September Fishing Report

September on the Kenai River sang the same tune for rainbow trout and silver salmon, good, but hard.  The reasons were entirely different between the two species, but the tactics remained the same, strategically work water that is holding fish.  It is a simple concept much like “buy low, sell high”, however, it’s not easy especially when the bite is finicky.

Rainbow Trout

The beginning of September fished strong despite the Snow River Glacier ice damn bursting.  Normally the increase in water flow and decrease in water temp makes trout angry, but the abnormally high water due to the hot summer only made the flood water raise the overall middle Kenai CFS a small amount, and barely had any effect on the water temp.
Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout
Week two into week three saw the toughest fishing, but best results.  The red salmon spawn was in full swing flooding the river with food.  This is what we call a “glut”  Kenai bows do not have to search hard for food, they also do not have to pack into one zone.  Throw in some angling pressure and you have a recipe for tough fishing.
Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout
The silver lining is what was mentioned above, strategically work water holding fish.  The tough fishing kept anglers chaotically running around or camping on one small zone.  This action by anglers caused big trout to move into tiny areas just outside of the angling pressure. When boat traffic increased close to thier area, the big fish would not feed.
Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout Kenai River Rainbow Trout
Week three into week four was much like week two but harder.  The cooler temps made the water levels decrease, consolidating the food and fish.  The big bows became more elusive and picky.  The guides of Drift Away were primarily focused on silver salmon at this time.

Silver Salmon

We dropped into the silver game around the 14th of September and much like the trout fishing a strategic plan was needed to stay on pockets of fish. Since silver salmon are not residents of the Kenai River like trout,  we look to find them in travel lanes, transition zones, and resting areas.  These spots will be on and off all day as salmon move into and out of these places, fishing pressure increases/decreases, and the amount of sun/time of day.
Kenai River Silver Salmon Fishing Kenai River Silver Salmon Fishing Kenai River Silver Salmon Fishing
The bite was also fairly light, it was rare to hook 3 silvers and land all three (daily limit).  This was fun as each encounter with a silver was a shot of adrenaline, and the 50% landing ratio kept the game interesting.  One of the best parts of fishing silvers in late September is catching them in water less than 2ft deep, it’s not uncommon to see parts of their tail sticking out of the water.  Tying into a 15lb silver salmon in super shallow water never gets old.
Casting custom painted plugs was by far the most productive and remained the go-to for the rest of the month and into early October.