Peak season! July is the center of summer vacation for most folks with kids. It’s the month that has the highest level of tourism to the Kenai Peninsula. It is the peak of the King Salmon run, with the largest strain of King Salmon in the world returning to the Kenai River each year during this time. To be certain, Kings have suffered in recent decades. Nonetheless, the Kenai river still remains your best chance at catching a 50 pound plus salmon. This year, we will start the month of July off catch and release for the King Salmon. Three of the last four years we did not make minimum escapement in July and Fish and Game has decided to be more proactive at protecting the fish. They will use various metrics to measure the return and when it is projected that we will make minimum escapement, Catch and Retention should be allowed.
It is also the month where the highest number of Sockeye (Red) Salmon return to our area. In an average year we see between 1 and 2 million fish entering the river during this month. This provides the release valve for our operation if Kings are on the ropes. Our guides are quite adept at getting you in a great spot to catch a 3 to 6 fish Red Salmon limit. The fishing might be a little slow during the early part of the month, but with perseverance, Ice chests will usually make it back to the cleaning table full. By the middle of July the fishing can be very fast. By the end of July, if escapements have been above average, sometimes the three fish limit will be increased to six fish. There is no annual retention limit on Sockeyes.
Saltwater fishing is consistent throughout the summer, with July being a great month to target Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod (which opens on the first of the month) and salt water Salmon. The Multi Species trips out of Seward and Homer allow for all of these potential possibilities. Resurrection Bay usually has a tremendous run of hatchery Silvers that can be targeted on these trips. There will be Silvers lurking around in Kachemak Bay, and either location might put a King on your line, one that you would be able to retain and take home, I might add.
Fly In fishing is going strong during this month. Bear viewing and Sockeye Salmon fishing at Big River Lakes will continue through the end of the month. Towards the end of July, we will start to see some Silvers showing up in this fishery and a nearby river, the Kustatan will be steady and reliable Silver fishing by July 25. Either of these locations can be visited on our Float Plane Fly In fishing trip. We do start to see some return of Reds to Crescent Lake, another amazing Bear Viewing venue. By the end of the month the bears are thick, frequently Sows with Cubs, and Sockeye limits are not unusual. The catch and release Dolly Varden fishing and light tackle Lake Trout fishing with spoons and spinners is reliable at this location from ice out until it gets too cold to continue.
If a single location Fly In is just not enough for you, there’s always the Ultimate Expedition. This is an all day fly in fishing trip. The Plane, Pilot and Guide are yours for the day. In early July we will probably head west to Lake Clark National Park to target Grayling, Lake Trout and Arctic Char. Depending on weather, we might elect to head east and snag salt water Sockeyes, a six fish and limit, at a location where sea run Dollies are prolific and can be caught and released at will. The flight over the Harding Icefield, you will not forget!