I spent most of last week fishing my favorite haunts on the Kenai River and Lower Peninsula streams. I was showing my Florida saltwater guide and his girlfriend some of the Kenai Peninsula's roadside fisheries.
The fishing was not spectacular but we managed to hook and land of couple of nice trout and salmon.
The best part of my outing was my friend's bewilderment at the flies and tackle we use to catch fish in Alaska. I handed him a spool of 10-pound tippet and he asked what it was for. I told him trout, and he shook his head. "I never use anything even close to that in Montana. Are you sure trout?" he said.
I didn't want to tell him that was my light tippet for big Kenai rainbows.
Then I handed him some flies and tackle we use for catching rainbows on the Kenai -- beads, split shot, bobbers, big strips of rabbit fur, marabou. He shook his head and told me this wasn't really fly fishing. He had a point.
Nevertheless, he managed to accept the parameters of the Alaska angling game and spent the rest of the day landing one large trout after another, topping off the day with his largest river-caught rainbow. Like the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do."
Here's the latest report from the field:
Silver fishing has remained fair to good on the Kenai River. Water conditions are dropping daily -- the latest CFS was 15,800 as of Wednesday morning.
I spoke with Rod Berg of Rod and Real Charters. Here's his report from Wednesday morning:
"We ended up with client limits of silvers in the afternoon. Limits on the morning trips as well. The fishing is fair to good at this point. We have to work for them. It seems they prefer plugs equally to egg offerings; K-15's in chartreuse variables and the 13's, 14's and the M-2. Average size fish this year with one going 14 lbs. Kasilof was slow 2 days ago when we last fished it."
I also spoke with David Wilson of Let's Fish Charters, and he said he managed a limit of silver during the morning and was heading to the middle river for some trout fishing. He said the Kasilof has been very slow so he was spending most of his time on the Kenai fishing for silvers.
The trout fishing has been fair in the middle river with a few larger fish caught. The water was a little off color this weekend but is improving daily. I fished the middle river Saturday and Sunday and the trout fishing was fair. I saw good numbers of silvers caught by anglers using gear. Fishing has been better early in the morning than in the afternoon.
The offshore Deep Creek and Anchor Point Marine fisheries have been good for halibut with a few larger fish being caught. There are minus tides this week with slightly better tides this weekend: it may be a better time to go clamming.
Halibut fishing in Homer has remained good with most boats still returning to dock with limit catches. A few feeder kings are being caught near Chugach Island.
Lingcod fishing in the Chugach has also been productive, with better fishing near the Barren Islands and Gore Point.
Gene Jones of Bellevue, Wash., still leads the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby with a 236.2-pound halibut. There's three weeks to go in the derby, and although they've had a banner year for anglers catching tagged fish, some tagged fish are still out there.
Salmon fishing in Seward has slowed a bit, according to Steve Babinec of Saltwater Safari Company. The silvers are starting to turn and developing kypes, and a limit is harder to come by, he said. The silvers are inside the main bay and fair fishing still can be had by banks and boat for anglers willing to put some time in.
The good news is the fishing is good for larger halibut. Babinec said larger fish are dropping back to the deep water and he's been catching larger fish around 300 feet than what he had been catching. The usual chicken spots off of Junket and Bainbridge were still productive for smaller fish, he said.
Rich Taro of Anchorage claimed $10,000 Sunday for catching one of the biggest fish in the 58-year history of the Seward Silver Salmon Derby. Taro hooked his 21.25-pound coho Saturday.
Only seven fish have topped the 20-pound mark over the years, and only two top Taro's catch. Shirley Baysinger set the derby record with her 22.24-pound silver in 2002, the same year Albert Verrall hooked a 21.31-pounder that ranks as the second biggest in history.
The Parks Highway streams are still loaded with pinks and chums, and silvers are starting to show. Most of best silver fishing has been near the mouths.
Trout fishing should also be productive above the bridges. Most of the trout are gorging on eggs from kings, pinks and chum salmon. Try beads in 8- to 10-millimeter sizes and Sculpin flies fished near spawning salmon.
Silver are finally showing up in the Talkeetna River and Clear Creek. Trout fishing in Clear Creek has been fair to good for anglers willing to walk.
The Eklutna Tailrace is fair for silvers; angler have been having success fishing eggs and shrimp
Jim Creek has been getting better for silvers as the Knik River drops. And the Little Susitna is good for anglers with boat access. The latest weir count on Wednesday was more than 11,000 silvers.
The Deshka is good for silvers, but water conditions are still low. As of Wednesday the silver counts was more than 16,000.
Silver salmon are now all the way in Valdez Bay, the silvers were reported thick in the narrows by Middle Rock and anglers are catching fish from Allison Point. Most are trolling with down riggers and cut herring.
Big Prize Friday in the Valdez Fish Derbies is Aug. 30; the angler catching the largest silver salmon will take home $500 in addition to the daily prizes
Most of the derby fish in the 14- to 15-pound, although the top three are 16-plus pounds. It has been more than 20 years since a 17-pounder has won the derby, but maybe this is the year.
Lingcod fishing has been good near Hinchinbrook Island and in the sound.
Ship Creek continues to be a great place for silver salmon. Falling tides and low incoming tides are producing, with anglers having success with eggs and bobbers, flies and Vibraxes. The majority of the fish are staying in the creek instead of flushing out with the tides.
I spoke with Dustin Slinker at the Bait Shack on Tuesday and he said both tide cycles are producing some nice fish. He estimated we're in the sixth inning of the silver run.
Bird Creek is having a decent run of pink salmon, and some anglers are catching silvers.
Campbell Creek is a good place to scout for silvers. The recent rains have likely brought some fish into the creek.
Streams at the head of Turnagain Arm could be a good location for silvers. These fish have a later season return.
Campbell Point, Sand, Delong, Cheney and Mirror lakes have all been stocked within the last week with some very nice catchable-sized trout or char.
Campbell and Chester creeks are your best bet for local rainbow trout stream fishing -- both are stocked with catchable sized rainbows.
Here's the word-for-word report from Capt. Kristen Labrecque, who texted Tuesday aboard the Saltwater Addiction:
"Fishing for silvers has slowed a bit. Friday we came home with 11, Saturday we were weathered out. Sunday we caught five and Monday only one fish. On that note, halibut fishing was on fire on Thursday and Friday we limited the boat out on both days in one hour and ten minutes. Saturday was a weather day. Sunday and Monday the bite slowed down: fighting the increasing tides. We still managed to get the halibut on the boat but we had to work for them, Rockfish are still in abundance. We are seeing the Black Rockfish surface feeding quite a bit. The Yelloweye are still huge. Halibut are still deep. Yesterday we were fishing 300 feet. Tuesday again the whole charter fleet is sitting on shore watching the weather. Looks like good weather for the next few days."
Tony Weaver has fished all over Alaska for more than 40 years. He is the host of Wolf Outdoors, which airs on FM-96.3 Saturday mornings. He worked as chief technical editor for Fish Alaska and has written for Fish and Fly, Flyfisher and Flyfisherman magazines. He is a photographer and author of "Topwater: Fly Fishing the Last Frontier Alaska."