In recent years sockeye salmon have been running later and later. The first 2 weeks of August are considered prime time for sockeye fishing. Sockeye salmon on the Kenai River draw crowds of thousands of anglers every year. Kenai River sockeye are larger than Kasilof sockeye, they average around 8 lbs. Sockeye are extremely fresh, hard fighting fish that come straight from the ocean. Both fly or spin gear can be effective techniques for catching sockeye. I will provide all the fishing gear you will need. 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 smaller, with its final destination being the Russian River. The second run is over 1 million fish and starts in early July and ends in mid-August. With the abundance of sockeye, fishing can be very competitive, please be ready for early morning starts!
You will not need any special tags for sockeye fishing. Make sure to bring a cooler for your fresh catch at the end of the day. At the end of your charter I will fillet your fish and can direct you to one of the local processors. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Please wear warm layers, a hat and sunglasses. Make sure to bring your own drinks and your fishing license.
By mid-August, sockeye salmon begin to transform into their spawning colors and the coho (or silver salmon) replace them in high numbers. Coho salmon tend to rest in the slower water 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 lures, troll, or try just your luck fly fishing. Generally the limit in August is 2 coho per person. I will provide all the fishing gear for every technique. You will not need any special tags for Coho salmon fishing. At the end of your charter I will fillet your fish and can direct you to one of the local processors. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Please wear warm layers, a hat and sunglasses. Make sure to bring your own drinks and your fishing license.
August is really the kickoff to great trout fishing. With the millions of salmon now entering the river, this time of year is when trout really start putting on some weight. Generally early in the month, the better spots to fish would be around the salmon fillet tables. I highly recommend hiring me for a private charter with no more than 3 people in the boat. Having only three people makes for a more personable trip and can be a lot better fishing. At this time of year, the fish are so close to the shore that having 4 anglers can leave you with half the day fishing on the side of the boat that has less fish. After August 20th the salmon start spawning and the trout fishing absolutely goes off! Fly fishing with 4 anglers becomes a lot more manageable at this time of year.
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 and the world, 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!
For gear I will be providing fly rods and I will be rigged and ready for the day. The Kenai is a great opportunity for all experience levels. I highly encourage beginners to learn how to fly fish, because it can be the most successful technique. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Make sure to dress warm, wear layers, a hat, sunglasses and waterproof boots if possible. Please bring your own drinks and your fishing license. You will not need any special tags for trout fishing, just a regular license.
Dolly Varden (char) are anadromous and extremely abundant in the Kenai River. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden have very similar migratory habits and can be caught in the same locations. Dolly Varden have very distinctive pink spots and can get up to the 10lb range. Prime time for Dolly Varden is in the fall, during the salmon spawn, but are these fish easily targeted from June-December. Dolly Varden are extremely important to the ecosystem. In the early 1900s, Alaska had bounties on Dolly Varden with the belief that they were eating all the salmon eggs. When the salmon are spawning, modern studies have shown that Dollies eat mostly just the diseased salmon eggs. This prevents disease, bacteria, bad genetics which actually helps the salmon runs. Dollies are incredibly hard fighters and are known for being bulldogs, making them one of the main targets for sport fisherman because they are so fun to catch!
For gear I will be providing fly rods and I will be rigged and ready for the day. The Kenai is a great opportunity for all experience levels. I highly encourage beginners to learn how to fly fish, because it can be the most successful technique. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Make sure to dress warm, wear layers, a hat, sunglasses and waterproof boots if possible. Please bring your own drinks and your fishing license. You will not need any special tags for Dolly fishing, just a regular license.
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!
FAQ: How to get to the Kenai Peninsula
Once you arrive in Anchorage, you can rent a car and drive the scenic Seward Highway South for about 2.5 hours to Soldotna. You can also fly straight into Soldotna on a small plane from Anchorage, but you will still need a rental vehicle to get to the boat launches. Please keep in mind that the traffic will be slow on Alaskan highways in the summer because of the short construction season and heavy tourism traffic, you may want to add an hour or two to your expected drive time.
With long hours of fishing and early morning starts, I highly recommend finding a place to stay overnight while visiting the Kenai Peninsula. I recommend Aspen Hotel Soldotna. Booking.com , Airbnb and VRBO can also be great tools for finding available options on the Kenai Peninsula. I am more than happy to help you find a place to stay, so feel free to give me a call at any time. Please be sure to book far in advance as prime summer dates book up fast!