Specific Alaska Fishing information
for planning your trip.
Since 1990, we have been assisting Alaska visitors in planning professionally guided, high-quality fishing adventures to the Kenai Peninsula. From their lodging, fishing, sightseeing and travel arrangements, it has been our foremost priority to provide our guests with only the highest quality of services. My wife Cindy and I offer honest, detailed information for the customer to base their decisions on. For most, a trip to Alaska is a very special, even “once in a lifetime” occasion and we want it to meet all of your expectations. This is why we encourage you to fully research your destination and the various activities you plan to pursue. A well established game plan will go a long way toward making sure you not only catch fish, but that your entire trip flows smoothly.
On all of our guided fishing trips, we provide all of the necessary fishing gear. We are very particular about the equipment we use and you should expect nothing but the best. All of our boats are new, clean, and comfortable. On the rivers, we use both 20-foot Willie Boats power and drift boats that are custom designed for the water we fish. Both vessels comfortably accommodate four passengers. Once aboard you will see only top of the line fishing equipment. As an exclusive Pro Staff member for Lamiglas fishing rods, we have the privilege of providing the most advanced rods on the market today. With over 50 years of experience designing salmon and steelhead rods, Lamiglas has established an industry standard that we are proud to represent. To complement these fine fishing rods, we exclusively offer Shimano reels. This combination gets the job done every day against some of the most demanding fisheries in the world. In addition to premium rods and reels, you can expect only the sharpest Gamakatsu hooks, most innovative and proven lures including the incredible Luhr Jensen Kwik Fish along with the freshest bait. We are also sponsored by Western Filament makers of Tuf Line, the finest braided line available. We hand wash every inch of our gear and boats after all of our trips, so you can expect everything to be spotless when we meet you in the morning.
During king season (May-July), we offer both full and half day fishing trips. On the Kenai, guides are restricted to fishing between the hours of 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM in May, June and July. Accordingly, we meet in the morning at 5:30 AM. Full day trips allow for 8+ hours of fishing time, typically from 6AM to 2-3PM. We also offer two half day trips daily, one in the morning from 5:30AM to 11:30AM and an afternoon trip from 12:00PM to 6:00PM. While there are a number of days when a half day trip offers ample opportunity at catching a Kenai King, a full day trip does afford you additional flexibility as you have the boat for the entire day. On many occasions, an extra 2-3 hours can make a big difference. We also fish the Kasilof River, and this is a drift boat only fishery (no motors). Far more glacial (murky) than the Kenai, the Kasilof is 15 miles to the south and flows from the largest lake on the Kenai Peninsula, Tustamena Lake. Kasilof King salmon rival the Kenai fish in size an intensity and a drift boat trip to the Kasilof should not be over-looked.
It is important to remember that the Kenai is not known for producing daily limits or extraordinary numbers of kings. In fact many other rivers in Alaska surpass the Kenai in sheer numbers of king salmon. The Kenai is a trophy river. It holds the largest STRAIN of king salmon in the world with the average fish weighing 30-40 lbs. King salmon over fifty pounds are somewhat common, and nine out of the ten largest kings EVER CAUGHT were taken from the Kenai River. The world record was set here in May 1985 with a Kenai king that weighed 97lbs. Kenai King salmon can also be very difficult to catch and fishing from a boat is paramount. The Kenai is a very refined fishery where it has been accurately portrayed that 10 % of the guides catch 90 % of the king salmon.
The Kenai and the Kasilof each have two annual returns of king salmon. On the Kenai, the early run begins in May and lasts until the end of June. While this run has less fish (15-year average of approximately 15,000 fish) and is less predictable than the late run, it also sees far less fishing pressure. The early run on the Kenai also coincides with an early run of both hatchery and wild king salmon on the Kasilof River and these two fisheries make both May and June a great time to visit. We are prepared to fish each river daily so we will often schedule our king salmon trips for either the Kenai or the Kasilof in May and June. We can then let you decide the evening prior to your trip according to current fishing conditions. We always recommend fishing both of these beautiful rivers, as each destination offers its own unique experience.
Kenai King Salmon, Early Run:
•Season: May 1 – June 30
•Regulations: Single Hook, Bait allowed only after in-season projections for escapement are met.
•No retention slot: 46-55 inches.
•One fish per day, two per year. No fishing after retention.
•Closed to guided fishing Sundays and Mondays.
•Peak time: June 5-20
Kasilof King Salmon, Early Run:
•Season: May 15 – June 30
•Regulations: Multiple Hooks, Bait Allowed
•Retention of two hatchery fish (adipose clipped) 7 days a week, retention of one wild fish on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only. Limit two fish per day (two hatchery or one wild /one hatchery: Tues, Thur. Sat), five per season. Fishing after retention allowed.
•Peak time: May 25 – June 15
The late run of Kenai Kings is one of the most popular fisheries in all of Alaska. The annual return typically peaks in the last two weeks of July. The Kenai opens to the use of bait on July 1 and this greatly improves fishing success. You can expect good king fishing during the entire month. The annual average for this run is close to 40,000 fish. This late run of king salmon represents the peak of our season and combined with the late run of sockeye salmon, one can expect the Kenai River and surrounding communities to be very busy. We suggest making reservations up to a year in advance, especially for the last two weeks of July. Just like all king returns, the late run of Kenai King salmon can be unpredictable. Run strength and timing varies annually and there is also the commercial fishing component to consider. Commercial set and drift gill netting for sockeye does have an impact on king salmon returns to the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers so if they are having a big sockeye year, chances are king fishing will be impacted.
Kenai King Salmon, Late Run:
•Season: July 1 – July 31
•Regulations: Single Hook, bait allowed. One fish per day, two per year. No fishing after retention.
•Closed to guided fishing Sundays and Mondays.
•Peak time: July 10-25
In July, the Kasilof has an entirely wild return of late run kings. Since fishing pressure is lower and the number of fish is high, we encourage our July guests to consider a day of drift boat fishing in addition to the more popular Kenai fishery. This late run of Kings in the Kasilof is big and hard fighting with fish often exceeding 40 pounds. Fighting these big kings with no motor, in extremely fast current is a very challenging and remarkable experience.
Kasilof King Salmon, Late Run:
•Season: July 1 – July 31
•Regulations: Double Hook, bait allowed. One fish per day, two per year. Fishing allowed after retention.
•Closed to guided fishing Sundays.
•Peak time: July 20-31
Fly Out King Salmon
Even though Kenai and Kasilof King salmon hold the most lore of the Kenai Peninsula’s fishing opportunities, these fisheries barely scratch the surface when it comes to the myriad of angling opportunities available. We also offer unbelievable king salmon fishing in remote locations such on the west side of Cook Inlet and the Nushagak as well as remote locations on Kodiak Island. Please see our fly out pages for more information on these more extreme king salmon adventures.
Additional information on King Salmon:
- Kenai King Salmon Put the Kenai on the Map
- Kasilof River Fishing
- Alaska Fly Out Fishing to the Nushagak
- The World’s Best King Salmon Lure
From mid June into August, we offer a wide variety of fishing trips targeting wild Alaska sockeye salmon. These powerful fighters are mint bright, just out of the saltwater, and average 8-12 lbs. Sockeye are considered the finest table fare of all the pacific salmon. The first sockeye (reds) of the season are heading for the rocky, fast-moving tributary of the upper Kenai near Cooper Landing named the Russian River. This fishery begins in mid June and extends all the way through late July. Also in mid June, we see strong numbers of sockeye salmon in remote, fly out locations such as Big River Lake.
In July, the Kenai receives a very large return of late-run sockeye. These fish tend to arrive in very high numbers all at once. The peak of this run normally arrives in mid July with good fishing well into the first week of August. Keep in mind this huge run of reds also attracts a large population of resident Alaskans to the area so services, access and accommodation will all be limited. We urge those wanting to visit during this mid to late July time period plan well in advance.
•Season: June 15 – Aug 10
•Regulations: Single hook, three fish per day.
•Peak time: Russian River: June 10-20
•Peak Time: Fly Out: Big River Lake: June 10-July 15
•Peak Time: Late Run Kenai River: July 10-25
Additional Information on Sockeye Salmon:
- How to catch Kenai River Sockeye (red) Salmon
- New! Sockeye Made Simple
- Catching Kenai River Red Salmon
Trout fishing opens in mid-June and extends well into late October. Kenai trout populations are in excellent shape and multiple fish days are very common. Kenai rainbows average a remarkable 20 inches and fish over five pounds are really quite common. We see many trophy class rainbows over the course of the season with the largest fish well over 30 inches long. Along with the rainbows, we also catch dolly varden and arctic char. These fish are very aggressive and strong fighters. Although you are allowed to retain one rainbow or dolly per day less than 18 inches, we maintain a strict catch and release policy for both these species. A day of trout fishing can often be the highlight to a great week of Alaska fishing. The sheer numbers and average size of the fish will amaze even the most seasoned trout angler and this has always been one of our favorite trips. We specialize in both fly and conventional tackle on these trips.
Kenai Trout/Dolly Varden
•Season: June 10-Mid October
•Regulations: One rainbow, one dolly per day, 18 inches or smaller.
•MGF Policy: 100% Catch and Release
•Peak Time: August-October
Additional Information on Trout Fishing:
During August and September, our primary pursuit becomes Silver, or Coho salmon. The Kenai and the Kasilof receive very robust runs of silver salmon with good to excellent fishing from early August into November (weather permitting). The limit is two fish in August and three fish beginning September 1. In addition to the silvers, we also have pink salmon in August and September, but ONLY in EVEN years. The Kenai also has a prominent late run of silver salmon that begins in September and continues well into October. On most days, we can fish for both trout and silver salmon in the same portion of the river, making for a very well-rounded fishing experience. Overnight temperatures can begin to dip below the freezing mark beginning in late August and September. With leaves ablaze and the landscape in full color, the scenery can be breathtaking at this time of year. Despite the frosty mornings, fall fishing is perhaps the most prolific and extraordinary of our entire summer season.
In addition to the Kenai and the Kasilof we also offer a wide range of remote, fly-out silver trips that will easily rival the best coho fishing in the entire state. Most of these remote locations are just a short flight to the west side of Cook Inlet. Since these fish see very little fishing pressure, they are aggressive beyond belief. We can employ a wide variety of fishing techniques with fly fishing being very effective. We also commonly use salmon eggs beneath bobbers as well as spinners. These remote silver trips are also a great way to see a portion of Alaska from the air. The West Side of Cook Inlet is extremely scenic with several coastal volcanoes standing tall in the distance. Steep snow-covered mountains, endless glaciers and thousands of lakes and rivers blanket the landscape. Setting down in this piscatorial paradise is a very special experience, one we feel very privileged to offer our guests. After many years of flying with Alaska West Air and exploring these unique and remote fisheries, we can show you in one day what many will never experience in a lifetime of angling. Keep in mind the closer, less expensive destinations often have more pressure. Flight time dictates the price of the trip but flying to more distant waters will normally give you additional solitude. Another popular option is to charter the float plane for the entire day to ensure you can visit multiple locations. On these trips, the pilot , plane and guide stay with you ALL DAY.
•Season: Fly Outs: July 15-Sept 15
•Season: Kenai/Kasilof: Aug 5-Oct 15
•Regulations: Fly Outs: 3 fish per day.
•Regulations: Kenai/Kasilof: Aug: 2 fish, Sept: 3 fish per day.
•Peak Time: August-October
Additional Information on Silver Salmon:
- Alaska Fly Out Fishing for Prince William Sound Silver Salmon
- Alaska Fly Out Fishing: Silver salmon safari across to West Side Cook Inlet and Big River Lake
- Alaska Fly Out Fishing: Top Water Silvers
If you are looking for a guaranteed one fish after another experience, pink salmon will fit the bill. They arrive by the millions on even years only, showing up in early August and running until early September. Their numbers can be very imposing on the river in general and their masses make it more strategic to get to the silvers at times. For trout fishing, the sheer influx of food can have an adverse effect on the trout’s appetite and thus fishing success. All in all they are a remarkable and welcome transfer of energy from the sea and a lot of fun to catch but they are also a definite force to be reckoned with. These fish are great for kids or those who want to catch fish till their arms fall off.
Kenai Pink Salmon
•Season: Kenai: August 5-August 25
•Regulations: Kenai: 6 fish per day.
•Peak Time: August
Additional Information on Pink Salmon:
Beginning in late August and running well into late fall /early winter, Steelhead trout return to a handful of smaller rivers on the southern Kenai Peninsula. The primary rivers are the Anchor Deep Creek and the Ninilchik. These ocean-going rainbow trout are newly arriving from nearby Cook Inlet and their aggressive hard fighting nature makes them a tempting target for fall visitors and locals alike. Steelhead Trout are completely catch and release, you’re not even allowed to take them out of the water for a picture. Trust me, the memory will last forever. We offer walk in trips for these Kenai Peninsula metal-heads beginning in late August and extending well in November, weather permitting. This is not a trip for novice anglers or those that are looking to catch a lot of fish. Adverse weather conditions and few and far between chances are the reality of most Kenai Peninsula steelhead trips yet when the timing is right, very good action is possible.
Kenai Peninsula Steelhead
•Season: August 1-Nov 1
•Regulations: Catch and Release Only, Fish cannot be removed from the water.
•Peak Time: Late August through October.
Additional Information on Steelhead:
If you would like to enjoy some of the best halibut fishing in Alaska, neighboring Cook Inlet, Homer and Seward are all great choices. Fishing remains good to excellent for most of the summer with tides and weather being the biggest factor. Cook Inlet has the second highest tides in the world and water movement can be 20+ feet each way, twice daily. The force of the incoming or outgoing tide can make it very difficult for even several pounds of weight to find the bottom. The best fishing is usually at the high or the low when the tide has ebbed. Tides with the least amount of water moving between the high and the low are optimal. We will help you pick the best tide for your stay. We use only the finest halibut captains in Deep Creek, Homer and Seward. They are experienced skippers with professional operations and excellent people skills. They will assure your safety with custom designed 28-32 foot offshore fishing boats with enclosed cabins and powerful engines. They are the “specialists” at what they do.
•Regulations: 2 fish, per day.
•Peak Time: May-August
Additional Information on Halibut: