Want to know the peak times of your favorite Alaska rivers and your favorite Alaska Salmon? Planning a vacation and want to time the salmon runs perfectly? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the graphs below with the beginning and end of each run labeled for easy reference. These dates are determined by averaging the last 3 years of daily fish count numbers to find the absolute peak dates for fishing those rivers.

Alaska Fish Counts

Alaska FishTopia

Want to know more about fish counts on the Kenai River and throughout Alaska? Download the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App.  All graphs and information presented on these pages are courtesy of Alaska FishTopia!

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Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times For Alaska's Most Popular Rivers

Major Alaska River And Species Fish Counts

Kenai River Chinook Salmon:       

June 1 – June 16

July 11 – July 31

 

Russian River Sockeye Salmon:   

June 14 – July 8

July 28 – Aug 24

 

Copper River Sockeye Salmon:     

May 24 – July 15

 

Nushagak River Chinook Salmon:

June 14 – June 23

 

Deshka River Chinook Salmon

June 2 – June 25

 

Anchor River Chinook Salmon:

June 5 – June 20

Kenai River Sockeye Salmon:       

July 11 – August 19

 

  

Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon:   

June 20 – Aug 15

  

Ninilchik River Chinook Salmon:

June 14 – July 26

 

Nushagak River Sockeye Salmon:

June 19 – June 24

July 3 – July 13

 

Nushagak River Coho Salmon:

July 30, Aug 7, Aug 14

 

Deshka River Chinook Salmon

June 2 – June 25

 

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Kenai River king run is divided into two independent runs.

The peak time of the early run is from June 1 to June 16 

The peak time of the late run is from July 11 to Aug 8th, however, King Salmon fishing ends on July 31st by regulation

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts
Late Run Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts

Late Run Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Kenai River sockeye salmon run is a July run on the Kenai River.

This is an incredible run of the largest sockeye salmon in the world.

The peak time of the run is from July 11 to Aug 19th. The minimum escapement goal is usually achieved by Aug 7th

Russian River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Russian River sockeye run is similar to the Kenai River chinook run in that there are two independent runs of salmon.  An early run and a late run.

 

The early run of salmon do enter the Kenai River but are primarily headed for the Russian River and other tributaries of the Kenai River.

 

The late run of sockeye on the Kenai River is extremely large and a small percentage (3.5%) of those fish go to the Russian River creating a nice second run of sockeye salmon on the Russian River.

 

The peak time of the Russian River early run is from June 14 to July 8th and the minimum escapement goal is usually achieved by June 28.

 

The peak time of the late run of the Russian River is from July 28 to August 24 and the minimum escapement goal is usually achieved by Aug 11.

Russian River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts
Kasilof River Sockeye Fish Counts Daily-Escapement

Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Time

Timing this river is really important for successful fishing. Once these fish enter the river it’s only a 16-mile journey for them to Lake Tustumena and they can reach it pretty quickly. Once they reach the lake they can be pretty hard to get so we definitely want them in the river. 

The fishing pickups up around June 22nd each year and continue to grow stronger until peaking about the 20th of July. Fishing will remain good to excellent until approximately August 11th. 

Each year the Kasilof River sockeye salmon run will typically reach its minimum escapement goal of 160,000 fish on July 10 and cross the maximum escapement goal of 390,000 fish by August 2nd. 

Anchor River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

About 45 minutes drive south of the Kenai River you’ll find the Anchor River.

King salmon begin to enter this watershed in numbers around May 28th at more than 50 chinooks per day and by June 5th those numbers have doubled to 100 per day. It will continue like this until June 20th when there is usually a small lull in the run and then a nice run of additional fish that reaches more than 175 king salmon daily. 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game escapement goal for the Anchor River chinook salmon run is usually achieved by July 4th.

Anchor River King Salmon Fish Counts
Ninilchik River King Salmon Fish Counts

Ninilchik River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Time

About 30 minutes drive south of the Kenai River you’ll find the Ninilchik River and the locally famous Ninilchik Russian Orthodox Church.

Chinook salmon begin to enter this watershed in numbers around June 14th and continue until around July 26th. The daily run of chinook salmon on this river is between 20 and 40 a day creating a great deal of variability from day to day which is why the run experiences such daily high and low swings.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does not set an escapement goal for this river.

Copper River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Copper River Sockeye runs is also one of the most impressive in the state and has about 1/2 of the total sockeye of the Kenai River. Still 800,00 sockeye a year enter this watershed making for fantastic fishing.

The Copper River sockeye run begins around May 24 when approximately 10,000 fish a day or more start entering the river. The Copper River sockeye run ends around July 15th.

The minimum escapement goal for set by ADF&G is usually achieved by July 16.

Russian River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts
Nushugak River King Salmon Fish Counts

Nushagak River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Time

The Nushagak river may be a bit difficult to get to, requiring flights into Dillingham, then boat rides to camp but it also boasts the largest run of king salmon in the state. While these fish are not as big as the Kenai kings this river sees as many as 20,000 kings in a single day!

The run starts around Jun 14th and last until June 23rd. There is another small peak afterwards continuing until around July 6th. But keep in mind, even in the “lull” between the two peaks we’re talking about 2500 king salmon a day, which is an enormous number of king salmon.

The minimum escapement goal for set by ADF&G is usually achieved by June 26th.

Nushagak River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Nushagak River sockeye run is as impressive as the Kenai River sockeye run reaching around 1.5M fish each year. What is really impressive about the Nushagak River sockeye run is how quickly it happens – 3 short weeks in a single run of fish. In 2017, more than 400,000 fish entered the river in a single day! And it was nearly that strong for several days in a row. Imagine that day of fishing! That was on July 5th if you were wondering. 

The Nushagak River sockeye run starts around June 19th and lasts until July 13th.

The minimum escapement goal for the Nushagak River sockeye run set by ADF&G is usually achieved by June 25th.

Nushugak River Sockeye Fish Counts
Nushugak River Silver Salmon Fish Counts

Nushagak River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Time

The Nushagak River Silver run is a very interesting run with 3 distinct peaks on July 30, Aug 7, and Aug 14.

Like most places in Alaska, the Nushagak River silver salmon run is a fall run starting in late July and going into early fall.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game does not set an escapement goal for this fishery.

Deshka River King Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Deshka River is a river in southern-central Alaska. The Deshka River is one of Southcentral Alaska’s premier sport fishing rivers, with significant runs of king and coho salmon, along with resident grayling, burbot, northern pike, and rainbow trout.

The Deshka River king run starts on June 2nd and goes until June 25th. At its’s peak it will see more than 800 King Salmon a day entering it’s watershed. 

The minimum escapement goal set by ADF&G for the Deshka River king run is usually achieved by July 29th.

Deshka River King Salmon Fish Counts
Nushugak River Sockeye Fish Counts

Nushagak River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts & Peak Fishing Times

The Nushagak River sockeye run is as impressive as the Kenai River sockeye run reaching around 1.5M fish each year. What is really impressive about the Nushagak River sockeye run is how quickly it happens – 3 short weeks in a single run of fish. In 2017, more than 400,000 fish entered the river in a single day! And it was nearly that strong for several days in a row. Imagine that day of fishing! That was on July 5th if you were wondering. 

The Nushagak River sockeye run starts around June 19th and lasts until July 13th.

The minimum escapement goal for the Nushagak River sockeye run set by ADF&G is usually achieved by June 25th.

Kenai Peninsula Fish Counts

Want to know more about the fish counts on the Kenai Peninsula? Follow the links below to learn about the fish counts and when to fish all of the Kenai Peninsula’s major rivers and salmon species.  Kenai River King Salmon (early run / late run), Kenai River Sockeye Run, Russian River Sockeye (early-late), Anchor River Chinook, Ninilchik River Chinook, Deep Creek Chinook

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts

Kenai River Sockeye Salmon
Fish Counts

Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon
Fish Counts

Kasilof River King Salmon Fish Counts

Russian River Sockeye Salmon
Fish Counts

Anchor River King Salmon
Fish Counts

Nilnilchik River King Salmon Fish Counts

Deep Creek River King Salmon
Fish Counts