Kenai River Fish Counts: A Vital Tool for Anglers with Kenai Fly Fish

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At Kenai Fly Fish (KFF), understanding the dynamics of fish populations in the Kenai River and surrounding waterways is essential for planning successful fishing trips. Fish counts, particularly those of migratory species like salmon, play a crucial role in this process. Conducted at various locations across Alaska’s river systems, these counts are indispensable not only for regulatory agencies but also for anglers looking to gauge the health of fish runs and anticipate what to expect on their next fishing adventure.

The Importance of Fish Counts

Fish counts offer a snapshot of the run’s health, providing valuable data that helps anglers and guides alike make informed decisions. Whether you’re planning a trip to the Kenai River for its legendary late-run Sockeye, the Russian River for its prolific Sockeye runs, or the Kasilof River for its sought-after Sockeye and King Salmon, understanding fish counts can significantly enhance your fishing experience.

How Fish Counts Are Conducted

  • Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye: Utilizing DIDSON sonar technology at river mile 19, daily escapement counts of late-run Sockeye Salmon are obtained. These precise counts assist in meeting escapement goals, ensuring the sustainability of the run.
  • Russian River Sockeye Counts: Both early and late-run Sockeye counts at the Russian River are facilitated by a weir at the outlet of Lower Russian Lake. This system provides accurate daily counts, with Sockeye typically taking 7-10 days to travel from the Kenai River mouth to the weir.
  • Kenai River Chinook (King Salmon) Counts: The counting of King Salmon in the Kenai River employs the ARIS sonar system at river mile 14. Additional methods, such as weirs and net counts, help estimate the population’s health and abundance.
  • Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon Counts: At a sonar site located approximately 8 miles upstream from the Kasilof River mouth, Sockeye counts are taken near the Sterling Highway bridge. Remarkably, Sockeye in the Kasilof can journey from the river mouth past the sonar site in as little as 12-36 hours.

Planning Your Fishing Trip with KFF

Armed with the latest fish count data, Kenai Fly Fish is ready to guide you to the best fishing spots, optimizing your chances for a successful catch. Whether you’re a novice angler or an experienced fisherman, our expert guides rely on these counts to tailor your trip, ensuring an unforgettable fishing experience in Alaska’s stunning waters.

Stay Updated with Fish Counts

Keeping up with the latest fish counts is crucial for any successful fishing trip in Alaska. KFF is committed to providing our clients with up-to-date information, guiding your adventure with precision and expertise.

Book your fishing trip with Kenai Fly Fish today and immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of Alaska’s rivers, equipped with the knowledge and expertise that only KFF can provide. Let’s embark on an adventure where every cast brings the promise of a new discovery, guided by the vital insights fish counts offer.

Useful Links for Current Fish Counts:

Book Now with Kenai Fly Fish and transform your fishing dreams into reality, with every trip planned using the critical insights provided by Alaska’s fish counts.


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