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Thread: Kasilof vs. Kenai

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    Default Kasilof vs. Kenai

    Booked my first trip to Alaska for beginning of June! We were planning on doing the Kasilof for 3 days, then halibut for 1 day, but after taking to some locals who go there frequently, they have me thinking about a day or so on the Kenai. What are the major differences in the two rivers in the beginning of June? From what I can tell, the Kenia has a ton more regulations in place durring that time, making it a little harder to do anything. Also, outside of the fishing, which river has the best wildlife/scenery? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    There is no comparison in regard to scenery- the Kenai is a beautiful river.

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    If it were me I would do 2 days on the Kasilof and add 1 day on the Kenai. The Kenai has more regulations during that time but it doesn't make it unfishable. If your goal is to catch a large king your chances on the Kenai are much better. If your goal is to catch numbers of kings than the Kasilof is a better bet. Keep in mind which days you chose to fish the Kasilof. There are days you can keep wild salmon and there are days when you can only keep hatchery salmon. You should also keep in mind which days you plan a guided Kenai trip. The Kenai is closed to guided angling on Sundays and Mondays (except Memorial Day). As far as comparing the experience is concerned, Kasilof will most likely be busier (especially if the Kenai is muddy) but it will be drift boat fishing only. It's kind of nice not listening to motors running up and down the river all day long. That being said, it's kind of nice to have mobility in a power boat (Kenai) and be able to work a lot of water. No matter what you ultimately decide to do you're going to have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcman View Post
    As far as comparing the experience is concerned, Kasilof will most likely be busier (especially if the Kenai is muddy) but it will be drift boat fishing only.
    Why on earth would you say that? You make it sound like you can only fish the Kasilof from a drift boat. I can't count the kings I have caught from the bank over the years......

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    Kasilof has less people, less water for the fish to escape, and you don't have the motor boats. Piece and quiet and good fishing. If you have not done the Kenai before. Spend at least one day on the Kenai and 2 on the Kasilof.

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    Depending on the day you fish the Kenai can be an absolute nut house. I love fishing there but it can get so crazy. I went out on a few days last year and there were so many boats in certain sections of the river you could barely move it was a little ridiculous. Kasilof is beautiful as well and a lot less crowded plus like 4merguide said you can bank fish there and depending on when you come there will be kings and reds in there easier to catch from the bank.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    If you'll still be here on June 10th do the UPPER Kenai for Rainbows. You will be blown away with the scenery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Why on earth would you say that? You make it sound like you can only fish the Kasilof from a drift boat. I can't count the kings I have caught from the bank over the years......
    Well, when someone says they booked their first trip to Alaska and also asked on a previous thread about guides I assumed they were looking for information about fishing from a boat (with a guide) and not from the bank. I too have caught plenty of kings from the bank on the Kasilof and on the Kenai and will gladly share information about that if I thought that is what he wanted to know. Maybe my assumption is wrong. How about it wdeaton? Are you interested in bank fishing on either river?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcman View Post
    Well, when someone says they booked their first trip to Alaska and also asked on a previous thread about guides I assumed they were looking for information about fishing from a boat (with a guide) and not from the bank. I too have caught plenty of kings from the bank on the Kasilof and on the Kenai and will gladly share information about that if I thought that is what he wanted to know. Maybe my assumption is wrong. How about it wdeaton? Are you interested in bank fishing on either river?
    You're right...he did say "booked" which I guess slipped by me. It's just that the way you said "drift boat only" it made me think you were almost saying no bank fishing allowed. Where in hind site you were probably only saying...no power boats. My mistake....

    But to the op.......It really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a chance at a really BIG king then the Kenai is what you should target. Kasilof kings on average are smaller. Not to say you can't catch a 50 pounder + on the Kasilof, but you have more of a chance (if you can find the room) of hooking into a bigger King on the Kenai. Besides, they only allow you to keep native kings on certain days of the week on the Kasilof, and the native kings are usually the bigger fish.

    The Kenai is a phenomenal river and I love it dearly. But the last time I was out in a boat on it, it only confirmed why I don't go out on a boat on it anymore. A madhouse is an understatement, and it saddens me greatly. If we could get these out of state guides out of here it would help a lot. But they won't because it's all a BIG money thing for the state....

  10. #10

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    Roland is right, skip the Kenai for ER Kings and go on an upper river Rainbow trip if you are still here after June 10. The Kenai early run is on its ass and everybody knows it. Property owners and local fishermen in the middle river are hardly seeing any spawners rolling in their typical holes anymore and USF&W weir studies on the Funny R. tributary show steady declines over the last five years from around 3,600 fish passing their weir five years ago to 900 in 2011. The only reason the fishery is still open is because ADF&G applies voodoo science after the season so that they can say they are making their escapements so as to not burden the tourism and guide industries. Sorry to say but it's still all about money and politics.

    Anyway, I think you would really enjoy your trip allot better if you concentrated on the Kasilof and the upper Kenai. Enjoy Alaska, it's a great place with great people.

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    What about April 10th-ish on the upper kenai for rainbows? Can one walk or is access and ice too much an issue? Been too many places that a walk and wade guide was just kinda silly given the ease of access and quality of water/fish... Then again most of thos lower 48 spots don't have hungry furry things that just woke up from a long nap. I'm pretty set up with gear, just trying to figure out if I can enjoy a day of hooking big rainbows by just showing up. Did that in Juneau road system and jus slayed em (and saved myself $600).
    I'd appreciate any advice.

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    Upper Kenai is closed until mid June.

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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    Kaveman, are there any days of the week or times of the year that a motor boat is allowed on the Kasilof? Just wondering as I used to take a Klamath (open skiff, with a 35 horse yamaha) on that river but that was many moons ago. I got a small as jetboat now and would love to get back on that river... as was stated previously, it is a butiful river...thanx... "fishon"


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaveman View Post
    Kasilof has less people, less water for the fish to escape, and you don't have the motor boats. Piece and quiet and good fishing. If you have not done the Kenai before. Spend at least one day on the Kenai and 2 on the Kasilof.
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    Kasilof is float only until you get down real close to the mouth. I don't remember the RM exactly - but after that last corner you can motor down to the takeout.

    You can definately fish the upper kenai rainbow from shore, but any kind of float boat is THE way to go. One man cats will cost you about the same as a charter for 1 day and you can use it all season.

    I have yet to go through the canyon - not doable by foot (well - not readily doable in a day) - but that is definately on my list....I just need to find someone to pick us up at the bottom with my zodiac.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    Upper Kenai is closed until mid June.
    Am I reading the Regs incorrectly? This say June 11 - May 1....so April open...not planning to retain any fish either

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...egulations.pdf
    Page 46

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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    Riton! Riton!... thanx for letting me know... "fishon"


    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Kasilof is float only until you get down real close to the mouth. I don't remember the RM exactly - but after that last corner you can motor down to the takeout.

    You can definately fish the upper kenai rainbow from shore, but any kind of float boat is THE way to go. One man cats will cost you about the same as a charter for 1 day and you can use it all season.

    I have yet to go through the canyon - not doable by foot (well - not readily doable in a day) - but that is definately on my list....I just need to find someone to pick us up at the bottom with my zodiac.....
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboatman View Post
    Am I reading the Regs incorrectly? This say June 11 - May 1....so April open...not planning to retain any fish either

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...egulations.pdf
    Page 46
    You are correct that the Kenai river is open to fishing till May 1 closed till-June11

  18. #18

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    If you have already booked your trip then i am posting too late but I would suggest you book your trip with one of the non road accessible lodges in the state and forget about the Kenai or Kasilof. These rivers are over exploited but one advantage they do have is they are close to Mcdonalds in case you have a big mac attack.

  19. #19

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    Not to hijack the thread or anything, but I'd love to hear more from you all that do shore fishing on the Kasilof for kings...We were down there last year and will be there this year (lookin like a sweet yearly trip)! I'm looking for advise on tips and techniques. After having one 40lb fish caught in a boat last year, I could imagine the rush of a good fish from shore!

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    I've got a fishing trip to the Kenai booked from June 23 to 30th which includes 2 days of guided fishing from a boat on the Kenai, and Kasilof rivers plus one day fishing for halibut. The rest of the time, outside of some combat fishing for sockeyes on the Russian, is up for grabs. What I am more interested in is shore fishing for Kings on the Kasilof or Kenai rivers. More interested in numbers rather than size and would appreciate any info. on best rod reel combo to use and what lure/tackle to use. I am a Centre Pin fisher at heart but don't know if it would be a waste of time to bring my equipment along. Any recommendations would be most appreciated.

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