USGS Stream Data

Kenai Rvr @ CooperLndg

  • Water Temp: 44.24 ° F
  • Flow: 7020 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.91 ft

Middle Kenai @ Skilak

  • Flow: 9440 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.15 ft

Talkeetna Rvr

  • Water Temp: 49.82 ° F
  • Flow: 10100 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 6.46 ft

Situk Rvr

  • Water Temp: 54.5 ° F
  • Flow: 143 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 65.40 ft
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Talkeetna River: Redux – May 7, 2017

It’s eleven days later and we’re up on the Talkeetna again; only this time Lance was able to make the trip as he’s back from conference and it’s a Sunday.  However, the word is out, and it is a weekend in Alaska, so even with a meet time of 8AM we see friends at the launch, and hear that anglers have been on the river, doing well, all morning. Seems 8AM isn’t really early enough in the fishing world.

Jerry with Talkeetna Fishing Guides  runs upriver to the same spot as last trip, only this time its most beach, with very little ice left on the bank.

Lance and I fished the run, and a skinny Dolly Varden was our reward.

A great start.

Going with what we learned last trip Lance & I stop at another long, mid-depth run. The littered bank shows how much water will be flowing later this summer, and although the river is up a bit, it still is running fairly low and clear. Actually the water is not nearly as colored up as it was in late April. But no fish here, so we decide to drop down to the area above Fish Creek.


At this spot Lance and I split up as we’re fishing along a high bank without much shallow water in front of us to wade in. We’re kind of leap-frogging each other as we fish down stretches of the bank. It’s here that Lance lands his first fish, a decent sized rainbow. No photo as we were too far apart to get a hero shot. Being his first fish of the year, I’m pretty sure he remembered to kiss it on the head before he released it back to the water, as his fishing karma started to improve.

It was here that we saw three anglers get dropped off on the opposite shore by a small helicopter. Way to travel! They spread out and started fishing immediately. One of them tagged a couple fish directly across from Fish Creek. Then they all moved down river fairly quickly. Headed towards Clear Creek we assumed.


The confluence at Clear Creek was crowded, by spring standards. There were a couple of boats low in the run, and at least a half dozen anglers spread out over the actual confluence. The bank anglers seemed to be two different groups, and that didn’t count the three helicopter anglers coming down stream. There was also a single angler in a small one-man raft working the opposite bank. Since the rocks below the confluence were open, and somewhat above water, Lance & I pulled onto them and threw our anchors out to make sure our boats stayed put. I waded out into a run I am fond of while Lance started fishing the main stem river right off our little island. There was a bit of clear water from the creek mixing with the Talkeetna there and it wasn’t very long before Lance tied into the big rainbow of the trip. My net has a 20” opening and this guy’s tail hung over.

Hero shots were mandatory.

My run was quiet; not surprising in that it was 2:oo in the afternoon by now. Boats and anglers had probably been fishing it since early morning. I spent my time practicing my long distance cast with the Commando head. Lance’s side of the island produced another small rainbow which LDR’d itself on its second acrobatic jump.

We also tried the high bank below Clear Creek, but again it is an area that is accessible from a drifting boat, so I wasn’t too surprised at no fish.

We still had a couple more runs that have produced in the past we wanted to cover, so we decided to float down and concentrate on those. The first one requires you wade deep and cover the water. Not fun for very long this time of year, but the effort did provide me with my second fish of the day, a decent rainbow.


While floating through the gauging station, my wife called to check in. Lance couldn’t help himself, and rowed over to get a great shot of technology in nature. I did have to put her on hold for a few seconds while I rowed myself away from the ice bank looming in the background.

Our next planned stop was already occupied, but with friends. Billy (from North Pole), Chad, his son Wyatt, and John were fishing the run. It was their last stop of the day as it was a school night for Wyatt, and Chad, being an avid angler but a good Dad, wanted to be back in town at a decent hour. We had run into them earlier upriver and pulled over to visit for a bit. Billy had shared information about a run low in the river Dennis and I fished for the first time last trip. Billy thought Lance & I should spend some time there before we pulled out of the river. Since the four of them were already in “our next stop” we just waved and floated a bit more to the new run.

It’s a long, straight, broad, and required us to wade about waist to be able to cast past the mid-point of the water column for a decent swing back to river right. There was still a fair amount of ice along the entire run, so we pulled up at the very head, and waded as we fished down.


The fishing ended up being good along the run, but we paid a price. Lance caught two really nice Dollies; the first being a solid 23” or more, the second a bit smaller, but still over twenty. 








I caught my big guy of the day there as well, a fat Dolly Varden a bit over 20”. We both caught a few smaller fish that we didn’t make famous.

The hot patterns were a conehead Ice-dubbed Leech that I was using with a 5” sink-tip, and a Laser Leech that Lance was throwing on his switch rod with a long poly leader. The Laser Leech had been tied for lake fishing and didn’t have any built-in weight. Lance needed a couple of 3/0 Water Gremlins on his leader to get depth, which wasn’t fun to use with the spey style cast that he was throwing with the switch.

(We’ve fixed that and have tied up a few Laser Leeches with medium cone heads and a few wraps of .025 lead under the body.)


We spent two hours making a long cast, drift and swing, take a couple steps down – repeat; all in crotch to waist deep water. We were very chilled when we decided to call it quits. I think the fishing was just good enough that, although we sort of realized that we were getting chilled, we didn’t stop until our bodies decided that enough was enough. We had however covered a fair amount of water in two hours and the walk back up the ice bank to the rafts got our blood flowing again.


Most of the bank ice on the river had melted in the past eleven days, and what was left was mostly rotten; we heard it tinkling like shards of crystal as it broke off all day long. It’s a pleasant sound, and one that means warmer days are just around the corner.

If the weather holds up and the river doesn’t blow out we may get one more trip mid-month.

If not, this was a great trip to start our season.


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