Kenai Sockeye Trip need advise.

YukonC

New Member
I have a 9’ 9wt and plan to pick up a 10’ 8wt for this trip. Can anyone give advice on fly line and flies?? I was thinking of going with bead eggs? I’m a Midwest trout and smallmouth fly fisherman so I do need help here.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
I used to tie flies for a co-worker's annual trip to the Kenai to fish for sockeye. They were dead simple. I just lashed some chartreuse polar bear, yak, or similar hair onto a size 2 standard bait hook. Not too sparse nor too bulky. He caught lots of sockeye and always gifted me some fresh fish upon his return.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Flies don’t matter.....
You will just be lining fish...
They taste great
I always hear that, but my co-worker friend said most of his fish were fair hooked. I guess that means they could have still been lined and not taken the fly deliberately.
 

BCO

Active Member
I always hear that, but my co-worker friend said most of his fish were fair hooked. I guess that means they could have still been lined and not taken the fly deliberately.
I think the term that describes the technic is flossing. It’s effective if your goal is filling the freezer. We used to fish the Kenai for sockeye after 6pm till dark (about 1am) or 6 fish whichever came first.
If it was me for a second rod I’d recommend a fast 6wt or a 7wt. An 8lb
sockeye is above average. As far a lines go, you are primarily roll casting, get a WF floater and a spool of 12lb mono. Stop by any sporting goods store, they all have basket full of fly/jigs on the counter.
It’s not really fishing on the dark side, but it’s a kick in the ass and the best tasting salmon that swims. Any specifics, send me a PM.
 

matalpa

Member
I left 11 years ago, so check regs a little bit. Better yet, hire a guide for the first day and just listen to them.

Gamakatsu makes a specific hook for the Russian/Upper Kenai- they are the ones to get. Very specific about how big a hook you can use.

As for fly selection- a lot of locals bring a bag of hooks and a spool of red yarn. Tie on hook, then tie a 3" piece of red yarn. A fly is born. That is how important fly selection is, as they are not eating in fresh water and don't really eat many fish in the ocean.

Hook can not be weighted, but you can use tire weights or bowling balls on your leader.

We usually had a 10' section of stout maxima with a good bit of big split shot 2' above the fly. Like was mentioned earlier, you are just flossing them, and when done right results in lots of fish hooked in the mouth. If you snag one, you have to throw them back and fish cops love writing tickets on snaggers.

It is definitely not regular fly fishing. And generally you are fishing near other folks, and they will appreciate it if you use stout enough gear to horse your fish in fast and not start a rodeo. The first run fish only weight about 6 pounds, but they are strong, and if you snag one in the back or side it is not easy to reel them in.

I miss that fishing. It was weird, but really fun, and June and July in AK are awesome. Have fun.
 

Jake Dogfish

Active Member
When I flyfished there as a kid the feathers got chewed off my fly. I put on a tuft of grass just above my hook and got right back to catchin.
 

WAS

Active Member
I successfully fished several waters around there and further North and East with a 7 wt. Sage RPL+ and it was plenty of rod for reds (sockeye). I'd skip the the ten weight and have some fun. The fly line is pretty much moot on the Kenai, you can get away with shooting heavy mono and a heavy-ish fly to get the job done. It isn't fly fishing as you know it. Matt 35 and maltipa hold the keys. .
 

Steve Saville

WFF Supporter
You can buy the coho flies cheap almost anywhere in Anchorage. Red/white seems to be the right color most of the time but others will work. They will be the correct hook/gap. The Kenai is a big, fast river in most places and if the fish turn sideways in the current an 8 wt. is not enough. I usually use a 10 weight and fishing is much more like euro-nymphing or tenkara than fly casting. You have to use a lot of weight. I used a 2 - 3" pencil lead with heavy mono inside, loop to loop on the fly line and straight , short mono leader. The fish aren't selective. They just hammer the fly.
 

Chinook Angler

New Member
A 10 wt. is perfect for Kenai late-run sockeyes. Those fish push 12-13 pounds and the current is strong. It's not exactly a finesse fishery.
 

WAS

Active Member
When does the late run pick up? I was up there late June early July and they were smaller, similar in size to A run steelhead around here. Yes, I can see where heavier gear is in order on the Kenai. I stuck to the Russian and some smaller rivers, most of it battle fishing. Red/white flies, chunk of surgical tubing and pencil lead. Flip 10-12' of mono up river and high stick it through the hole, couple of strips, repeat. It was weird fishing in the glacial melt, no visibility at all but still hooking up regularly.
 

D RAY

Active Member
I have a 9’ 9wt and plan to pick up a 10’ 8wt for this trip. Can anyone give advice on fly line and flies?? I was thinking of going with bead eggs? I’m a Midwest trout and smallmouth fly fisherman so I do need help here.
Take an 8wt. with a floating line. Also, bring a ten foot section of T-17.
You can have a blast swinging the T-17 with small chartreuse flies! Don't let anyone convince you that sockeye won't take flies! It's just not as efficient as flossing. I posted a video on Youtube a few years ago on the technique.

Good luck!
 

gt

Active Member
elbow to elbow fishing up and down that river with flossing the appropriate technique, just don't let a game warden catch you doing that. not much fun to be had as the folks up that way are looking to fill their winter supply of salmon in the can by standing around on those banks.
 
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D3Smartie

Active Member
Don't wade too deep and I would actually recommend a circle hook for this flossing "fishery" It's simple meat harvest. Not really fishing imo.
Circle hook means you'll only catch legal fish and not waste time with the snagged ones.
 

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