The Kenai River contains 40 different species of fish, both freshwater and those that are “ana-dromous,” with part of their lives spent in saltwater ocean and part in the freshwater river. The Kenai River is popular with fishermen due to the huge variety of species available, but some regulations apply. So when you’re planning to fish the Kenai River, make sure to pick up the free Southcentral Alaska regulation summary booklet, which are available in shops or stations where sport fishing licenses are sold. Fish found in the Kenai river include King Salmon (Chinook), Red Salmon (Sockeye), Silver Salmon (Coho), Pink Salmon (Humpbacks), Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden and Lake Trout.
There are 82 miles of flowing water that makes up the Kenai River. King Salmon are prevalent in May. They are best caught from a boat in the center of the river. While found throughout the Kenai River, they are most abundant in the Lower Kenai which zigzags west from Soldotna bridge to the mouth of the Kenai River at Cook Inlet.
The Upper Kenai is considered the most productive sockeye fishery. In June and July, nearly 700,000 sockeyes migrate upstream. The silver salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden pass through the middle and lower Kenai in August and September. The Upper Kenai is also know for producing trophy size rainbow trout and as the premier area for fly fishing.
With two miles of whitewater, experienced anglers get their thrills in the Kenai Canyon. If you are not familiar with this section of the river, it is recommended that you fish with a guide.
There are several public campgrounds, plus accommodations and supplies located at access points all along the Kenai River. For a complete list of Kenai River access points review Kenai River Fishing Spots and Access Points guide.
Fishing reports are available weekly by phone at (907) 267-2510 or online at www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us. Click on “Regulations” to find the free booklet mentioned above. This will answer all the important questions about fishing the Kenai River.