Alaska Sockeye Salmon

Kenai River Sockeye.

A nice sockeye limit from the Kenai River. Skilak Lake is in the background.

Alaska Sockeye Salmon are perhaps the most popular Alaska Salmon.  The Kenai River sockeye salmon sport fishery is the largest in Alaska and the Russian River sockeye salmon sport fishery is the second largest. These hard fighting fish are usually caught from the bank. The sockeye is considered by many to be the finest table fare of all the Alaska salmon. The Kenai sees an annual Alaska sockeye salmon return of between 750,000 and 1.5 million fish. This run peaks sometime between July 10-25.

The Russian River supports an early and late Alaska sockeye salmon run. The season currently opens on June 11 and early run sockeye salmon are present at this time. The run usually peaks the last week of June with lesser numbers of early run fish being present through mid-July. The late run usually arrives in harvestable numbers by July 20. This run peaks the last week of July or early in August. Late run fish are present in reduced numbers until the season closes on August 20.

Kenai River:
•Mid-July to early August.
•Strong runs of Sockeye salmon come in July.
Russian River Runs:
•June 11-25, Late July.

Average Size & Records:
•Reds average 8 to 12 lbs.
•The record Alaskan sockeye was 16 lbs., Kenai River, 1974.

Fishing Gear & Methods:
•Single hook artificial lures only.