Kenai River yields trove of tackle
…not all of it legal.

By CRAIG MEDRED
Anchorage Daily News
Published: April 30, 2006

Banks of popular salmon fishery is littered
with anglers' lost gear

The Kenai River runs low here now, exposing huge stretches of rock, gravel and the colorful leftovers from the tourist season past.  Across the river from the boat launch and campground just down the Sterling Highway from Cooper Landing, the clear waters of the Russian River meet the silty flow of the Kenai to set the stage for the most intensive salmon fishery in the 49th state.

Only a little more than a month from now, the area will be jammed with anglers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and flipping heavily weighted lines in the water in an effort to catch sockeye salmon. All there is to be found now -- if one looks close -- is the line, lures and flies they left behind in the previous season. No one knows how much fishing tackle snags the bottom of the Kenai watershed each year and is subsequently left there, said Jim Hasbrouck, regional sport fisheries research supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. No one has, ever tried to calculate the mass, he said. But indications are that it could be significant. Consider what was found in a little over an hour spent beachcombing near the highway on the side of the river comparatively few people fish: Six pounds, 6 ounces of monofilament line, sinkers, flies and more.