Kenai River Shore Fishing

by Joe Connors

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Kenai River, AlaskaWhile there are different methods and means by which to fish, most Kenai River fishing is done from or with a boat. This is certainly the case when it comes to fishing for King Salmon and boats are also utilized often in getting to and from shore fishing locations for sockeye fishing. However, there are a few excellent locations where a boat is not needed. The water in front of the Big Sky Charter & Fishcamp in Sterling has a proven record when it comes to anglerís success in hooking kings, reds, silvers and pinks.

Some older books about the Kenai River actually list the hole in front of the Big Sky camp as the ďFarmerís Hole.Ē The hole sits behind a gravel bar that goes out about 50 feet from shore and runs upriver to the confluence with the Moose River. Below the Farmerís Hole sits a pile of boulders and rocks. At that location the river takes a 90 degree turn to the right and the current runs parallel to the high bank shore line.

When the water level is low and the hole has not filled up kings tend to not hold in the hole but pass through perhaps 40 feet out where they are staying in the current. The best way to fish for them is to cast slightly upriver and past the crease. Utilizing spinners and spoons the idea is to get close to the bottom without hooking it. Vibrax (No. 5 and 6) as well as Pixies (7/8 oz.) are the best terminal gear. As the water line increases kings can be seen coming into the hole over the rocks and also rolling. At this time additional fishing methods also work including casting out into the hole with bait and letting it sit on the bottom, working a bobber down the current line with bait and working sardine wrapped plugs with a diver.

Kings can also be fished from shore with a fly rod. Two handed spay rods work well with the fisher in the water and working back and forth across the current line. A variety of large flies are utilized including articulates as well as those with lots of flashing. The idea is to get out into the current and get the line down quickly and then mend back in.

When the water level is fully up and the sockeye run is strong there is excellent shore fishing from our elevated fishing platform as well as the two small docks. A short flip and retrieve process that is repeated works well. These fish swim near the shore and are moving through the area rather fast, the idea is to line them in the mouth. In addition to the regular Coho fly various bead and yarn setups work well.

The last type of salmon to be caught here at Big Sky is the silver salmon. During the years when the pinks are present they are everywhere and catching silvers can become a challenge. Pinks tend to stack up and stay in the hole and they are not picky, they strike everything that is cast out there. However, on the off years when the pinks are not present silvers are caught utilizing spinners and spoons as well as eggs.

Joe Connors is owner/operator of Kenai River Fishing.

Photo by Frank Kovalchek.

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