Utah Wildlife Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last catch-up report is for fishing the upper Kenai River a couple of times in September……always save the best for last even if it is in the proper chronological order. Hooked on with someone else who wanted to fish with my buddy Dennis and man was the water HIGH….where we normally stood on dry shore, left us knee deep on this day. The fish were sparse in the early going…a few small dollies and bows. We got to the 1st gate and the water was a cruising and a splashing:





The water was so high we had to look for "other" than the normal spots to fish….the current was just too fast at most of our normal fish haunts. Dave finally caught the first decent rainbow:



We were moving down the river fast trying to find any good batch of fish. Finally we got into the 3rd and last gate where we took quite a spashing getting into the back eddy:



There was an eddy on the eddy and an eddy on top of that one…..the water flow was all wrong but we stumbled into a very nice double….dolly and bow:



We managed a few more fish but nothing picture worthy. Continuing on down we came to what we affectionately refer to as "the Lunch Hole"……not our lunch but the bears always have piles of chewed up salmon on the shore. Here we finally started getting into a batch of nice fish….mostly dollies:



Landed several nice dollies and then tied into this big one:



Not five minutes after releasing the last fish I tagged this beautiful dolly which was almost colored black…..very unusual….this one obviously hadn't missed too many meals either:



I personally must have tagged 15 to 18 dollies in this hole and lost one monster rainbow who made it to the current and nearly spooled me. Too this point I had been using a 9.5' 7 wt Loomis rod….I bring this up so I can rant about how far this company has fallen (in my eyes). This was a custom rod I built and the very first time I used it the rod splintered right above the butt…..on a 14 inch rainbow. Now maybe this bow was doing the Barry Bonds 'roid diet but a 7 weight shouldn't have even been an issue. Anyway, I digress (as usual), I had called Loomis to see about having the butt section replaced but was met with absolute indifference by the company. They informed me they no longer made blanks for sale and would have to replace the whole rod with a factory model and at significant cost…after a little bit of rather "loud" talk I hung up on the SOB (son of a butthead) as they were not going to honor their warranty…..they have gone nowhere but downhill since Shimano bought them out. Anyway, guess I'll never be buying any Loomis's anymore. Funny story ensues from this little story as I attempted to repair the butt section of the flyrod. It had lasted most of the day but finally it blew up and snapped in two pieces as I hooked another dolly. The fish did not get off, however, and Dennis and I figured a two person technique for using a broken rod….I played it while he reeled in the line….makes an amusing picture:



We finally got the beast to shore and took a nice pic before releasing (notice the broken rod in the background):



So I switched my reel over to one of Dennis' rods for the rest of the trip. We got swept downstream quickly and on the final stretch we chose the left side braid before getting to Skilak Lake…..it was a great choice. We hit a great bunch of dollies (only 1 rainbow thrown in to that) and must have caught 30+ between the two of us:



No real monsters but a lot of nice dollies in the 2-5 lbs class:



We called it a day soon after and headed off across Skilak for the boat ramp. A small family of black bears were spotted on the lake side during our ride:



Hit the road back to Eagle River very satisfied.

Two weeks later I was back again with Ty…..this time there were no blue gloves. Dennis had another friend I'd met before who fished down with us:



During the two weeks between trips the river had probably fallen by a foot and a half making much more of the river fishable on this trip. You'll notice my rod on this trip is one I made for a friend….I claimed the right of "makership" in borrowing it for the float. Didn't take a whole lot pictures on this trip as it was raining most of the day and it was hard keeping the camera dry. We got into fish right down from the launch on one of our favorite islands which was unfishable last time. Was up to nearly 20 fish caught before we moved on….both rainbows and dollies:







Got the first nice bow in the 1st gate which was unfishable last time:



The fishing was darn good even if it did rain hard through the middle of the day ( I kept the camera in a dry place)…..as I always say, "Hey, the fish don't care they are already wet." As it got later in the afternoon the rain slowed down quite a bit just as we took that same last braid before Skilak. This area was absolutely choked with sockeye carcasses and well as many still spawning reds. We took so many dollies here it was just silly and although we had many doubles we happened into the rare triple hook-up:



Surprisingly enough we all managed to land our dollies within a minute of each other but taking a picture was hysterical…..wish we had a video of that. The other two guys were not real adept at handling their fish but we finally got one good pic:



As we started at the head of the last straight away to the lake, I was catching dolly after dolly when I set the hook on a very heavy fish. It was getting low light and after jumping twice the fish was in the direction of the sun and difficult to identify. Dennis and I both agreed it must be a coho. As I worked it out from under the boat we were both shocked to see it was a very hefty rainbow….10 lbs class. Dennis quickly grabbed the net and scooted her in. She was definitely a well fed beast:



Put her back in and not 3 casts later I caught her smaller identical twin:



The other guys were having a difficult time getting the bead down in this deeper water and current but I was having a fishfest doing it. Finally we finished up this hole with a monster dolly:



We floated the last straight away with several more fish….Dennis asked how many I caught. He guessed about 50….wrong, I was at 73 but then he did have 3 of use to worry about. It was another fabulous trip and a great ending to my 2015 Alaska fishing season…..can't wait for next year.

Had to finish with this last photo I took at my parents place on Flathead Lake in August…….there were fires burning and it made for a beautiful sunset:



Keep your lines tight and have some great fishing…..

Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,248 Posts
That bow is a toad, man you got it made.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,523 Posts
Cruising in a drift boat with high, swift flows always scares me. I feel safer with my feet on the ground. :smile:

Great report.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,312 Posts
Doc, how big do those nicer dollies run?

The one time in my life I fished the Kenai, I caught bows over 4 lbs, but the dollies I caught, (there were several) were all under 17 inches and kind of thin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Catherder.....all of the dollies on the Kenai River are the southern subspecies (S. malma lordi) and there top range is between 13 to 15 lbs., although ones over 7 or 8 lbs are exceptional fish. The northern subspecies (S. malma malma) are nearly all searun and they get up near 30 lbs....usually caught in the Kivalina and other rivers way north. It totally depends on the time of the year for catching bigger dollies on the Kenai. They start showing up in early August and get really good through mid September. After that the big ones either move further upriver to spawn or simply "hide" better, probably moving down into Skilak Lake. I've had those times when you could catch a million dollies but known were over 18 inches. These are a few of the biggest I have caught in the Kenai River:





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,312 Posts
Catherder.....all of the dollies on the Kenai River are the southern subspecies (S. malma lordi) and there top range is between 13 to 15 lbs., although ones over 7 or 8 lbs are exceptional fish. The northern subspecies (S. malma malma) are nearly all searun and they get up near 30 lbs....usually caught in the Kivalina and other rivers way north. It totally depends on the time of the year for catching bigger dollies on the Kenai. They start showing up in early August and get really good through mid September. After that the big ones either move further upriver to spawn or simply "hide" better, probably moving down into Skilak Lake. I've had those times when you could catch a million dollies but known were over 18 inches. These are a few of the biggest I have caught in the Kenai River:





Nice fish! What you said sounds exactly right, as I was there in early July. They were indeed easy to catch that day, but no size to speak of. I guess I need to get back up there some day and improve my personal best. ;-)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,736 Posts
Those are some nice dollies, makes me want to go again soon.

I have made two fishing trips to Alaska and both were with Gone Fishing Lodge on the Kenai, on the last trip one of our outings was a float trip on the upper Kenai and it was such a great trip that we canceled our King trip on the lower and did the upper Kenai for a second float trip.

The dollies we caught were not that big but it was fun catching them and rainbows.

Can't wait to go again, I have my "go to Alaska fishing" savings account started.

Thanks for your reports Doc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
681 Posts
Several years ago there was a "Dolly" with a couple of large assets that many enjoyed, but I believe I'd enjoy those large "dollies" even more!:mrgreen:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,935 Posts
Great pictures. Its amazing how fast the kenai moves... hard to describe to people just how fast that water is.


-DallanC
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top