Important Update for the 2024 Season: Kenai River King Salmon Fishing Closures

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With the Kenai River at the heart of Alaska’s premier fishing destinations, Kenai Fly Fish is committed to keeping our community of anglers informed about significant regulatory changes affecting our cherished fishing adventures. In alignment with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s (ADF&G) recent announcement, we must share some important updates regarding the 2024 King Salmon fishing season on the Kenai River.

Early-Season King Salmon Fishing Closure

ADF&G has announced the closure of the early-run King Salmon sport fishery in the Kenai River, effective from May 1 through June 30, 2024. This decision comes as a protective measure for the returning king salmon population, aiming to ensure future sport fishing opportunities. The 2024 preseason forecast predicts a run of only 2,630 large fish, indicating one of the lowest returns in nearly four decades. Anglers are reminded that fishing for King Salmon, including catch-and-release, is prohibited during this period. Only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures may be used for fishing other species, with strict instructions to release any king salmon immediately without removing them from the water.

Late-Season King Salmon Fishing Closure

Further, the late-run King Salmon sport fishery will also see a closure from July 1 through August 15, 2024. This measure is part of the effort to safeguard the returning king salmon under the newly adopted Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Stock of Concern Management Plan. The forecast for the late-run king salmon is also underwhelming, with an anticipated return of 13,639 large fish, which falls short of the optimal escapement goal. This forecast, although slightly higher than the recent five-year average, still ranks as one of the lowest in recent history.

What This Means for Our Anglers

Kenai Fly Fish is fully supportive of efforts to conserve and protect our valuable king salmon populations. While these closures undoubtedly impact our King Salmon fishing opportunities, they underscore the importance of sustainable fishing practices and the collective responsibility we share in preserving these magnificent species for future generations.

Looking Ahead: Diverse Fishing Opportunities Remain

Despite these closures, the Kenai River and its surrounding waters continue to offer a wealth of fishing opportunities. From Sockeye and Silver Salmon runs to the pursuit of Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden, our guided fishing trips are designed to provide an unforgettable experience in the stunning Alaskan wilderness. Our team of expert guides is ready to navigate these regulatory changes, ensuring your adventure with Kenai Fly Fish remains productive, enjoyable, and aligned with conservation efforts.

For those planning a trip with us or considering the Kenai River as your next fishing destination, rest assured that Kenai Fly Fish is here to guide you through these changes. We invite you to reach out with any questions or for further information on how we can tailor your next fishing adventure to the rich opportunities still available in this breathtaking region.

Stay tuned for updates, and let’s continue to celebrate the spirit of fishing in Alaska with respect, responsibility, and an enduring passion for the adventure that awaits on the Kenai River.

 
 

Kenai River Fish Species

Rainbow Trout

Kenai River rainbows can be well over 30 inches and up to 20lbs!

Dolly Varden Char

Dollies range of all sizes and can reach up to about 12 lbs.

Steelhead

Steelhead are very uniform in shape and average around 28 inches. These amazing, acrobatic fish are often a fly fisherman’s favorite to target.

King Salmon

The Kenai River is open to motorized boats, allowing us chase the bite, and stay on the fish!

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon (also called red salmon) are the most popular salmon to catch on the Kenai Peninsula.

Coho Salmon

Ranging anywhere from 5-20lbs, coho are acrobatic and are probably the most aggressive salmon out there.

Pink Salmon

Pinks are completely underrated, they are extremely aggressive to catch and come in by the millions!

Halibut

Guided ocean fishing on the world-famous Kenai Peninsula