Deep River is located south of Clam Gulch and North of Anchor Point quite close to the Ninilchik River. in the town of Ninilchik. The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, and Deep Creek for a trifecta of great fishing on the Lower Kenai Peninsula. Deep Creek is also home to the Deep Creek State Recreation Area on the banks of Cook Inlet. This entire area is legendary for its halibut and king salmon runs, campsites, and the beach tractor launch for boats heading for Cook Inlet halibut fishing. Bald eagles are visible year-round. In the month of May, sandhill cranes and other shorebirds inhabit the saltwater marsh. Whales, seals, and otters can often be seen offshore.
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Deep Creek King Salmon Fish Counts
King salmon enter Deep Creek during late May and early June and continue to spawn into early July.
Like the Ninilchik River and The Anchor River, Deep Creek King Salmon fishing is open only on select days each summer. It’s important to consult with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations to understand what days are available for king salmon fishing. In addition, please make sure to review any emergency orders that may restrict this fishery further.
Deep Creek is part of a larger management area that includes The Ninilchik River, Anchor River, and Deep Creek and is collectively called Lower Cook Inlet Management Area (LCIMA). King Salmon return each year to LCIMA with the majority of the fish returning to the Anchor River, followed by Deep Creek and, finally, The Ninilchik River.
Deep Creek King Salmon Fish Counts - Daily Fish Counts
Daily fish counts were originally attempted using a weir. However, this proved to be problematic due to high water flows that prevented the installation of the weir prior to a large majority of the run having already passed.
King salmon will begin entering the river in mid-May and will slowly climb until mid-June with large daily variations.
Around June 24th the run begins in earnest and will continue until around July 11th at which point daily fish counts drop quickly.
Deep Creek King Salmon Escapements
In 2018, the Deep Creek Chinook salmon escapement was deeply studied for the first time using a combination of sonar and instream video system, similar to the escapement monitoring approach on the Anchor River. The run was monitored at 4.2 RKM. The total escapement was 2,598 with approximately 12% of the weir count being hatchery fish.
Since 2018, Chinook salmon escapement is generally assessed with a single aerial survey.
The Lower Cook Inlet Management Area, comprising Anchor River, Ninilchik River, and Deep Creek are regularly restricted by emergency order as the season progresses. Therefore, it’s important to consult the Alaska Department of Fish and Game prior to fishing to see if any emergency orders are under effect at the time you’re considering fishing.
Deep Creek has a minimum sustainable escapement goal of 350 king salmon however there is no upper limit set on this river.
Deep Creek King Salmon Weir Location
In 2018 a full assessment of Deep Creek king salmon fish counts was undertaken to develop a comprehensive picture of the escapement. This was done using a combination of underwater sonar, weir, video, and aerial survey. Since 2018, assessments have been made using a single aerial survey.
The location shown here is the location of the weir and is also in close proximity to the location of the annual aerial survey. It is located at approximately River Mile 2.5 (4.2KM) from the mouth of Deep Creek.
Kenai Peninsula Fish Counts
Want to know more about the fish counts on the Kenai Peninsula? Follow the links below to learn about the fish counts and when to fish all of the Kenai Peninsula’s major rivers and salmon species. Kenai River King Salmon (early run / late run), Kenai River Sockeye Run, Russian River Sockeye (early-late), Anchor River Chinook, Ninilchik River Chinook, Deep Creek Chinook