Alaska's Kenai Peninsula is home to rivers teeming with salmon. Kings, silvers, sockeye, and chum all run up the Kenai River, between early June and into late September, depending on the species. Anglers from all across the United States and other countries head north each year to try their luck for the legendary king salmon of the Kenai River. Options abound, from charters to unguided fishing, for the visiting angler. Be sure to get a valid Alaska fishing license before heading out and dropping in a line.
Unguided Kenai River Fishing
The Kenai River flows through the Kenai Peninsula, and there are many access points reachable from the Sterling Highway or via short distances on trails.
Salmon fishermen on the river have great success using a weight and casting with a single hook or casting and drifting large spoons such as the Pixie Spoon and bouncing them off the bottom, according to reports on the Kenai River Public Access website.
Prepare yourself for a run and near foot race with the king when it hits your hook and line as the strength of these river salmon often necessitate the need to get a running start in the opposite direction of the fish's run to help tire it and land the big one.
Access points on the river include the Kenai Beach, Cunningham Park, Soldotna Park, Centennial Park and the Issac Walton Park.
Guided Fishing on the Kenai
If you wish to tap into local knowledge, professional fishing guides and boat charter services, try the guides at Eric Loomis Fishing, based out of the Kenai Peninsula city of Soldotna.
Charters are available on the Kenai River for king and silver salmon and can be made for half day, day or custom lengths. Charter fees include use of fishing gear, tackle, bait, iced coolers, assistance landing the fish, filleting, and the staff will assist in arranging smoking and shipping of your catch.
Be prepared for foul weather and bring extra layers, rain gear, rubber boots, hats, gloves and sunglasses. Keep an eye out for grizzly bear and moose as your make your way along the river's edge.
Eric Loomis Fishing Guides
397 W. Corral Ave.
Soldotna, AK 99669
Salmon Runs and Timing
The Kenai River sees four species of salmon running the waters each year. Kings, silvers, sockeye and pinks make their way up the Kenai to spawn.
Kings begin running in mid-May and continue through June. Expect to see the sockeye coming into the river in the month of June. The Kenai River's second king run takes place in July, and sockeyes begin their second run in mid-July and go through August.
Silvers start their run in August and go through the month, and pink salmon run every other year (even years, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010) in August. Plan accordingly for the species you wish to fish for.
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.