Soldotna, Alaska, is a mid-sized city on the Kenai Peninsula. Soldotna is near many rivers and lakes that have salmon, trout, Dolly Varden and arctic grayling fishing. Soldotna is close to the famous Kenai River, where the king salmon run attracts anglers from all around the world. The Russian River flows through the region, and fishermen can go for red salmon and king salmon during their seasonal runs. Out-of-state anglers will need an Alaska fishing license. The Soldotna-Kenai Fred Meyer store sells licenses in the sports department.
The Kenai River draws anglers to its waters for the annual king salmon run each year. The king run takes place between mid-June to early July. The Alaska state record for a king salmon caught with a lure was on the Kenai River. Soldotna local Les Anderson landed the world-record king salmon, which weighed in at 97.25 lbs. River charters can be hired in Soldotna, Kenai and Cooper River. During the king run, the river shores are lined with fishermen trying to get the best spot. Get to the river early, and try to find a spot to call your own. Anglers need to be aware of their surroundings. Frequent grizzly bear activity takes place at the river during the king run. Bringing bear spray and knowing how to use it properly is recommended.
The Russian River has two seasonal red salmon runs. Reds begin the early spawning run in mid-June and continue through early July. The late season run begins in mid-July and continues through mid-August. During the runs grizzly bears will patrol the shores and waters, vying for the same salmon anglers come to catch. There is a trail anglers can use to hike in to prime spots on the river. The trail head is at Mile 52 on Sterling Highway. Be aware that fishing for any salmon species is not permitted upstream of Russian River Falls. Bring a map and familiarize yourself with the area before dropping a line in the water. Rangers and game wardens patrol the region.
Russian and Kenai Lakes
Arctic grayling, lake trout and Dolly Varden can be caught from the Russian and Kenai Lakes, near Soldotna. Kenai Lake has several state and private campgrounds along the lake, including the Primrose Campground. In addition to providing solid fishing opportunities, the Primrose Campground has a trail head for the Lost Lake Trail, which leads hikers into a sub-alpine lake environment. There are views of Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska from the trail. Russian Lake can be accessed from the Russian River trail system. Be aware of your surroundings when hiking into the lake. A map and compass and GPS should be standard equipment with fishing kits as well as the knowledge of how to use them. Moose and bears frequently are seen around both lakes.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.