Kenai River Fishing, Alaska

Kenai River Fishing for
World Class Salmon and Trout

8 of the 10 largest King Salmon
were caught on the Kenai and the 97 lb. World Record King was caught on the Kenai River in 1985.
Kenai River Sockeye Salmon
have two distinct returns. Early run arrives in June, late run in July.
Silver salmon arrive
in the Kenai River in late July and are in the river in catchable numbers by the 2nd week of August.
Rainbow Trout & Dolly Varden
are found in abundance. Larger Kenai River Rainbows can exceed 30 inches.

 The Kenai River in South-central Alaska has long been the crown jewel of Alaska salmon and trout fishing. Easily accessible via a very scenic three hour drive south from Anchorage, the Kenai River flows from the Kenai Mountain Range via Kenai and Skilak Lakes. Along its one hundred plus mile journey to the salt water at Cook Inlet, the Kenai traverses some incredible landscapes and supports one of the most prolific sport fisheries in North America. Home to king, sockeye, silver and pink salmon along with native rainbow trout, dolly varden char, and steelhead, the Kenai really has it all.

Kenai Peninsula Sport Fishing Species

Deciding when to visit really depends on what you want to catch. All of the salmon species return at different times during the summer so when planning a fishing trip it is helpful to study the run timing and if possible plan your trip around peak dates for the species you wish to target.

The Kenai Peninsula receives four of the five pacific salmon species including kings, sockeye, silvers, and pinks. From May through October there is always a worthwhile fishing adventure to pursue.

Kenai River Species Runs & Peaks

King (Chinook) Salmon Fishing
  • May – July
  • Kenai, Kasilof Rivers

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Sockeye (Red) Salmon Fishing
  • June – Aug
  • Kenai, Kasilof Rivers

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Silver (Coho) Salmon Fishing
  • Aug – Oct
  • Kenai, Kasilof Rivers

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Pink (Humpy) Salmon Fishing
  • August (Even Years Only)
  • Kenai River

Read More

Rainbow Trout/Dolly Varden Fishing
  • June – Oct
  • Kenai River

Read More

Steelhead Fishing
  • Sept – Oct
  • Kasilof, Deep Creek, Anchor River

Read More

FISHING BY MONTH

For many Alaska visitors, fishing may not be the number one priority. Perhaps you are touring several different areas of the state and are only here for one day. Or maybe you are here with family and not everyone wants to spend 24/7 on the water. If just one or two days of fishing is all you are looking for, the Kenai Peninsula makes the perfect destination. It is both economical and diverse offering a wide variety of angling experiences throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Beginning in May and spanning well into October and even November, there is always something exciting to pursue. From the Kenai to the Kasilof Rivers, to float plane destinations on the west side of Cook Inlet, to salt water adventures from Homer, Seward and Ninilchik, we are literally surrounded by angling opportunities.

To make it easy for you to see what the best fishing options are during different months of the season we have them all listed for you right here!

  • May: Steelhead, Kings, Halibut.
  • June: Kings, Sockeye, Halibut, Trout.
  • July: Kings, Sockeye, Silvers, Pinks (even years) Trout, Halibut, Ling Cod, Rock Fish.
  • August: Sockeye, Silvers, Pinks (even years) Trout, Halibut, Ling Cod, Rock Fish.
  • September: Silvers, Trout, Steelhead, Halibut
  • October: Silvers, Trout, Steelhead, Halibut
May
  • Steelhead, Kings, Halibut
 June
  • Kings, Sockeye, Halibut & Trout
July
  • Kings, Sockeye, Silvers, Pinks (even years) Trout, Halibut, Ling Cod, Rock Fish
August
  • Sockeye, Silvers, Pinks (even years), Trout & Halibut, Ling Cod, Rock Fish
September
  • Silvers, Trout, Steelhead & Halibut
October
  • Silvers, Trout, Steelhead, & Halibut

The three main sections on the Kenai River

The Kenai River is the longest river on the Kenai Peninsula. It originates from Kenai Lake in the Kenai Mountain Range near Cooper Landing.

Lower Kenai River
  • Soldotna
    to Cook Inlet

From the town of Soldotna to tide water is known as the “Lower Kenai”, and this section sees the highest volume of boats angling for kings in May, June and July as well as silver salmon in August and September.

Middle Kenai River
  • Skilak Lake
    to Soldotna

The 20 miles below Skilak Lake to the city of Soldotna is referred to as the “Middle Kenai River”. The middle is very popular for rainbow trout and dolly varden but is also very good, at times, for kings, sockeye, silvers and pinks.

Upper Kenai River
  • Cooper Landing
    to Skilak Lake

From Cooper Landing, the river narrows and flows nearly 20 miles before emptying into Skilak Lake. This section of the river is popularly known as the “Upper Kenai” and is primarily fished with drift boats, targeting rainbow trout and dolly varden.

Book your Kenai River
Fishing Trip Today!