Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sockeye fishing on the Kenai

After three attempts at reds, Mike and I finally got some. Our first try was in the Kenai when we were down to Homer for a halibut fishing trip. We were able to catch halibut on deep sea gear but we were between runs of sockeye. Our second attempt was on the Gulkana where I had fowl hooked two, I wasn't able to catch any in the mouth and had to give myself an incomplete.

Finally toward the end of the second Kenai run of reds we were able to catch some. I decided to hire a guide to run the boat so that I could concentrate on fishing and learn something about the river. We worked till 6:00 on Tuesday the 7th. and drove through the night to meet the boat by 4:00 in the morning at Sterling. We were at our fishing spot by 5:00. Mike caught our first fish which also turned out to be our biggest one.

Fighting my first red, it's important to keep your hand off of the reel while the fish runs to allow the drag to work. It's easy to loose these fish because they are tenacious fighters. The fights can be explosive with line stripping runs, and surface acrobatics.

Here's our fish guide Alex netting one of the many fish we caught that day, we fished with Drifters Lodge of Coopers Landing, the accommodations are great, the guides are outstanding and the fishing was exciting. I highly recommend Drifters Lodge for anyone wanting to fish the Kenai.

These reds were in great shape, fresh from the sea, they still had sea lice on them.
It's not necessary to have a pretty fly to catch reds, in fact anything will do but a pretty fly makes a pretty picture, and who wants to tie an ugly fly. These reds are tough on flies, a good coat of head cement over the body will help hold the fly together through the toothy fight.

Here's our ten, two short of a limit, plenty of really nice fish for the winter.

Here's some shots of spawning sockeye's that Mike took.

The whole area is full of picturesque scenes like these.

We can't wait to get back again but we will have to do it again next year, we leave for our next big adventure in a couple of days, a week long float trip on the Salmon Fork of the Black for grayling, sheefish pike and maybe whitefish and burbot.

My tally to date;
Grayling on three original patterns, the Spruce Bud Worm Moth and the Egg Head and Egg Butt Scud.
Rainbow on one, the egg head scud.
Sockeye on two original sockeye patterns.

I have had some thoughts on my original species list and will need to amend it. In my list of the 25 species of my quest, I listed three species of white fish as well as grayling and sheefish which are also white fish, at the same time only listing rock fish once, of which there are thirty species. It seems inconsistent to cover the white fish so thoroughly and give the rock fish such poor respect. I wouldn't want to say that white fish are lower in fish hierarchy than the rock fish but, rock fish are really cool and deserve at least as much respect. I have decided to list grayling and sheefish because they are major white fish species, all the rest of the lesser white fish as one and all of the rock fish as one, then give myself extra credit for each of the lesser white fish and rock fish species that I catch.

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