Kenai River Guided Fishing

Just looking at all the available Kenai River guided fishing trips shown below should give you an indication of why the Kenai River has a reputation for being one of the most exciting sport fisheries in the world. The Kenai River consists of 82 miles of pristine glacier-fed river, divided into 3 distinct sections (Upper, Middle, and Lower), and meanders through the Chugach National Forest as well as the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. If the beautiful scenery wasn’t enough, now we can throw in the fact that the Kenai River boasts some of the largest runs of king salmon, silver salmon, sockeye salmon, and pink salmon. Oh, and it that wasn’t enough, it’s also the current, long-time world record holder for both king salmon and sockeye salmon. Did we mention it has an incredible trophy trout fishery every fall? This is why the Kenai River is legendary, and why we can’t imagine spending our summers anywhere else but the Kenai Peninsula. 

Kenai River King Salmon Fishing

May 15 - July 31

Kenai River Sockeye Fishing

July 1 - Aug 20

Kenai River Silver Salmon Fishing

Aug 1 - Sep 30

Kenai River Combo Fishing
King & Sockeye

Aug 1 - Sep 30

Kenai River Combo Fishing
Sockeye & Silver

Aug 1 - Sep 30

Kenai River Trout Fishing

July 1 - July 31
Aug 1 - Aug 20

Kenai River King Salmon

Kenai River King Salmon Fishing

May 15 - July 31

We do most of our Kenai River king salmon fishing on the lower Kenai River and middle Kenai River. There are a few reasons for this. First, the water speed, and underwater topography make for really great action on our lures and plugs. Second, It’s estimated that almost 70% of the entire late king salmon run spawn between river mile 10 and river mile 30. And, regardless of where those king salmon are headed, they all have to pass through the lower Kenai River & middle Kenai River. It’s probably a pretty good idea to spend our time where fish are!

When fishing for Kenai River king salmon we use a combination of techniques that include back-trolling kwikfish and spin-n-glo lures. When bait is allowed we’ll wrap the kwikfish with sardines and scents. To the spin-n-glo lures we’ll add cured salmon eggs. We will also sometimes back bounce eggs if bait is allowed as well. It’s estimated that the catch rate goes up by more than 2X when bait is allowed.

Kenai River Silver Salmon Fishing

Aug 1 - Sept 30

We use a lot of the same Kenai River king salmon techniques when we target Kenai River silver salmon. Kwikfish wrapped with sardine bait, spin-n-glo lures with eggs, and back-bouncing eggs are all used to target Kenai River silver salmon. Kenai River silver salmon are not typically quite as deep and not quite as far out into the middle of the river as the king salmon. For this reason, we are often fishing in shallower, slower-moving water for Kenai River silver salmon. This makes using traditional spinning rods and reels and fishing from the bank effective as well.

Kenai River silver salmon fishing begins around August 1st. We’ll typically catch our first few silver salmon of the year while we’re fishing for sockeye salmon and king salmon. Kenai River king salmon will continue to enter the river until around August 15-20, but Kenai River king salmon fishing ends by regulation on July 31st each year.

Kevin Chavira Kenai River Silver Salmon
Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Stringer

Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Fishing

July 1 - Aug 20

Kenai River sockeye salmon fishing begins officially on July 1st. This will continue to build in strength, peaking sometime in the third week of July, but continuing through most of the month of August. Fishing is typically pretty good up until around August 15th but some years the run can run well past August 20th.

Sockeye salmon fishing can be incredibly exciting. Aside from Kenai River pink salmon which enter the river only on even-numbered years, sockeye are the most abundant fish in the Kenai River. There are days when the daily fish counts exceed 150,000 in a single day. They can sometimes enter the river in these numbers for days on end. When this happens it’s not uncommon to have limits for everyone in a matter of minutes. 

Sockeye salmon primarily eat zooplankton (small floating animals) and amphipods, and insects. They are the hunters the king salmon and silver salmon are and perhaps this explains their amazing reluctance to strike a lure. For this reason, we use a special technique called “flossing” as we target this fish. You can check out How To Floss For Kenai River Sockeye Salmon if you’d like to learn more. Or, just click that button below and we’ll teach you all about it right on the river!

Kenai River Combo King/Sockeye Salmon Fishing

July 1 - July 31

There are a few weeks each year when we are able to do combo Kenai River king salmon and Kenai River Sockeye salmon fishing on the same day. It begins when both Kenai river kings and sockeye start entering the river and ends on July 31st when king fishing ends by regulation. 

The peak time to engage in this fishery is between July 15 and July 31st. The Kenai River king salmon run will peak each year around July 21st and the Kenai River sockeye salmon run will peak each year around August 4th. However, Kenai River sockeye salmon fishing is usually excellent starting around July 20th.

Kenai River & Kasilof River King-Silver-Sockeye Run Timing
Kenai River Late Sockeye Run

Kenai River Combo Silver/Sockeye Salmon Fishing

Aug 1 - Aug 20

There are a few weeks each year when we are able to target both Kenai River silver salmon and Kenai River sockeye salmon on the same day. 

When the Kenai River king salmon fishing ends on July 31st we can shift our attention to the Kenai River silver salmon starting to enter the river. There are still quite a few Kenai River king salmon entering the river and not very many silvers so it’s still possible to catch a king salmon but the goal is to avoid this fish and get the silvers. The Kenai River silver salmon is actually two distinct runs. The early run peaks in mid to late August and the late run peaks around mid to late September. 

On our combo Kenai River silver salmon and Kenai River sockeye salmon fishing trips we are fishing the declining side of the sockeye run. Some years this run can stay strong well past August 20th and other years it may end a week earlier. We can typically fish silver/sockeye combo trips consistently each year until August 20h and then we focus purely on silver salmon and rainbow trout.

Limits for this fishery, before August 31st, are 3 fish per person per day but only 2 can be Kenai River silver salmon. After August 31st, the limit becomes 3 silver salmon per day. 

Book Your Kenai River Guided Fishing Trips Online