20 Jul Alaska Fishing Report: July 1, 2020
We are almost a third if the way into our 2020 fishing season and it has certainly been one to remember. This is our 30th year guiding here on the Kenai Peninsula and by far this has been the most uncertain, different, yet unique season yet. Without a doubt Covid has played a major role in our 2020 fishing season although remarkably we have stayed consistently busy and have still managed to have a great beginning to our season.
As usual we began our 2020 fishing season on the Kasilof river in pursuit of newly arriving king salmon. With the Kenai opening under normal rules, the Kasilof also opened on May 16 as it does normally with bait allowed and a two fish limit. The first day of bait saw limited success as the water was cold and there just were not a lot of kings in the river just yet. This changed quickly as with each passing day, the run continued to build and by the last week of May into the first week of June, fishing could be rated as excellent with multiple kings coming to the net daily. This level of success sustained itself until July 10 when managers made the decision to close the Kenai for king fishing through June due to low fish numbers. This in turn resulted in restrictions being placed on the Kasilof which went to no bait, single hook and retention of only one hatchery fish per day. This definitely had a big impact on not only the number of kings caught but also the number of boats on the river. Fortunately, with fewer boats and with persistence, out boats were still able to put several nice kings in the net during the remainder of the June season. It was an exceptionally good early run king return to the Kasilof this year.
With the restrictions placed on the Kasilof, we did shift a good portion of our fishing attention on sockeye vs. the kings. Timing was actually perfect for this as once the bait restriction were imposed, e started to see very good numbers of sockeye arriving on each tide. By the third and fourth week of June, into July, the Kasilof sockeye return really picked up steam and daily limits have been a common occurrence.
Fly Out fishing for sockeye at Big River Lake has been outstanding this season so far. We added a new boat to our fleet over there this year and that has been a very nice bonus for both the guides and the guests. The run started off pretty strong in the first ten days of June and has not looked back since. Daily limits have been the norm and there has been a great deal of bear activity along the lake. We are seeing multiple sows with cubs along with numerous other brown and black bears. This trip is always one of our most popular ones and this season has been no exception.
Trout fishing so far on the Kenai has been good with action around the opener on June 11 mainly occurring in the upper Kenai and the section below Skilak Lake. In the weeks since, the trout population has moved throughout the river and recently we have been seeing very good action right here by our lodge, upriver from Soldotna. This fishing will just continue to improve as the season progresses, eventually peaking in the fall months.
Halibut fishing has been outstanding this season with lots of big, healthy fish hitting the deck. The majority of our trips have departed from Ninilchik and Anchor point and limit fishing has definitely been the rule. We have seen a handful of fish that top the 100 lb. and lots of fish in the 30-70 lb. range. This fishery will continue to produce limit catches well into the fall season.
As we enter into July and August and the busiest portion of our fishing season, we’d like to express a very heartfelt thanks to all that have fished with us thus far this season. With all the uncertainty and hoops to jump through while traveling, we know it took a leap of faith for many to get here and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to take you all fishing and enjoy some semblance of normalcy this summer.