Always check regulations closely before fishing.
Year-round residents of the Kenai River, rainbow trout are abundant from upstream of the Soldotna Bridge to Skilak Lake. The Kenai River does not have a natural run of steelhead trout, but it boasts trophy size rainbows throughout the river system. Good fishing occurs from Moose River to Skilak Lake and from Skilak Lake to Russian River. The area from Kenai Lake downstream to and including Skilak Lake within one half mile of the Kenai River is managed as a“catch and release” area. In this area only single hook, artificial lures may be used and all trout must be released.
Both resident and anadromous populations of Dolly Varden are supported in the Kenai River System. Available throughout the entire year, preferred fishing areas are from Naptowne Rapids upstream to Skilak Lake and from the inlet of SkilakLake upstream to Kenai Lake. As with rainbow trout, Dolly Varden are conservatively managed in the upstream area of the river. Anadromous Dolly Varden begin to enter the river in early July and continue into September. These fish spawn in the falland over winter in the rivers and lakes. In spring (April-May) they are intercepted by anglers in the lower river below Soldotna as they return to Cook Inlet.
Always check regulations closely before fishing.
The largest recreational fishery in Alaska is supported by the Kenai River, a glacially turbid stream draining the central Kenai Peninsula (originating at the outlet of Kenai Lake in Cooper Landing). This popular river supports excellent runs of anadromous (sea-run) King, silver, sockeye and pink salmon, both resident (exclusively fresh water) and anadromous Dolly Varden char, in addition to resident rainbow trout. Lake trout are common in the Kenai and Skilak Lakes of the Kenai River System.KING (CHINOOK) SALMON. 48,343 Kings entered the Kenai River in 2010. The very name “King” connotes a large fish, but not all King salmon caught are necessarily large. A combination of genetics, food availability and the life history of each fish determine the size of a salmon. But the Kenai River boasts more than its fair share of “King” salmon both in name and size; the world record (sport caught) King salmon was taken in 1985 from the Kenai River and weighed in at a whopping 97 pounds and 4 ounces.Two distinct runs represent the largest freshwater King salmon fishery in Alaska. The early runusually begins to enter the Kenai River around mid-May, reaching a peak in June and finishing by the end of the month. Fish from the late run enter the river in early July and provide excellent fishing until the end of July.
Bring along an ample supply of patience and courtesy on your Kenai King salmon fishing trip, because the Kenai River King salmon fishery is extremely popular and on occasion can become a bit crowded. Operate your boat in accordance with the “rules of the road” and extend to your fellow angler the same courtesies you would like to receive. Give boats with “fish on” the widest berth possible to avoid line tangles. At its best, King salmon fishing is not a sport recommended for the impatient. On the average it requires approximately 31 hours of fishing before an angler boats a king. However, you can improve your chances by hiring a guide. On the Kenai River, guided anglers are about three times as efficient as non-guided anglers.
Generously contributed with permission by The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center:
44790 Sterling Hwy
Soldotna, AK 99669
This has been an exciting week of fishing on the waters of the Kenai Peninsula! The Kenai King salmon fishing runs continue to build, the waters continue to rise and the fishing continues to heat up. While recent reports are mixed, some days are good and others not as good, overall the reports are as expected for this time of year. The average size of early run king salmon on the Kasilof is around 18 pounds with some reports of fishing in the 30 pound class being taken. If things go according to historical schedule, we should see the peak of the Kasilof king salmon fishing toward the end of this week. The big secret is pretty well out; the early tide of the day seems to be producing more fish than the late tides on the Kasilof River. Most fish are being caught on eggs, but a few are hitting qwickfish. Some groups are hooking up as many as 8 fish on a trip. The largest number of fish right now seems to be native fish, with many folks catching 5 to 3 wild versus hatchery fish.
The early run Kenai River Chinook continues to build on schedule or even maybe a bit ahead of schedule. As of the end of the day on Saturday, May 31, Alaska Department of Fish and Game recorded a total of 2,590 fish past the sonar. This is on par with an expected return of around 16,000 fish. With these numbers, the managers have elected to open the Kenai River to bait beginning July 1.
For those of you looking to get your salt water fix, it seems that halibut are biting everywhere, from 1 mile off shore to 30 miles off shore. Look for structure, put on enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom and hold on. The halibut are ranging from between 15 pounds to some reports of 100# plus this last week out of Deep Creek/Ninilchik/Anchor Point.
Here we list items and strategies to best prepare you for hiking while fishing in Kenai!
What to Bring
Water: carry 2 quarts. Giardia occurs on the refuge so purify all water.
Food: take high calorie foods. Avoid strong smelling foods that could attract bears.
Clothing: wear sturdy footwear with comfortable socks. Bring hat, gloves and rain gear.
Skin Protection: bring insect repellent, head net, sun glasses and sunscreen.
Orientation Equipment: know how to use a map and compass. Know your route and location.
Emergency Gear: a first aid kit, waterproof fire starter, whistle, knife and signals. Carry a thermal blanket and a cell phone.
Toilet Paper & Garbage: Pack out all your toilet paper and litter in sealed plastic bags.
DON’T BRING: Scented, spiced or smoked foods with you as they attract bears.
PLAN AHEAD: Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Have a backup plan and a flexible schedule.
TAKE A FRIEND: Traveling alone increases your risk dramatically. Traveling in groups is recommended.
DRESS PROPERLY: Leave your cotton at home; synthetic pile or wool are best. Rain gear is a necessity. Bring a hat and gloves – even in the summer.
CHANGING WEATHER: Always take rain gear and warm clothing no matter how nice it looks when you start. Remember weather changes rapidly. Heavy rain or snow and strong winds can occur at any time.
WATCH OUT: Alaska waters are cold even in the summer and avalanches can occur any time of the year. Be aware of your surroundings and know how to evaluate conditions.
Generously contributed with permission by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge:
P.O. Box 2139
Ski Hill Road
Soldotna, AK 99669
As a designated wilderness area, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge offers its visitors an experience of Alaska much as it existed a hundred years ago – and one which is easily accessible to all! Mark Weigner, of Weigner’s Backcountry Guiding (http://www.alaska.net/~weigner/), has been guiding fascinated canoe passengers throughout the refuge for the past 16 years. Mark’s passion for canoeing the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stems from its solitude and the considerable variety of wildlife sightings it offers (bears, beaver, moose, lynx, wolves, river otters and a variety of birds including bald eagles, trumpeter swans, loons, terns). A year-round Sterling resident, Mark is ever informed of the wildlifes’ seasonal variations in location and activity levels.
Guided Alaska canoe trips are customized per group according to their specific interests (i.e. fishing, visiting land portages, wildlife and/or vegetation viewing), as well as their activity levels. Leisurely paddle lakes on the fringe of wilderness or journey closer to the heart of the canoe system backcountry. Half Day Trips are 4 hours and may consist of a journey through Watson Lake, Imeri Lake and Afonasi Lake. Full Day Tripsare typically 8 to 9 hours (including travel time), from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, include a picnic lunch and require a reservation 24 hours in advance. Lake systems visited may include either the Swan Lake Canoe Trail East or West Entrances, or the Swanson River Canoe Trail at Paddle Lake.
Your trip starts at the home base in Sterling, where there is ample parking. After a brief safety and orientation session, your things are loaded into their van and you're off on your Alaskan wilderness adventure.
• Canoes and paddles
• Padded canoe chairs
• Personal flotation devices
• Dry bags
• Food while in the canoe system
WHAT TO BRING:
• Warm sweater or jacket
• Sunglasses, binoculars, hat
• Insect repellent
• Water proof hiking boots
So if you, or members of your group, are planning to take a little break from fishing and long for a true wilderness experience - a Half Day or Full Day canoeing trip is an excursion that is certain to awe, inspire, entertain and create memories for a lifetime!
WEIGNER'S BACKCOUNTRY GUIDING
P. O. BOX 709 Sterling, Alaska 99672
Alaska Denise Lake Lodge
Offering fishing trips and Alaska vacation packages since 1989.
Alaska Denise Lake Lodge
37090 Denise Lake Drive
Soldotna, Alaska 99669
Toll Free: (800) 478-1789
Local: (907) 262-1789
Jim & Elaine Cell: (907) 202-2514
Hours: 9 AM to 8 PM