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Picture Of The Month



Tight lines and fair seas, Pete!

Topic: Take A Shot At A Kenai King - Perfect Window of Opportunity  (Read 809 times)

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Klondike Kid

  • Lingcod
  • *****
  • The Eagle Whisperer
  • Alaska Outdoor Journal
  • Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
  • Date Registered: Sep 2016
  • Posts: 488
It was no surprise when ADFG issued an Emergency Order prohibiting retention of any early run Kenai king salmon through June 30th. Chinook runs throughout the state have been restricted or completely closed season after season for over 15 years and counting. Then on June 16th ADFG issued another Emergency Order announcing the JULY late run of Kenai king salmon would begin its July 1-31 season restricting anglers to artificial only, single hook tackle, i.e. no bait. The fortunate news was anglers are still allowed to keep any size king.

For kayakers the Kenai offers very few spots where one could catch a king salmon due to its fast current and few opportunities to haul out at the end of a trip.

The one exception that is totally unexploited by kayakers or power boats is the tidewaters of the mouth of the Kenai River. You can launch from the City Dock ramp at River Mile 2 and have about 4 terrific miles of tidal influenced river all to yourself....BEFORE JULY 10TH WHEN DIPNET SEASON OPENS!

The City Dock ramp is FREE to launch through July 9th. From July 10th - July 31st the city charges $35 to launch due to dipnet season boaters flocking to the fishery. Then from August 1st when dipnetting and king salmon season is closed the ramp is FREE to launch again.

The ADFG July chinook escapement goal of Kenai kings greater than 34 inches is 15,000 - 30,000. And every king that enters the river passes through the tidewaters unchallenged. Power boat anglers focus on the "pinch points" of the narrow freshwater section beginning around Mud Island at River Mile 9.

Kayakers can troll a K15 or K16 single hook Kwikfish with or without a Jet Diver depending on the level of the tide. From July 1st through July 9th the tides are absolutely perfect for kayakers wanting to target a king. High tides are from 10am on the 1st to 4:21pm on the 9th and the entire series are neap tides with modest tide level changes.

STRATEGY:

Launch an hour or two before high tide, work the river wherever you desire since kings are very scattered in tidewater. Head up river past the canneries towards the bridge area and beyond to stay out of the commfish buoys and anchor lines that could cost you a fish. Once the tide changes all the backed up freshwater will begin to flush out the Cook Inlet turbid water and the conditions will get as clean as fishing up in the flowing river. You can 'power troll' in one place against the current and wait for a king. Or if the current is fast enough to keep your lure at depth while back trolling that is a good tactic.

The Odd Year pink run that has established itself in the Kenai River has the timing of the Matsu Valley pinks. Meaning they will be entering the Kenai in early July too so there is an opportunity to connect with them as well as a searun Dolly Varden. And sockeye have been known to hit a Kwikfish on rare occasions too.

If I spot an abundance of sockeye jumpers I intend to take that opportunity to try trolling an upscaled version of my kokanee rigs behind a dodger as tens of thousands of reds start entering the river for its July/August run.

So if anyone is out there with an itch for a kayak king, the conditions could not be better and the potential is maybe a 50 or 60 pounder that will be a memory of a lifetime.  The map image is an excerpt from the Regs booklet page 52.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Take a Kid Fishing and Hook'em For Life!  ~KK~


SD2OR

  • Salmon
  • ******
  • Location: Eugene, OR
  • Date Registered: Jul 2020
  • Posts: 570
Oh man, I gotta get to Alaska one of these days!
A day without fishing probably wouldn't kill me,
but why risk it?

2nd Place AOTY 2022
1st Place Tiny Fish Slam 2022

1st place with Merz (it was mostly Merz!)  for team event, and 11th place for individual,  BCS 2023

2007 Red Hobie Outback "Serenity"
2021 Camo Hobie Outback "Lagertha"


Drifter2007

  • Salmon
  • ******
  • Location: Lebanon
  • Date Registered: Mar 2017
  • Posts: 707
Man I would love to give that a whirl!
1991 Desert Storm (USMC)
2004-2005 OIF (US ARMY)
2006-2007 OEF (US ARMY)
2009-2010 OIF II (US Army)
2016 Retired!


Klondike Kid

  • Lingcod
  • *****
  • The Eagle Whisperer
  • Alaska Outdoor Journal
  • Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
  • Date Registered: Sep 2016
  • Posts: 488
I'll give you guys some EYE CANDY of what lies ahead for July 1 - 9 for me.

The Boat Launch Web Cam
https://www.kenai.city/dipnet/page/boat-launch-camera

Looking from the boat launch up the river towards the canneries
in the far distance that I reference. This is a bit MISLEADING. There will be a hundred commercial fishing drift net boats anchored in this stretch during the times they are not out fishing sockeye. Its like a mine field of buoys, anchor lines and boats on the hook to dodge if you had a big uncontrollable king on the line. Best to go above the canneries where there are no more moorage buoys. Cleaner river bottom too.
https://www.kenai.city/dipnet/page/kenai-river-camera
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Take a Kid Fishing and Hook'em For Life!  ~KK~


YakHunter

  • Lingcod
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  • Dreaming of retirement........
  • Location: Wyoming
  • Date Registered: Jun 2020
  • Posts: 476
This just got added to my retirement bucket list.  Thanks!
Hobie PA14 - Va'a project yak
Hobie Outback
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