Kenai River Silver Salmon Fish Counts

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Want to know more about fish counts on the Kenai River and throughout Alaska? Download the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App.  All graphs and information presented on these pages are courtesy of Alaska FishTopia!

Jamie & Christian holding 2 Kenai River Sockeye Salmon

Kenai River Silver Salmon Fish Counts

Unfortunately there are no Kenai River silver salmon fish counts the way there is for so many other rivers and species of fish in Alaska’s water. This comes down to a variety of reasons such as budget, water levels, time of year, but most importantly, would simply be the inability to get an accurate number. Remember the whole point of fish counts isn’t to help the sport angler catch fish. It’s done to manage the fisheries and keep them healthy and that means getting an understanding of how many fish make it to spawn – what is called “escapement”. If we can’t figure out how many are actually going to spawn then it doesn’t make sense to try and count them.

On the Kenai Peninsula we have very good data on a number of different rivers, species and fish counts. This includes the Kenai River king salmon early-run, Kenai River king salmon late-run, Kenai River sockeye salmon late, run, Russian River sockeye salmon early-run, Russian River sockeye salmon late-run, and many, many more. However, counting Kenai River silver salmon is incredibly challenging. 

Why Can't We Accurately Count Silver Salmon

If you look at the fish counts of the Kenai River for the other species of fish that are counted it helps to tell the story. The silver salmon start to enter the Kenai River in the last week of July. We will usually catch our first few silver salmon while we’re still targeting sockeye. In the last week of July and extending well into August, the Kenai River will see upwards of 50,000 sockeye salmon daily coming up the river. How do we find even a couple silver in that massive migration of sockeye? Those sockeye salmon numbers will stay amazingly high all the way till the end of August where we can still see 5,000 – 10,000 daily. Then on the even numbered years we have a run of pink salmon that come up in even greater numbers than the sockeye. 

Silver salmon are definitely a few pounds larger than sockeye salmon & pink salmon but differentiating between a large sockeye salmon and a small silver salmon is pretty hard to do from a sonar reflection.

How do we count silver salmon when their numbers are dwarfed by the total number of sockeye and on the even number years the problem is even worse because we have hundreds of thousands of pink salmon entering the river every day. It’s a very difficult problem.

Kenai River Silver Salmon Fish Counts - Curve Shape Guess

Kenai River Silver Salmon Fish Counts
- What Might It Look Like?

Caveat: The graph shown here is a total guess and should really only be looked at in terms of rough shape and dates. We won’t even begin to guess at the quantity on the vertical access representing how many silver salmon actually enter the river. But instead, just use this as a general gauge to estimate fishing productivity. This is based on many years of experience fishing this river every day. What we do know though is that there are two runs of silver salmon. An early run that peaks in mid-August and a late-run that peaks in mid-Sept. 

It also assumes that this is the approximate shape as measured down low on the river (such as mile 14) like we do for sockeye salmon where we are all but guaranteed that ever silver salmon will pass

The limits for silver salmon and usually combined with sockeye salmon. Usually this means no more than 2 silver salmon in August and no more than 3 silver salmon starting September 1. But remember, this is in combination with sockeye salmon limits. Refer to ADFG regulations for more details on how this regulation works.

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts

Kenai River Late Run Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts

Russian River Sockeye Salmon Fishcounts

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Alaska FishTopia

Want to know more about fish counts on the Kenai River and throughout Alaska? Download the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App.  All graphs and information presented on these pages are courtesy of Alaska FishTopia!