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Fly Fishing the Kenai River in Alaska

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4 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Kenai River summary

Kenai River is a fly fishing location in Alaska. This destination has an elevation of approximately 0 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for Kenai River on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).
                   

Kenai River reports

scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Swinging leeches and sculpin patterns is working the best. Be sure to watch for migrating smolt. The Rainbows will be chasing and feeding on them. (04/20/09)
scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: A few fish being caught around the Kenai Lake bridge. (04/09/09)
scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Reports of some very nice rainbows being caught on the Kenai last weekend. Temps are going to warm up next week so look for the fishing to be very good (03/20/09)
scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Fishing was fair last weekend on the kenai. To find productive water you should still concentrate on finding spawning silver salmon. Beads and flesh patterns worked better than leeches and nymphs. (02/20/09)
scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: Finding open water can be a challenge at the end of Jan. on the Kenai river. If you search in the right spots there are some fishing opertunities though. The cooper landing area and lower kenai have a few fishing areas open now. (01/23/09)
scott sager (Scott Sager) reported - 4 - Poor fly fishing: Ice fishing might be your only option this winter. Temps reaching the mid 40's this week could allow some ice to break free and offer a window to get a few drifts in. (01/16/09)
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Kenai River descriptions

Fred Telleen (Mysticfish) wrote - Alaska offers many different angling opportunities. The Kenai is arguably Alaska's most famous fishing river and best known for its runs of giant King Salmon (Chinook). The world record King was taken here in 1985 and weighed over 97 pounds. While the Kings draw many anglers to the Lower Kenai, fly-fishers typically focus on the Upper Kenai and the numerous rainbow trout. Fish over five pounds are common. Larger rainbows to twenty pounds or more are landed yearly. In addition to the rainbows, Dolly Varden are plentiful with many caught weighing four to six pounds. Sockeye (Red) Salmon arrive in huge numbers in mid June and from mid July through August. During large runs, the Sockeye (Reds) have returned to the Kenai in numbers exceeding one million fish. Silver (Coho) Salmon join the fray from early August into the winter season. The Kenai River flows for 82 miles from Kenai Lake to Cook Inlet with Skilak Lake dividing the river sections. Fishing the "Upper River" in the Cooper Landing area with the spectacular backdrop of the Chugach Mountains is what Alaska is all about. Considering the rising costs of destination fly-in lodges and outpost camps, it is no wonder the Kenai is a popular river. The Upper Kenai draws anglers because it is accessible (100 easy miles from Anchorage), holds sizable fish, and has a relatively long fishing season. Much of the river parallels the road as it travels through the "Chugach National Forest" and the "Kenai National Wildlife Refuge". For those wishing to get away from the road, the five miles above Skilak Lake wind through a canyon gorge and offer a remote wilderness trip into the heart of the refuge. The "Lower Kenai" adjacent to the towns of Soldotna and Kenai draw the majority of salmon fisherman. They seek out record sized King Salmon on guided powerboat trips. For those wishing to catch these giants, the "Lower Kenai" is the place to fish. Fly-fishers and anglers wishing for a little more solitude and scenery can find their place on the Upper Kenai. The plentiful Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Sockeye and Silver Salmon keep things interesting. (02/03/11)
Colin Lowe (Guihanman) wrote - Rainbows, Dolly varden, Silver (Coho) Salmon, King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon. A glacier fed river system that runs 82 miles from the head water to Cook inlet. Average day time teperatures in the 60's and above. Water progressively rises during the course of the summer and starts to drop in the fall as the weather cools. Hatches are frequent on the river mid summer in the afternoons. Trout fishing progressively gets better as the season progresse. (01/23/11)
Andy Idema (aidema) wrote - The Kenai River is one of the most popular sport fishing destinations in Alaska. Each year there are great runs each of king salmon, silver salmon, and red salmon. There is also a run of pink salmon every other year. The world record king salmon, which weighed approximately 97 lbs, was caught in the Kenai River in 1985. The Kenai also holds trophy rainbows and dolly varden (06/07/08)
Fred Telleen (Mysticfish) wrote - The Kenai is arguably Alaska's most famous river and best known for its runs of giant King Salmon (Chinook). The world record King was taken here in 1985 and weighed over 97 pounds. While the Kings draw many anglers to the Lower Kenai, fly-fishers typically focus on the Upper Kenai and the numerous Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden and Sockeye or Silver Salmon. Flowing from 20-mile long Kenai Lake to Cook Inlet, the Kenai River drops 430 feet on its 82-mile course to the ocean. The 17 miles of river between Kenai Lake and 18-mile long Skilak Lake is known as the "Upper Kenai". This section is where much of the fly-fishing takes place. The Upper Kenai is drift only (no power boats). This adds immeasurably to the quality of the experience. Joining the Upper Kenai at river mile seven is the world-renowned Russian River. This is perhaps the most famous salmon fishing location in the world. Almost all early run sockeye salmon are bound for the Russian River and spawn throughout its system. Access to the Kenai/Russian River Confluence is through the "Russian River Campground" or by taking the "Russian River Ferry" across the Kenai. When the sockeye are running strong during mid summer, expect to see hundreds of anglers trying to seize these tasty salmon at the Kenai/Russian confluence. Adjacent to the confluence and just off the Sterling Hwy is "Sportsman's Landing". This is the most popular launch site where anglers often begin drifts to Jim's landing. The reason is simple. The next five miles of river are very fishy. After converging with the Russian, the Kenai braids into several easily fished side channels. Although the flows are deep and swift in the main channel, gravel bars can provide easy wading. Almost the entire river throughout this stretch contains prime spawning habitat for salmon and food for trout. After "Jim's Landing", the river drops into "The Canyon." This three-mile stretch of Class 2-3 whitewater has some interesting fly-fishing opportunities. The last two miles of the upper river above Skilak Lake flatten out and the river braids into several channels and sloughs. Rainbows and Dolly Varden will move in and out of Skilak Lake to binge on salmon smolt or sockeye spawn. Drifters are forced to cross six miles of often-turbulent open water on Skilak Lake to reach Upper Skilak Landing. Knowledge of weather and wind conditions is critical to safely cross the lake. The Lower Kenai River flows from Skilak Lake for fifty miles before emptying into Cook Inlet. It starts out wide and slow providing excellent habitat for loons, nesting swans and juvenile salmon. As the river picks up speed, so does the fishing. Powerboats can run the Lower River with a maximum rating of 50hp. The most common boats are specialized 20' open river sleds and semi V's. Drifting the Lower River is less common, but is an excellent option during low water times and in some of the less crowded stretches. The first ten miles below Skilak Lake contains excellent spawning gravel and holds many Rainbows and Dolly Varden. This stretch has become hugely popular at peak times for salmon and trout. Numerous rocks and small rapids characterize the next twenty miles. Partly due to these challenges, this Middle River stretch sees less powerboat activity. Portions of the Middle River offer excellent fishing at the right times. The last twenty river miles are locally known as "The Lower". The Lower is adjacent to the towns of Soldotna and Kenai. This is where the most concentrated fishing activity takes place. When the Kings are running, the river is typically very crowded with boats and eager anglers. We liken it to the "Super Bowl" of King Salmon fishing. (05/19/08)
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Kenai River businesses

Legend:
Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
Lodge Alaska Mystic Lodge
Holben Lane
Cooper Landing, Alaska
Scott Sager
2300 E. 50th ave
Anchorage, Alaska
Mystic Waters Fly Fishing
P.O. Box 690
Cooper Landing, Alaska
Guide Service Alaska River Adventures
Mile 48 Sterling Highway
Cooper Landing, Alaska
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Nearby destinations

Kasilof River, Alaska 11 miles away
Upper Kenai River, Alaska 18 miles away
Ninilchik River, Alaska 36 miles away
Deep Creek, Alaska 38 miles away
Chuitna River, Alaska 38 miles away
Russian River, Alaska 44 miles away

Nearby cities

Nikiski, Alaska 13 miles away
Kenai, Alaska 15 miles away
Sterling, Alaska 17 miles away
Kasilof, Alaska 18 miles away
Soldotna, Alaska 22 miles away
Clam Gulch, Alaska 23 miles away
Ninilchik, Alaska 33 miles away
Tyonek, Alaska 38 miles away
Cooper Landing, Alaska 49 miles away

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