The “post-Covid” era made for a very busy season here on the Kenai Peninsula. Leery travelers regained their confidence and booked their trips north, and the reality of a pandemic prompted many to take that bucket list Alaskan vacation they had been putting off. It all made for an active and engaging season full of fish and fun! Hope you enjoy this photographic summary of 2022 on the Kenai Peninsula with Fishology and Orca Lodge… Thanks to all who sent in photos!
The early season in late May and early June always starts out with king salmon fishing on the Kasilof River and halibut fishing in Cook Inlet. The halibut fishing was as good as it gets with amazing weather and consistent quality catches of barn door halibut. The Kasilof had a down year, which was a bit of a disappointment after a stellar 2021 season. The king salmon fishery was once again the only aspect of the season that didn’t come through for us, so it’s hard to complain, but the prediction for the 2023 hatchery king run is good and we sure hope they show up as expected! Even with the tougher fishing, we had some fantastic moments & highlights on the Kasilof, including a few gorgeous hatchery keepers pictured here. The early season is a great time for casual anglers/families/couples to enjoy the easy fishing, gorgeous weather, reduced crowds, and reduced prices!
As we venture into mid-June the halibut fishing continued to be amazing, as usual. If maximizing the amount of fillets is your top priority, you can’t go wrong with a halibut trip or two.
With the king salmon fishery on the struggle bus, we turned to the Kenai River for some sockeye and trout combo trips. One of the things that sets Fishology apart is our willingness to “play it by ear” and take you to the location that is going to give you the best trip possible, and in mid-June that was often the middle Kenai River to wrangle some early, bright sockeye for the freezer followed by some trophy trout fishing that everyone has a blast with! These trips are guaranteed winners as they provide you with a variety of fishing techniques, fish for the freezer, lots of bent rods, and a serene & scenic setting on the gorgeous middle stretch of the Kenai River.
Fly out fishing turns on in early/mid June as well, and with another massive run of salmon across the bay our guests were limiting out at Big River Lake regularly before the 2nd week of June even arrived. Although most outfitters don’t advertise their fly outs until June 10th, we’ve found that date is playing it extremely safe. In fact, we’ve consistently seen incredible fly out fishing much earlier, and you’re often all by yourself out there.
As the 2nd half of June plays out, the massive sockeye runs on the Kasilof River and Upper Kenai River are highlighted here on the central Kenai Peninsula. These runs have been on fire for many years now, and provide such a unique opportunity to have fast action with chrome bright salmon freshly out of the ocean. The popularity of this fishery has exploded in recent years as more of our guests have discovered its combination of fun, amazing scenery, and high-odds of bringing tasty fillets home.
The month of July is probably our busiest month of the season. This time-frame books up very early as it aligns well with most folks vacation schedules, and also with many of the Kenai Peninsula’s feature fisheries. Dynamic is a great way to describe it, and we often have guests experiencing trips in several different locations… sockeye on local rivers, fly out fishing & bear viewing, halibut fishing on both sides of the peninsula, trophy trout fishing on the Kenai and its tributaries, various sightseeing adventures, and our new very popular rockfish half day trips out of Seward. If you don’t mind a few extra folks around, July is a great month to travel and fish in Alaska.
2022 provided record sockeye salmon runs (again) on both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers. Our river guides are experts in all the different stretches of these two rivers, and have these fish absolutely dialed in! Quickly catching limits of sockeye while the limits were increased to 6 was the norm. For folks that have multiple river trips booked with us, we can show you multiple stretches of both rivers so you have a variety of experiences while filling the freezer with the best eating salmon on Earth! We offer 4.5 hour, 6 hour, and 8 hour trips so you get exactly what you want.
Fishing the saltwater is always a productive experience, but 2022 saw some especially large catches of halibut out of all 3 of the Kenai Peninsula ports of Ninilchik, Homer, and Seward. Barn doors don’t happen every day, but when you drop a bait down to the bottom of the ocean around here, you never know what might latch on… Warm up your fishing muscles and come try your luck!
Transitioning into August is always a welcome feeling as the hustle & bustle of July begins to fade away, but the epic fishing remains. Sockeye fishing continued to be strong into mid-August, and about the time the sockeye started petering out, the silver salmon came in thick! Mix in halibut fishing, trophy trout fishing, fly out fishing, and a little extra space to stretch out, and the early fall has quickly become one of our most popular parts of the season, for good reason.
Speaking of trout, while this underrated fishery is very popular in the later month of September, we often have our best fishing during the mid-summer and early fall (July & August). Anglers line up to fish rainbow trout and dolly varden when the salmon begin to spawn and provide a buffet of food in September and October, but I encourage you to try your hand at the “meat eaters” that feast on sockeye carcasses earlier in the season. An afternoon 1/2 or 3/4 day of trout fishing is the perfect way to enjoy an Alaskan summer day. Try it!
September is well known as local’s favorite time of the year. Crowds reduce drastically as families are busy with school and other activities, leaving much more space to spread out and enjoy the tranquility of Alaska. It’s a common mistake to believe that this is our “shoulder season” because the fishing isn’t as good, but that’s a 100% a misconception. In fact, it’d be easy to argue that the fishing is every bit as good in September as it is any time of year! I won’t lie… we did experience a rainy fall in 2022, but the coho fishery was amazing from start to finish, the trout fishing kept rods bent and lines tight, and the saltwater was super productive when the weather allowed. Simply bring an extra layer and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the most wonderful time of the year while staying comfy. Our motto is “catch fish and have fun,” and there’s no better time to do both these things in September. I highly encourage you to ask us about our “shoulder season” specials for the later part of the season. You won’t regret it.
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