Kenai Peninsula

Kenai Report 7-9-14 PDF Print E-mail


Kenai River

bright bow

The last few days of June and the first few days of July are often thought of as the "in-between time" here on the Kenai.  The first run of kings are mostly gone, and the second run of kings has barely started to enter the river.  July 1st marked the opener of the king salmon fishery on the Kenai, which according to all reports (and most expectations) has been dismally slow.  Water conditions are not great- but you can expect the second run of kings to begin showing up on the Kenai any day now.  (We hope!)

The sockeye are typically on a similar timeline as the kings and the late June/early July timeframe can be a slower time.  But not this year!  The Kenai has seen strong sockeye fishing in late June and early July of 2014- possibly the best it has been in years during this time frame!  Anglers have been regularly hitting their daily limits of sockeye through the middle and lower sections of the Kenai for the past week or more.  Several of the past few days have seen 15,000-30,000 sockeye swim past the sonar.  The best part is that it should only get better through the next few weeks.  Crowds will be plentiful, but so will the Sockeye, so get geared up with your waders & sunglasses and be ready for combat!


Middle Kenai

The Middle River (Skilak Lake to Bings Landing) has been very productive for salmon fishing. Grab a bank and find those reds!  Try simple and sparse flies for the best chance at success with the reds.

scenic sockeye

Trout anglers are seeing mixed results throughout the Middle River.  The trout are phasing out of spawn mode at this point, moving off the gravel beds and settling into deeper pockets of water and other lies.  Try swinging sculpins, dolly llamas and other larger streamers through deeper pockets and riffles.  Flesh flies and beads are starting to be productive in areas where large amounts of sockeye are being caught and filleted.



Upper Kenai

The Upper Kenai (Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake) has benefited from the strong first run and early second run of sockeye salmon with anglers regularly hitting their limits. 

The mass abundance of salmon movement has had somewhat of an adverse affect on the trout fishing though- with the salmon schools pushing trout out of some of the normal holds and lies.  This had made the trout fishing a little more sporadic on the Upper Kenai.  Try exploring atypical spots for trout and experiment with your fly selection.  Near cleaning stations, flesh flies and beads are productive.  Through other stretches experiment with leeches, nymphs and smolt patterns.  

big bows in net


Kasilof River

The Kasilof kings have acted more like they're supposed to compared to the Kenai kings.  The majority of the first run kings have made their way into Crooked Creek to spawn, and the second run kings are slowly beginning to make their presence felt.  There is still a no-bait regulation in effect, but kwikfish and spin & glows have produced a few nice fish in recent days, especially on the incoming tide and extreme early mornings... as usual.  Try large bright streamers on the fly rod.

Kasilof sockeye have also been coming through in good numbers, and so many entered the river early on that ADF&G has increased the bag limit, and are currently allowing dip-netting much further upstream than usual.  Fish the lower river a few hours before the high tide for best results.  Some tides bring thousands of fish, while other tides come up dry... but you have to be there to find out.  Find a good bend or gravel bar and get your line wet!


As expected, the Kenai king fishery is looking to be a disappointing year.  However, the abundance of sockeye will hopefully make up for it for you anglers out there.  Enjoy the July weather- get out there and fish!  Best wishes for tight lines and a fun safe time on the water.          

Fishing report compiled by Brendyn Shiflea of Pretty Fly For a White Guy with in river action reports and pictures submitted by guides Lee Keuper of Alaska’s Angling Addiction, Mark Wackler of Fishology Alaska, and Kyle Kolodziejski of Keen Eye Anglers.  All are current or past board members of the Kenai Chapter of Trout Unlimited.




Kenai Report 8-17-12 PDF Print E-mail

Fishing on the Kenai is ramping up. There are reports that the sockeye spawn is in its early phases in the upper river and refuge. Fish are starting to pair up and dig redds. This means some serious bead time is in the near future. Fresh colors in 6mm and 8mm are producing. Very few kings made it into the upper river this year, meaning not a lot of spawning kings. When found though, 10mm beads are the size of choice.

The tributaries like Quartz Creek are starting to heat up with great dolly fishing. 6mm and 8mm beads are the size. The Russian is still fishing well and should continue to be productive as the sockeye spawn goes into full swing. Please remember that there are regulations specific to these areas. Here’s a link to ADF&G Regulations for the Kenai Penisula. Be sure to check and see if there are any emergency closures or updates.

Silver fishing is still in its early phases. Very few rumors of silvers in the middle and nill on the upper. Fish should start to show up in fishable numbers in the few weeks. For those wanting to fish silvers, lower in the river is the best bet.

Kenai River Report 7-27-12 PDF Print E-mail

Late run Sockeye fishing continues to be good to great. So far to date, more than a million fish have entered the river. This fishery should continue to be very productive over the next few weeks. Look for the fish to be passing along shallow bars. This is where it is best for taking them on a fly rod. Be sure to use an eight weight rod as these bright, acrobatic torpedoes are known for breaking things.

Trout fishing continues to be fair to good. Flesh flies have been the best producer in the main river, with beads and egg patterns getting hit here and there. Try fresher (orange) colors of flesh. On the nicer days, there have been a few hatches on the main river, which can be a lot of fun.

The Russian continues to be good to very good. Dries and nymphs have been the go to. This should continue for the next couple weeks until the Sockeye spawn starts. Bring a variety of caddis and mayfly dries and Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns and similar nymphs are working well. Try these patterns in sizes 18 to 12, depending on the hatch.

Kenai Report 7-12-12 PDF Print E-mail

Kenai Report 7-12-12

Windy weather over the last few days has kept a lot of anglers off of the river, but with better weather in the forecast, this weekend should be good. The Kenai is starting to see good numbers of second run sockeye past the counting station (with 68,800 fish as of 7/11) with the bulk of the run still to come. The second run fish that are in the river have been holding in the Canyon. The best fishing has been in the back eddies and deep pools. This will change to the shallower runs and gravel bars when more fish move in. The upper river should see a fish push in the next week or two.

Trout fishing has been steady on the upper river with flesh and leeches being the key to success.   As more and more sockeye enter the upper river, flesh and egg patterns will become the norm. Try fresh flesh patterns right below the sockeye hot spots and washed flesh farther down river. Patterns we like this time of year are Chokers, Twofers and MOAL Rhoids.

The Russian has been fishing well. Dries and nymphs are the flies of choice this time of year. Hatches have been good when the weather is cooperating. On the dark, gray days, going deep with nymphs has been good. To change things up, fishing small sculpins can produce when the fish are not onto bugs. Other tributaries such as Quartz Creek haven’t started to fish yet, but are not far off. Beads will be the ticket when the fish do show

Kenai Report 06-20-12 PDF Print E-mail

Like many rivers around the state, the hard, late winter has made things late on the Kenai. Currently the best red or sockeye fishing is from the mouth of the Russian, down. There have been a few small squirts of fish starting to enter the Russianbut the bulk of the early run has yet to appear. The fishing should improve as the weekend nears, but be ready to put in some time.


Trout fishing has been good and steady since it opened. Water levels and clarity are good in the upper river and refuge. Most fish are still being taken on sculpin and leech patterns. Try blacks, olive , tans and combos those. When the sockeye run does show, be ready to fish beads and fresh flesh patterns.


Tight lines and have a good week!


Brad and the Boys

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