive (10-12lbs) and almost made up for the lack of them. Limits were brought to the boat, but we did have to put forth some effort, the easy days of limits in a couple hours where not present this season. Back trolling seemed to be the best technique to get silvers into the fish box.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout

The "kind of" return of Red and King Salmon made for kind of decent trout fishing. Consistently inconsistent kept us on our toes and trying to keep up with the ever moving Rainbows. High water and a small King spawn kept the food and trout moving from one location to the next. The minute we could develop a patten, they were gone. We did find nice fish on almost every outing, but Mother Nature kept us working hard to achieve big fish in the net.



July Fishing Report

July 31, 2016

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)

Red Salmon

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,   the interesting thing is the Kenai was not ahead of schedule, but 100,000 fish shy of the escapement limit.

https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=region.NR&Year=2016&NRID=2304

 

As i sit a write this (August 7). We are seeing an increase of Reds hitting the river, could we see 2.3 mil? 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!

Rainbow Trout

July was definitely off it's 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!


June Fishing Report
June 30 2016

1st Run King Salmon - Kasilof River

The guides of Alaska Drift Away Fishing were absolutely stoked at the 1st run of King Salmon on the Kasilof River. It was one of the best returns in many years. Towards the beginning of the third week of June Fish and Game opened the river to bait. Obviously the days following that emergency order where exceptionally good.

Before bait we could only use artificial, which we love anyways. Most days throughout the early King run were met with 3-6 fish on. The three days following the bait opener where quite outrageous, with over a dozen Kings hooked each day. But the fishery quickly balanced out and by day 4 after the bait opener we were back to hitting 3-6 fish again.

 

Rainbow Trout - Kenai River

June 11th marks the opening for Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River. The first few days of the opener fished pretty good, but the writing was on the wall for what to expect in the near future. An early, warm spring lead to unusually high water causing the majority of the food source to be washed down river. The trout followed suit as well. We always see a migration of fish downriver, but not this rapid. Plain and simple if there is not a high volume of food in a given area you will not find a high volume of fish anywhere. The bows simply spread out looking for food, the result was covering water looking for our pink sided friends.

On a positive note the early spring caused the trout to spawn early and finish spawning early. This is great as by the time the opener happened the vast majority were off the spawn beds. Obviously targeting/catching rainbows while they are spawning does nothing positive for the future generations of Kenai Trout. Thank you Mother Nature!

We expect tough fishing for Trout until the 2nd run of Red Salmon show up i.e. early - mid July, but once a strong food source enters the river it should be pretty awesome fishing!

Red Salmon - Kasilof River

Consistently inconsistent is the best way to describe the beginning run of Kasilof River Red Salmon. Salmon are salmon and will come in the river where they are ready. The high water is making the fish that do enter the river swim up at a high rate of speed, making life tough to get on them. Anytime now.....is the common thought amongst the guides.

Caring for Salmon

July Fishing Report

July 31, 2016

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)

Red Salmon

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 a write this (August 7). We are seeing an increase of Reds hitting the river, could we see 2.3 mil? 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!

Rainbow Trout

July was definitely off it's 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!


May 1, 2016


August Fishing Report: Kenai River
September 10, 2016

"Kind of" is a great way to describe August as a whole. As always we will break down the month by species fished, but the trend across the board was definitely, "kind of". Does a tough month or season have any weight on the next month or next year? Absolutely not, Mother Nature has her way and reasoning, all we can do is hang on for the ride and work through the curve balls and duck, ducking is good.

Red Salmon - Kenai River

The first week of August was tough, it was quite evident that the Red run was definitely slowing down as we were having to pick through the fish that have been in the river longer. Putting fresh fish in the fish box happened, but not as easily. Historically by the end of the first week in August the Red Salmon run slows down and picking through the fish to get a limit of fresh ones is typical. Hilarity with ADF&G's prediction of 2.5 million was felt deeply during this time. Granted predicting a run is well, a prediction, historics, and probabilities come into play and best intentions are utilized. There are many factors that come into play for the return of salmon. We often tell our clients when we see a dead spawned out salmon floating down river in September that it is truly a small miracle for that fish to have made it back to its spawn ground and completed its life cycle. It is very cool.

1st Run Silver Salmon - Kenai River

The trend continues with the first run of Kenai Silvers, above average size but not many. The sheer size of the 1st run was impressive (10-12lbs) and almost made up for the lack of them. Limits were brought to the boat, but we did have to put forth some effort, the easy days of limits in a couple hours where not present this season. Back trolling seemed to be the best technique to get silvers into the fish box.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout

The "kind of" return of Red and King Salmon made for kind of decent trout fishing. Consistently inconsistent kept us on our toes and trying to keep up with the ever moving Rainbows. High water and a small King spawn kept the food and trout moving from one location to the next. The minute we could develop a patten, they were gone. We did find nice fish on almost every outing, but Mother Nature kept us working hard to achieve big fish in the net.

August Fishing Report: Kenai River
September 10, 2016

"Kind of" is a great way to describe August as a whole. As always we will break down the month by species fished, but the trend across the board was definitely, "kind of". Does a tough month or season have any weight on the next month or next year? Absolutely not, Mother Nature has her way and reasoning, all we can do is hang on for the ride and work through the curve balls and duck, ducking is good.

Red Salmon - Kenai River

The first week of August was tough, it was quite evident that the Red run was definitely slowing down as we were having to pick through the fish that have been in the river longer. Putting fresh fish in the fish box happened, but not as easily. Historically by the end of the first week in August the Red Salmon run slows down and picking through the fish to get a limit of fresh ones is typical. Hilarity with ADF&G's prediction of 2.5 million was felt deeply during this time. Granted predicting a run is well, a prediction, historics, and probabilities come into play and best intentions are utilized. There are many factors that come into play for the return of salmon. We often tell our clients when we see a dead spawned out salmon floating down river in September that it is truly a small miracle for that fish to have made it back to its spawn ground and completed its life cycle. It is very cool.

1st Run Silver Salmon - Kenai River

The trend continues with the first run of Kenai Silvers, above average size but not many. The sheer size of the 1st run was impressive (10-12lbs) and almost made up for the lack of them. Limits were brought to the boat, but we did have to put forth some effort, the easy days of limits in a couple hours where not present this season. Back trolling seemed to be the best technique to get silvers into the fish box.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout

The "kind of" return of Red and King Salmon made for kind of decent trout fishing. Consistently inconsistent kept us on our toes and trying to keep up with the ever moving Rainbows. High water and a small King spawn kept the food and trout moving from one location to the next. The minute we could develop a patten, they were gone. We did find nice fish on almost every outing, but Mother Nature kept us working hard to achieve big fish in the net.

July Fishing Report

July 31, 2016

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)

Red Salmon

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 a write this (August 7). We are seeing an increase of Reds hitting the river, could we see 2.3 mil? 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!

Rainbow Trout

July was definitely off it's 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!

When folks contact us about setting up a fishing package one of the most commonly asked questions is, "what do I do with my salmon?"


No worries it's easy, hopefully this post will clarify and answer questions you may have.


On the Water


Once you have your salmon in the net it's time to bleed out the fish.  Some people like to "bonk" the fish on the head to stun it.  We like to just cut the gills on both sides, this method seems to do a great job of getting all the blood out since the heart is still pumping.  Bonking then bleeding sometimes leaves the fish full of coagulated blood making the fillet and cleaning process a pain.  Excessive blood on the fillet will leave a not so great taste on the meat.


At the Fillet Table


Your guide should and better know how to properly fillet a fish.  The most important thing here is to not rinse the fillet off in the water.  If there is blood or excessive slime use a knife to scrape the fillet clean or use a paper towel to blot the fillet clean.  An old timer told us washing the fillet in water breaks down the meat, litterally washing the flavor out of the fish.  How much truth to that idea we don't know, but have followed that practice and have had no problems.  Besides we have seen people wash fillets off in some pretty questionable water. After the fish is filleted put it into a garbage bag and throw that into a cooler with ice.  Never put ice directly on the fish.



Vacuum Packing and Freezing


Finding a fish processor in your area should be pretty easy.  If you are fishing out of the Soldotna area Ed's Kasilof and Custom Seafoods are the top two.  The processor will vac pac your fish, freeze it, store it, and if needed Fed Ex your fish home.  However, if you go this route there is obviously a price.  Fed Exing fish home can get pretty expensive, we suggest buying a cooler or fish box and taking it with you on the plane any additional baggage costs will be cheaper than Fed Ex.  Properly frozen and packed fish will stay frozen for easily 24 hrs. 


Some lodges have thier own vacuum sealer, typically you pay for the bags and freezer space.  This is a great option and usually a touch cheaper than the processors.  But, this process can be a bit time consuming depending on how much fish you have.  One trick that we use when processing fish is to wrap the fillet in plastic wrap then vac seal it.  This technique will help protect the fillet from freezer burn if the vac seal breaks.


Tying it Together


Whether it's your first trip to Alaska or hundredth these techniques will streamline your post river process and ensure you have the best quality fish when you get home.


 



Kings vs. Reds And why we restructured our trips

March 21, 2016

June

There is no denying it we are definitely seeing a decline in our King salmon fisheries on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.  Many theories and debates as to why are in circulation, but no one really knows for sure. 
 
Both rivers have seen regulation changes regarding Kings ranging from full closures, single hook artificial only, and catch and release.  Its obvious the powers that be are trying different ideas to preserve the run while keeping the sport and commercial interests happy.
 Alaska Guided Fishing Picture
Three years ago we decided due to the lack of return and constantly changing regulations we were going to start switching our focus away from Kings to Red salmon and Trout.  One important point to note is we do fish 1st run hatchery Kings on the Kasilof from Memorial weekend thru mid June.
 
We were definitely nervous as to how this would change would translate into bookings, especially with repeat clients that have fished Kings with us for years.  We did lose some business, but what we found was most folks enjoyed Reds because there was more action and more meat for the freezer.    We also learned most folks wanted to fish for Kings because they heard that’s what you fish for in Alaska without completely realizing how difficul they are to catch, until 6 hours into a trip with no action yet.
 
Now, three years later, Drift Away is looking at a booming calendar with folks stoked on Reds and Trout!  We are excited about the change, but most importantly we feel good about going out and utilizing the resource vs. knowingly taking advantage of a troubled run.
 
Here’s a quick break down of our new Red salmon schedule:  Mid June thru early July anglers can expect to be on the Kasilof, this is a Salmon only mission, but guests can fish Trout on the Kenai another day as part of a package and the Trout fishing is quite good this time of year.  Mid July thru early August we will be on the Kenai this is the trip where switching for Trout to Reds and back again is no problem and much fun.
 
Well, there you have it, the 411 as to why when you call us for Kings and we try to sell you on Reds.  Whether you decide to fish the Kasilof in June or the Kenai in July be prepared for a unique and unforgettable experience. 



 

Why We Love Pink

Posted: February 14, 2016

For most Kenai Trout anglers the thought of an even year (i.e. 2016) brings smiles, anticipation, and wonder.  As a business we notice that these Septembers in particular fill faster.  What is the draw? 

The answer is the return of Pink salmon.  These creatures show up on even years, spawn, and then die.  The reason for a return on even years is after the salmon become smolt they immediately head for the ocean and only spend one year in the salt before making their way back up river to spawn.  Whereas other salmon species typically spend 1-3 years in a river system before heading out to the ocean spending an additional 2-5 years feeding and growing.

  Alaska Guided Fishing PictureAlaska Guided Fishing PictureAlaska Guided Fishing Picture

 

We love them!

It’s true! When the Pinks return to the Kenai River they come with an army, 1million is not a huge return! How this relates to Rainbow Trout is a ton of food for them to get fat and happy. With the King Salmon returns being bleak, an additional food source is quite welcomed by Kenai River Trout.

Usually our biggest Rainbows come on Pink years, it seems the big Bo’s are willing to hang out longer in the river due to the extra easy food source. By early fall most Trout are already showing some signs of obesity. This fattening trend continues through the fall making for exceptional fishing.

The 2014 pink year was one for the ages!  We were blessed with perfect fishing conditions throughout the entire fall.  What lies in store for this year?  We have no way of knowing. We can probably expect some close encounters with Rainbow Trout of epic proportions.  When and where is another story.  

If you have been thinking about fishing the Kenai River for Rainbow Trout, this year would be a good one. The window of awesome will start mid/late August and run into October. Plenty of time for greatness! Hope to see you out there!

Alaska Guided Fishing PictureAlaska Guided Fishing PictureAlaska Guided Fishing Picture

 

****All photos on this blog post were taken during the fall of 2014.

 





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Alaska Drift Away Fishing

Alaska Guided Fishing Trips & Packages | Salmon & Rainbow Trout | Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, Alaska

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Contact Information

Phone: +1 907-529-8776

Email: info@guidekenairiver.com

Mailing Address: Alaska Drift Away Fishing, PO BOX 652, Sterling, AK 99672, USA

Physical Address: 35930 Janota Circle, Soldotna, AK 99669, USA

Trip Departures Address: Izaac Walton State Park Boat Launch Sterling, AK 99672, USA