There’s not an angler on the planet that hasn’t dreamt of fishing for salmon or trout on one of the rivers in Alaska. Except for those that have done it, and they just keep coming back for more.
Many of the anglers who come to Alaska have a preconceived idea of how they are going to choose to target a particular species on a given resource, but there are those with questions as well. “Do I have to use a fly rod?” or “Do I get to use a fly rod?” or “Will I be in the Combat Zone (an area on a river where anglers congregate and it gets crowded) when I fish on the Kenai River?” or “Do I get to stand in the river and fish?” The list goes on and on.
The simple answer is:” YES,” you might get to do all of the above because everything works – sometimes.
Jason’s Guide Service takes pride in the fact that we fish all the techniques needed to catch sockeye salmon, silver salmon, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char. There is no right or wrong way to fish, but there are times when certain techniques with certain gear will work better for certain species.
When we have high and fast water on the Kenai River, and we are fishing rainbow trout and char, the spinning equipment can be a better choice at times. When the water is low and slow the fly rods are usually the better choice. Average water levels and current flow means fly rods or conventional gear are both going to work great.
When we chase the sockeye salmon we will use fly rods and wade fish. We don’t wade out past our knees into the river because it isn’t safe, and it impacts your fishing in a negative way by pushing the running sockeye salmon out into deeper, faster water making them harder to catch. When conditions are right, or we have people who have mobility issues, we will fish sockeye from the boat running plugs and back trolling for the salmon. This technique only works well in certain types of water at certain times of the year.
The silver salmon are a fish that allows anglers to be more versatile in our approach to catching them. We use both fly rods and spinning gear when we target the silver salmon. Fly fishing for silver salmon is is pretty cut-and-dry with a cast-and-strip technique with streamers, but we also dead-drift and swing flies for silver salmon as well. When we get out the spinning gear we back troll, cast spinners and spoons, jig, and float fish. The key to being a successful salmon angler is understanding the species and conditions of the river.
Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char are two species that can be targeted with any rod and reel combo of your choice. Fly fishing is a style of fishing that gets lots of hype, both good and bad.
Fly fishing the Kenai River is both fun and easy. Like any new sport there is a learning curve. When fly fishing with Jason’s Guide Service we shorten the learning curve in a fun no-pressure environment. We fly fish for rainbow trout and char from the boat and, on shore wade fishing.
Spinning gear opens up lots of techniques that can be used, and is a versatile way to catch fish. Jason’s Guide Service back-trolls crankbaits, side drifts from shore, drift fishes from the boat, float fishes from the boat, float fishes from shore and incorporates some jig fishing when that is the preferred technique. We can also drift fish from the boat or wade fish from the many gravel bars with both fly and spinning gear. So you see, the options are many but the species that are being targeted dictate what we use.
The best thing any angler can do when they book a trip on the Kenai River with Jason’s Guide Service is pick the species of fish they would like to pursue, as well as a technique or techniques they want to try and come to the boat with an open mind and desire to have a great time on the river.
We will soon be writing a series of blogs, detailing in depth, each technique mentioned for each species. When you are done reading these blogs you will have a much better understanding of what you will be doing on the water, and what to expect on your guided fishing trip on the Kenai River.