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 quieter 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. Be sure to ask what the regulations are as they do change a lot, especially for king salmon. Typically the limit for king salmon is 2 hatchery fish per day. Kasilof king salmon will be fished with conventional gear, I will provide all the fishing gear. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Make sure to dress warm, wear layers, a hat, sunglasses and waterproof boots if possible. You will not be needing waders on a June Kasilof king salmon charter. Make sure to bring a cooler for your fresh catch at the end of the day. At the end of your charter, I will be fillet your fish and direct you to one of the local fish processors. The Kasilof River is a non-motorized, drift boat only river. Be sure to buy a king salmon stamp while purchasing your fishing license.
Sockeye salmon (also called red salmon) are the most popular salmon to catch on the Kenai Peninsula. Depending on the year, sockeye fishing will be better towards the end on June. With Kasilof being a drift boat only river, I highly recommend booking a full day charter. 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 recently, some years the river reaches over 500,000 fish from May-August. If you bring your own gear down, there’s public access to the river for fishing, fishing from shore can be great opportunity to add to your fish box. Make sure to ask me what public access points are the best. I always recommend hiring me early in your trip so you can learn the technique for fishing on your own. Sockeye fishing is done from the river shore, waders are necessary. I can provide hip boots for everyone, but please feel free to bring you own waders if you have your own gear. I will need boot sizes for everyone in your group before the trip. Please ask about food options and the potential for a shore lunch. Dress in layers and warm clothes, wear sunglasses and a hat. Please bring your own drinks and your fishing license. You will not need any special tags for sockeye fishing, just a regular license. 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 all your fish and can direct you to one of the local fish processors.
The Kenai River will be closed to trout/char fishing while the fish spawn from May 2nd- June 10th. With June 11th being opening day, and the trout having a break from fishing pressure, it can be a really good couple weeks of fishing. I am extremely careful not to fish on the remaining fish still using their spawning beds.
Rainbow trout are by far my favorite species to fish for in fresh water. Rainbows are well known for jumping and their explosive runs. These fish live their entire life in fresh water, gorging themselves on decaying salmon and their eggs. Wild rainbow trout 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 of salmon eggs created by the millions of fish spawning on the river. Kenai River rainbows can be well over 30 inches in length 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 (or char) are anadromous and extremely abundant in the Kenai River. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden have very similar migratory habits and can be found in the same locations. Dolly Varden have very distinctive pink spots and can be caught up to the 10lb range. Prime time for catching Dolly Varden is usually in the fall, during the salmon spawn, but Dollys are 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 and reducing the salmon runs. Modern studies have shown that they eat mostly diseased salmon eggs which actually prevents further disease, bacteria and bad genetics in the runs. Dollies are incredibly hard fighters and are known for being bulldogs, making them one of the main targets for sport fisherman.
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.
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!