July 1 - July 10, 2004
The use of bait is allowed beginning July 1 seasonally on the Kenai River. A slot limit, which protects the larger fish of the tributary returns comprising the first run of king salmon migrating through the Kenai River, ends June 30th below the Sterling Hwy bridge. The combination of king salmon anglers, red salmon sport fishers and Alaska residents participating in the personal use dip net fishery, make July the busiest month of the sport fishing season on the Lower Kenai River.
There is a story in every charter I undertake. Often the tale lies in the paths taken that have brought this guide and that particular day's clients together. Other times the story is how we as guides entertain our clientele and maintain their enthusiasm when the fish aren't cooperating. Most often it is that which makes a particular day memorable, the scenic grandeur of the setting in which we work and recreate, the wildlife encountered, the sport fishing successes or the near misses, experienced or witnessed, which take place every day somewhere on the river. Tales retold, sometimes reinvented, in our residences, around campfires with the scent of burnt alder from countless smokers wafting in the breeze or between sets from the local troubadour singing songs of Alaska in one's favorite tavern. It is unfortunate that I do not have the time to tell every story but thanks to today's digital technology I am able to at least occasionally post photographs of some of the successes that have made the last few days very enjoyable for me. They are pictured here.
We've caught, released and kept a few fish. Some of the kings pictured, while not monstrous by Kenai River standards, have generated the largest smiles and been trophies nonetheless. Others pictured have tested tackle and resolve, produced twitching muscles and muttered epithets while this amateur photographer fumbles with his camera attempting to capture the moment. For two of my clients, the fish encountered truly have been legendary.
My most memorable moment of the past 10 days occurred as 8 year old Drew from Southern California braced his fishing rod between his legs and hung on for dear life as it doubled over the gunwale straining from the struggle with a king we hadn't yet seen while we floated through the congregation of boats worshiping at Beaver Creek and as one every boater, guide and private alike, hurried out of the way without reservation or pause to give this young angler an opportunity to land his fish. The fact that we eventually netted 64+ pounds of Kenai River royalty is testament to the professionalism of the industry I belong, confirmation of how courteous the vast majority of guide and private boaters on the Kenai River are and an example of the level of cooperation required between user groups making it possible to have experiences like this. Drew's catch is the "Fish of the Week".