01 Jul June 2017 Fishing Report
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 the 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 the bottom in 14ft, and see the 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 required 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 was 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 setups 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 absolutely 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 usually 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 beginning 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 entrance of the Kasilof River, what happened to them and how and why they would spread out and sparsely run up the river is unknown to us. Was it the low water, water temp, or another reason that kept these fish from running upriver 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.