The Kenai River has three major runs of salmon that are counted by the Alaska Department of Fish And Game. Early-run King Salmon, late-run King Salmon, and late-run sockeye salmon are all counted using in river sonar to get the most accurate picture possible regarding the health of these popular and important fisheries.
Alaska Fish Counts
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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Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts
The Kenai River has two runs of king salmon that return to the Kenai River each summer. These two runs of king salmon are totally independent from one another and managed with entirely different escapement goals. However, for convenience we use the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App to view both runs at the same time as shown in the graph.
Looking at this graph is really easy to see the individual humps that represent the early-run and the late run and quickly compare the relative sizes. Clearly the late run is much larger when compared to the early run.
Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Fish Counts
The Kenai River has a single run of sockeye salmon known as the late-run Kenai river sockeye salmon. This run begins July 1st and ends around August 20th each year when the last of the Kenai River’s sockeye salmon cross the in-river sonar.
There are actually sockeye that start to come up the Kenai River through the month of June but most of these fish are targeting the Russian River and other tributaries of the Kenai River so we do not consider these salmon “Kenai River” salmon. The numbers of these early arrive sockeye are pretty small as well, only around 3,000 fish, which makes fishing for them directly on the Kenai River challenging.
July 1st, however, marks the first day of arrival of the one of the most popular fisheries in the state. Big, powerful, and arriving in numbers that can reach 150,000 in a single day, this fishery is an exciting way to spend many summer Alaska days.
Kenai River Silver Salmon Fish Counts
The Kenai River silver salmon fishery is one of the most popular fall fishing opportunities on the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai River silver salmon run is actually two different runs that look similar in nature to the Kenai River king salmon run.
The early-run Kenai River silver salmon starts around August 1st and peaks around the 3rd week of August while overlapping the Kenai River sockeye salmon also still entering the river. The late run starts around September 1st and will continue through the entire month of September peaking around the 3rd week of September.
Unfortunately, simply due to the sheer number of sockeye entering the river, among other factors, we do not have sonar quality numbers for these two Kenai River silver salmon runs.
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