Lower Skilak (Boat Launch)

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Nestled on the shores of Skilak Lake, the Lower Skilak Boat Launch serves as a pivotal access point for anglers aiming to explore the rich waters of both Skilak Lake and the Kenai River. This launch is renowned for its strategic position, offering unparalleled opportunities to target a variety of fish species including late-run Sockeye and Silver salmon, along with Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the fishing scene, the Lower Skilak Boat Launch is your entryway to some of the best fishing Alaska has to offer.

Who Should Visit

Anglers of all skill levels looking to capitalize on the diverse fishing opportunities provided by the connecting waters of Skilak Lake and the Kenai River will find Lower Skilak Boat Launch an ideal spot. It’s especially suitable for those interested in late-season salmon runs or the year-round pursuit of trout and char.

What to Expect

  • Fish Species: This area is particularly noted for late-run Sockeye (Red) salmon and Silver (Coho) salmon. Additionally, anglers can enjoy prolific fishing for Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden, offering a comprehensive fishing experience across seasons.
  • Facilities: The boat launch is equipped with basic amenities to facilitate a smooth launch into the water. However, visitors should come prepared with all necessary gear and provisions for their trip.

Where to Find It

Lower Skilak Boat Launch is located on the southwest side of Skilak Lake, accessible via Skilak Lake Road. This remote yet accessible location is situated within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, offering not just fishing opportunities but also breathtaking natural beauty.

When to Visit

The best times to visit Lower Skilak Boat Launch for fishing are:

  • Late-Run Sockeye Salmon: Mid to late summer.
  • Silver Salmon: Late summer through early fall.
  • Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden: Accessible year-round, with peak fishing times varying based on weather and water conditions.

Early mornings are generally the most productive and peaceful times to fish, aligning with the feeding patterns of the target species.

Why Choose Lower Skilak

Choosing the Lower Skilak Boat Launch for your fishing adventure offers a unique blend of solitude, scenic beauty, and fishing diversity. Its location provides a more secluded fishing experience away from the busier parts of the Kenai River, allowing for a serene and focused fishing outing.

Additional Notes

  • Access: The road to Lower Skilak Boat Launch can be rugged, and conditions vary with the weather. A vehicle capable of handling gravel roads is recommended.
  • Permits: Ensure you have the appropriate fishing licenses and are familiar with the current regulations regarding catch limits and seasons for each species.
  • Wildlife: As the area is part of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, encountering wildlife is common. Practicing bear safety and respecting wildlife habitats are crucial for a safe and enjoyable trip.

Lower Skilak Boat Launch not only provides access to exceptional fishing but also connects anglers with the untouched wilderness of Alaska. Whether you’re casting for salmon in the flowing waters of the Kenai River or fly fishing for trout in the serene expanse of Skilak Lake, this boat launch is your starting point for an unforgettable Alaskan fishing journey.



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 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!


Guided ocean fishing on the world-famous Kenai Peninsula