Kenai River Rainbow Trout, Year Round
Rainbow trout are by far my favorite species to fish for in fresh water. They are well known for jumping and explosive runs. These fish live their entire life in fresh water gorging themselves on decaying salmon and their eggs. Wild rainbows are catch and release only on the Kenai River. Kenai rainbows are some of the largest wild trout in Alaska, they grow very large because of the abundant food source created by the millions of salmon spawning on the river. Kenai River rainbows can be well over 30 inches and up to 20lbs! If you’re looking to learn how to fly fish, I highly recommend fishing for Kenai River rainbow trout!
Kenai River Dolly Varden Char, Year Round
Dolly varden feed and migrate a lot like rainbow trout. Dollies are known for being hard fighting bulldogs and are difficult to pull off the bottom. In the fall they begin to get their spawning colors, their bellies become vibrant orange with pink dots. Dollies are an excellent fish to catch for all experience levels. Dollies range of all sizes and can reach up to about 12 lbs.
Kenai River Steelhead, Mid August-November
Steelhead are an extra special bonus on the Kenai River. While fishing for rainbows/dolly varden, steelhead are caught occasionally. Steelhead are a kind of ocean going rainbow trout. Steelhead typically migrate back to fresh water after 3 years in the salt water. They are the only pacific salmon that will survive after spawning and head back to the ocean for potentially another spawning cycle. They look a lot like a rainbow trout, but with a trained eye, the difference is distinguishable. Steelhead are very uniform in shape and average around 28 inches. These amazing, acrobatic fish are often a fly fisherman’s favorite to target.
Kasilof River King Salmon, Mid May-End of July
The Kasilof River has some of the best king salmon (also known as chinook salmon) fishing on the Kenai Peninsula! Only a short 15 mile drive from Soldotna, the Kasilof River can be a nice break from the busy Kenai River. First run hatchery fish range from 5-30 lbs, fishing starts May 16th and ends June 30th. The second run of kings are all wild and much larger. These fish can make it up to 80 lbs and run from July 1st- July 31st. The Kasilof River is a non-motorized drift boat only river. Be sure to buy a king salmon stamp while purchasing your fishing license.
Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon, Mid June-Mid August
Sockeye salmon (also called red salmon) are the most popular salmon to catch on the Kenai Peninsula. With the limit being three or more a day, sockeye are one of my favorite fish to harvest and are some of the best Alaskan fish for eating. The run has been doing very good with some years reaching over 500,000 fish throughout the season. If you bring your own gear down, there’s public access to the river that can be great opportunity to add to your fish box.
Kasilof River Coho Salmon, Mid August- end of October
Coho (or silver salmon) are by far my favorite salmon to catch. In addition to them being great table fare, they are a blast to catch on both fly and spin gear. Ranging anywhere from 5-20lbs, coho are acrobatic and are probably the most aggressive salmon out there. If you’re looking to go on a beautiful scenic float for coho salmon, the kasilof is your river!
Kenai River King Salmon, Mid May-End of July
The Kenai River is home to some of the largest king salmon (or chinook salmon) in the world. Fisherman Les Anderson caught the world record 97.25lb king salmon on May 17th, 1985 on the Kenai. With the king run starting in late May, July tends to be the most popular month to go for these fish. For both the 1st and 2nd king run you have the opportunity to catch huge trophy fish reaching up to 90lbs! The Kenai River is open to motorized boats, allowing us chase the bite, and stay on the fish! Please be sure to ask about new rules and regulations as they tend to change for king salmon often. Before arrival, make sure to buy a king salmon stamp while purchasing your license.
Kenai River Sockeye Salmon, Mid June- Mid August
July is the best time to harvest sockeye salmon! Sockeye salmon on the Kenai River draw crowds of thousands of anglers every year. The Kenai River sockeye are larger than Kasilof sockeye and average around 8 lbs. Sockeye are extremely fresh, hard fighting fish, straight from the ocean. Both fly or spin gear can be effective techniques for sockeye. Sockeye fishing is mostly done on the bank, I can provide hip boots if needed. The Kenai River has two runs. The first run is a smaller run, with its finally destination being the Russian River. The second run is over 1 million fish and starts in early July- Mid August. With the abundance of sockeye, fishing can be very competitive, so be ready for early morning starts!
Kenai River Coho Salmon, Early August- End of October
By mid August, sockeye salmon begin to transform into their spawning colors and the coho (or silver salmon) replace them in high numbers. Coho tend to rest in the slower water sloughs, and can’t wait to bite anything flashy that comes their way. These beautiful chrome salmon run anywhere from 4-20lbs. Coho are a great catch for all experience levels whether you want to cast spinners, troll, or try your luck fly fishing.
Kenai River Pink Salmon, Early August-End of August
On the Kenai River, pink salmon enter in catchable numbers on the even years. Pinks are completely underrated, they are extremely aggressive to catch and come in by the millions! Ranging from 2-12lbs Pink Salmon are great fish for kids to catch, and when fresh can be a decent table fare! If your looking for nonstop action, pink salmon should be on your radar!