King Salmon |
The Kenai River is world famous for producing trophy King Salmon. The world record was taken in May of 1985 weighing 97 lbs. 4 oz. Every year sees thousands of kings weighing between 30 and 80, even 90 lbs. Their fighting strength has to be felt to be believed, and those that have battled these monsters have memories that last a lifetime. We have two runs of Kings entering the local rivers and fishing is typically best late May to mid June and the last half of July. Methods for taking Kings include back bouncing, back trolling, and drifting.
Sockey or Red Salmon, average 6-12 lbs. and most of it is pure muscle.These salmon begin to enter the Kenai River by the millions in late June and the run ends in mid August. Since the Sockeye tend to hug the bank, most fishing is done from the shore, with excellent fishing right in front of the lodge. Methods include casting cohoe flies in a style called the Kenai Flip, found only on the Kenai River.
Three words: acrobatic tackle busters. These fighters are notorious for burning up drags and snapping rods. Silvers average 10-14 lbs., with lunkers nearing 20 lbs. Season begins in early August and ends September 30. Methods include casting spinners, back bouncing, and back trolling.
Returning in even numbered years in late July through August, Pinks are the single most aggressive salmon that returns to the Kenai. Their sheer numbers and willingness to strike anything shiny makes them a favorite with kids, novice fishermen, and anyone who fishes for the thrill of the catch. Best when taken fresh from the salt water, Pinks have a delicate white flesh that looses its texture rapidly once they enter fresh water. Caught by casting spinners and spoons.
A trip to the Kenai River is not complete without a trout fishing trip. While some sections of the river are fly-fishing only-Rainbow Trout trophy areas, Rainbows are plentiful throughout the river.
While on the Kenai Peninsula you'll defintely want to take a trip out in the saltwater for a chance to catch the peninsulas largest gamefish, Halibut. These halibut grow to enormous proportions in the rich seas surrounding the Cook Inlet. Take the opportunity to try your luck at hauling up one of the "barn door" size halibut that reside in the Inlet. They are in my opinion the most delicious fish in the sea.
Russian River Fisheries Location
The Kenai Peninsula has the honor of being Alaska's Recreational Playground when it comes to fishing and outdoors recreation. And although some excellent salmon run fisheries have now been established in the Upper Cook Inlet and Matanuska-Susitna Valley area, the Peninsula offers one thing most other areas don't quite measure up to.....LONGEVITY. For no where else in southcentral Alaska can you fish for salmon from mid-April to the 1st of October and not have one or more fisheries offering good to excellent opportunities.
The Russian River is one such Peninsula stream that has provided a food source for Alaskans for a thousand years. Archeological digs in the area of the Russian & Kenai rivers confluence show that native Alaskans used this ideal location for catching salmon for centuries. And as outsiders arrived and road access became available to this area, the newest residents of the state quickly embraced this region as one of Alaska's first Hot Spots on the recreation map.
The Russian River lies in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula, 111 road miles south of Anchorage and 40 miles east of Soldotna, in a scenic location set between two mountain ridges which contain the Kenai River drainage between Kenai & Skilak lakes. The highway has received extensive upgrades over the past several years and makes for a very pleasant drive no matter which direction you are coming from.
There are numerous streams along the way and opportunities to see wildlife such as bald eagles, moose and Dall sheep. And with the improvements at the Russian River area on its facilities and accommodations, it can easily support the huge numbers of anglers that descend upon this location from mid-June through August.
But hundreds of thousands of anglers over decades of time has taken its toll on the environment, which consequently could jeopardize the future of these outstanding sockeye salmon runs as well as other resident fish species in the area. So there have been several programs established to rehabilitate the environment along the river as well as educate users of the area.
Visitors to the Russian-Kenai River area will notice many streambank repair projects as well as areas which are currently off-limits to foot traffic while revegetation and stabilization efforts are underway. We strongly advise all users of this area to respect the existing protection zones and tread lightly on the land which is providing such an incredible resource. Your respect for the area will go a long way in preserving what we have for generations of anglers and visitors to come.