Kenai River salmon fishing is a very popular and productive pastime. The Kenai is home to king salmon, sockeye salmon, pink salmon and coho salmon. It also hosts resident populations of rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char. And at Alaskan Fishing Adventures, their properties in Sterling and Soldotna are on the Kenai River, giving you immediate access to the productive middle river. Their guides know how to fish the Kenai River, and they will help you potentially land the fish of your dreams.
Kenai River salmon fishing is top-notch angling. Not only can a fisherman catch a variety of species, but the sights, sounds and wildlife of the Kenai adds to the experience. The river originates in the gorgeous turquoise glacier water of Kenai Lake, flows some 17 miles to Skilak Lake (upper river), becomes the middle river at the outlet of Skilak Lake, then flows about 20 miles to the Soldotna bridge. The remaining 21 river miles below the Soldotna bridge is classified as the lower river before it dumps into Cook Inlet.
King salmon are the first to arrive, with fish usually in river by mid June. The Kenai is world renowned for holding huge kings; the current 97-pound, 4-ounce world record was caught in the Kenai by Les Anderson on 5/17/85. While the Kenai is experiencing a period of low abundance for kings, its still the best place to potentially fight, land, and release a massive, bucket-list worthy fish.
By mid June, the first run of red salmon hits the river. Many of these fish are bound for the Russian River, so they make a beeline for the upper Kenai where it merges with the Russian. The vast majority of Kenai River red salmon enter the river in July and continue into August; this slug of fish is considered the second run. In a normal year, red salmon numbers are well in excess of a million fish, making the Kenai a target-rich red salmon (sockeye) river. On the hook, sockeye are considered by many to be the pound-for-pound best fighting of the five species of Pacific salmon. They often spend more time out of the water than in it and are likened to steelhead trout by experienced anglers. Additionally, they are absolutely delicious to eat.
Kenai River salmon fishing can reach a frenzy when the pink salmon arrive. This is even more the case during even-numbered years when pink salmon numbers spike. Pinks are eager biters, arrive in the river in large numbers, and are great fun for novice and experienced anglers alike. If you want to teach a new angler how to catch salmon, then targeting pinks is a great option. Pinks begin to arrive in July and peak in mid August.
Silver salmon, AKA coho salmon, are the last species of salmon to enter the Kenai, with catchable numbers arriving in August and continuing through September. Coho can be aggressive biters, attacking lures with abandon. They average about 10 pounds on the Kenai, and are acrobatic, hard-charging fish with a nasty disposition. Coho that remain in the ocean continue to add weight as they feed, so larger fish are often caught on the back half of the run. Like sockeye, coho are excellent on the table.
Kenai River salmon fishing is one of the most popular fisheries in the state of Alaska, and for good reason. Not only are there four species of salmon to target over the course of the fishing season, but there are also trophy rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char that grow fat on salmon eggs and flesh. Come visit Alaskan Fishing Adventures and they will help you catch Kenai River salmon.