Today was my fourth float down the Kasilof since the last post. Have landed at least two kings on each of the previous floats but have had to release them all. By regulation only king salmon with their adipose fin removed, designating them as hatchery fish, may be retained prior to July 1 in the Kasilof River. Yesterday I fished a family of four from Missouri. It was my most successful outing to date. Each angler landed at least one king. One angler also landed and released a steelhead. By the end of the charter we had released 7 of the 9 kings we had hooked. Two of these kings were between 25-30#. One of the kings we landed had its adipose removed but it was the smallest of the lot, weighing about 10#, so we released it too. Because we are prohibited from removing a king salmon from the water that is to be released, taking a nice picture of the fish together with the client is difficult if they are not wearing waders. They weren't. We had had a great day but I was beginning to yearn for the days when we could keep any fish.
Today's clients were the high bidder on a package I donated to KAKM, Anchorage's PBS television station, for their spring fund raiser. We had just started fishing when Lee hooked and landed a hatchery king. It wasn't a real large one, about 14-15#, making his decision to release it and continue fishing an easy one. On the next two passes Kevin hooked, landed and released a nice king on the first pass and lost another on the second pass.
In People Hole, Lee hooked up again. This king wanted no part of his hook and pulled off quite a lot of line as it torpedoed just underneath the surface trying to lose it. Lee thought he had lost it when his line slackened as the king turned and raced back toward the boat. But he had hooked it well and got tight line on the fish after reeling furiously. After an extended tug of war, he got it close enough to see that it was a hatchery fish, a male weighing about 20#. We netted and harvested it. And took some pictures.
We fished People Hole awhile longer. Then Leaning Tree (no longer leaning but dead in the water and for some time), Coho Cove and Grassy Bank with no action in our boat and little in the other boats around us. On the third pass at Power Line, Kevin hooked into a king that fought ferociously. Every time we'd get on top of it, it would take off again. The hook finally worked loose as the king frantically sought deep water after an extended run toward shore. Another pass at Power Line netted a steelhead, which was released.
Above Satellite Slough Kevin's rod folded with the heavy bite of a king salmon. We followed as it peeled off line coursing downstream with the current. We netted it just before floating into Last Chance. As it had no adipose fin, all that was left to do was take pictures and float to the takeout.