Touring Alaska - On the Sterling Highway

Cooper Landing, Alaska - Part B

July 22 - 24

The Alaskan Adventure - 59 Days - 5,787 Miles

Kenai Princess Lodge RV Park

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On the way from Homer we passed a section of the Kenai river, about 7 miles before the Princess campground, where there were several hundred cars parked along the road and in a parking lot. We asked at the campground about it and they said that it was a favorite fishing area. There are so many fishermen (and women) standing side by side they call it "Combat Fishing."

We felt this was too good to pass up so we went back to see for ourselves.

The salmon fishing is highly regulated. There is a three fish per day limit, must only fly fish, and you must be at least 10 feet into the river while fishing. There are many different types of river boats used also. No motors are allowed in the river at this time of year. So the boats just float in the current while the fishermen try their luck. One person has oars which are used to keep the boat pointed up stream and in the middle of the river.

Some boats go down river where there are no fishermen and then beach.

It takes these guys hours to get ready to go into the river. They have special insulated hip boots to keep the 45 degree water from making their legs numb. We had a laugh watching some of them try putting on the bulky gear.

Two inflatable river fishing boats.
Some of these are inflated at the river, others are brought in on flatbed trailers. This is the Kenai river. The fishermen on the far shore, behind what looks like a island, are standing in the Russian river. This is where the Russian river empties into the larger Kenai river.

A California Fishermen's Truck.
It carries all of the gear, food, stove, inflatable boat, and fold down bunks for four. Notice the outboard motor laying on the back storage rack. It can't be used today.

The Russian River Ferry carries up to 28 fishermen across the river for $5.00.
The ferry is river powered. Depending which of two ropes is pulled on, the ferry turns itself and lets the current push it to the other side. You can see how close together the fishermen are standing on the other side.

Looking down river from the ferry, there are fishermen as far as you can see.

Here is a catch.
I took the picture while the fish was in the air but the camera has too much of a delay.

Cleaning the days catch.
When you look into the water along the shoreline, you see the remains of the cleaned fish. The Sea Gulls are flying all around to get their share.

The only area where you do not have to stand in the water to fish is across the river in the posted handicap area. There were three men in wheelchairs, several sitting in lawn chairs, several handicap men standing on the shore and fishing.

We were surprised to see these ducks diving for the remains of the salmon which the fishermen would throw back into the river.
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