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Fishing Report: The 15th Annual Kenai River Junior Classic

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 8:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - More than 100 kids headed out onto the water Wednesday for the 15th Annual Kenai River Junior Classic. The event was hosted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

Not only was it educational, teaching kids about life jackets and fishing safety, but also a salute to the military, with the majority of the kids being from active duty military families.

Harry Gaines Fish Camp in Soldotna looked more like a summer camp with more than 100 kids ready to reel in some fish. At the annual event it was truly safety first. Before the kids got to go out on the boats they learned about the do’s and don’ts of life jackets. Every kid was fitted for a jacket that they get to keep after the event was over.

Over 30 boats from various different guiding companies came together to pick the kids up and take them out on the Kenai River in search for silvers.

“95% of these kids have probably never been fishing in their life and the whole atmosphere and all the classes they teach, they are learning stuff they don’t really learn in school,” said Marty Day, a guide for Harry Gaines.

According to the guides at the event, the king run was slow yet again this year, but the reds have made up for it by being on fire. The silver run is just starting and for this trip, most of the guides pulled plugs with a 4.5 inch single hook and tried to let the fish come to them.

At 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15, anglers can start to use bait and a treble hook, but until then the use of bait and more than a single hook is prohibited.

“It is a great thing to see them getting shown some love and appreciation for their sacrifice,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Krumm, who heads the Alaska branch of the U.S. Northern Command, the 11th Air Force under Pacific Air Forces and NORAD’s Alaskan region. “The families of our services members serve just as much as our service members and to see the joy that they have in getting out here to fish and enjoy the great outdoors of Alaska is amazing.”

The fishing wasn’t exactly red hot but there were plenty of silvers to go around. The goal of the event isn’t to catch a lot of fish, though — it is to see a lot of smiles on the faces of military children.

The event is run on donations. If people want to donate to help fund next years event they can do so here.

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