Big news is the rush of reds into the Kenai River

July 20, 2011 

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Here is a quick look at the fishing prospects this week, from the crew at Mountain View Sports Center in Anchorage:

The second run sockeyes have hit the lower Kenai in historic numbers. Personal use dipnetters on the Lower Kenai have been having some banner days in the last week. Fish and Game raised the limit to six fish a day by rod and reel for the lower and middle river starting today.

Ocean fishing is also producing wonderfully. Try Homer for halibut and sockeye or Seward for halibut, silvers and ling cod. Hoochies tipped with herring are the best bait for silvers. Salmon heads, soft plastic jigs and herring work best for halibut and ling cod.

Grayling fishing in the Interior has been good as well. It's a great option to get away from the crowds farther south. Think gin-clear water and micro tippet. Try the many lakes and streams along the Denali highway. Nymphs and dry flies work well.

Bird Creek, south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, has opened. Fishermen are catching some pinks and silvers on the incoming tides. Cast and retrieve a size 3 Vibrax or other medium-sized spinner for the best results.

From Alaska Troutfitters in Cooper Landing:

Sunday, more than a quarter-million sockeyes poured into the Kenai River, creating a frenzy of bent rods and straining nets. The fish are boiling in the lower stretches and should reach the upper river soon.

Trout fishing on the Kenai is fair for the time being. Try swinging leeches in the morning and nymphs and dry flies in the afternoon. Keep in mind that trout fishing will become more difficult as the frenzy of salmon flood in. However, once the carcasses stack up, the flesh fly fishing should be off the charts.

The Russian River remains a hot spot for trout on dries and nymphs. If you don't see fish rising, try a submerged caddis.

From other quarters:

Note that today's increase in the bag limit for sockeyes in the Kenai does not include the Russian River and the Upper Kenai "fly-fishing-only waters" near the Russian. The limit there remains three a day.

Fish and Game is projecting that the late run of Kenai sockeyes will exceed 2.3 million fish. The department expects that the "optimal escapement" goal of 700,000 to 1.4 million sockeyes will be reached.

Also on the Kenai, the personal use dipnet fishery in the lower river is now open 24 hours a day. That began Wednesday night and will continue until 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 31.

Dipnetters shouldn't expect quite the great fishing seen in the last week. The big pulse of fish that entered the Kenai last weekend has already moved through the lower river.

The Daily News fishing report is published each Thursday. For the latest and most comprehensive information every day, check the links on adn.com/outdoors/sportfishing. In addition to reports from Department of Fish and Game biologists across the state, you will find lots of photos in the Nice Catch galleries, links to current weather, river and stream flows, tide charts, fish counts, salmon run timing, fishing derbies across the state and how-to videos. You can also buy a fishing license online, check the regulations, read a blog with the latest fishery closures and emergency orders, and sign up for our fishing newsletter email.

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