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Thread: Best 1 day float trip Kenai Peninsula for silvers or reds?

  1. #1
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    Default Best 1 day float trip Kenai Peninsula for silvers or reds?

    Hi all,
    Our family (with our 4 boys 12-18) will be coming up Aug 12-18th for our first RV trip to the Kenai Pen. Bringing an inflatable kayak and inflatable canoe and would appreciate additional suggestions for good 1 day float trips (Class I water) with the best chance to catch silvers, reds, or rainbows.

    We're thinking of floating either the:
    -Upper Kenai from Sportman's to Jim's Landing
    -Lower Kenai from Skilak to Bing's
    -Kasilof River
    -Swanson River

    Which would you suggest? Also, where do we put in and take out for the Kasilof and Swanson Rivers?

    Also any suggestions for the best way to get back to the put in locations? Shuttles or cab service?

    Thanks!
    Gary

  2. #2
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    Athough techincally class I water ... the Kasilof rages along in that timeframe and might not be the best bet unless you have plenty of experience ine the small craft ...

    Even then, it's probably not your best fishing option unless you're familiar with it. The Swanson might be a good bet though as you can stop and fish about anywhere

  3. #3

    Default Float Trip

    I agree with Bob on the Swanson, however to do that in 1 day with a rigid canoe doesn't leave much time for fishing, and because it is smaller, makes navigation a bit of a challenge at times as well (i.e. rocks and logs around a corner without much time to react).

    2 Days would be much more comfortable.

    The Kenai is much bigger, and faster in many places, but the stretches that are suggested can easily be done in 1 day. Expect to have plenty of company however. Especially from Sportsman's to Jims. Also, watch for bears who love to chew on unattended things, like rafts, canoes and kayaks.

    Skilak to Bings is also another great spot to fish, again, will be crowded and is approved for powered boats. So, though the river is very docile, the traffic may not be.

    The Kasilof from Tustemena Lake to the Bridge may have less crowds and be great for fishing, however I again agree with Bob in that it will be moving right along with lots of things to bounce off of.. in other words, it is possible and practical, but not necessarily for the novice.

    Hope that helps,

    Good luck

  4. #4
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    here's my .02 on each spot you mentioned.

    Kasilof - wouldn't do the upper stretch w/o knowing it, although it's a nice trip... the water can be a little tricky in a canoe if it's high at all, so i'd stay away from there. the lower stretch has good silver fishing during that time usually, and the water is much more canoe friendly.

    Kenai (upper) - good bet for trout fishing, but once again, w/o any experience up there, I would probably stay away from there as well because one flip over in that water could spell serious trouble.

    Kenai (middle) - also a pretty good bet for trout, and a decent shot at silvers as well... it's a long day from the lake to Bing's Landing, but can be done w/o a problem. The water is a bit easier to handle than the upper in a canoe for someone w/o experince. You can see everything coming from a long ways away and easily avoid any problems.

    Swanson - can be dynamite for silver fishing in the lower river and small rainbows in the upper and middle parts, but it's simply too long for a day trip w/ fishing. It's about 50 miles of small, slow water and requires lots of paddling to gain headway. If you started early in the morning you could expect to have a very rigorous day of paddling in order to make it to N. Kenai before dark. If you have a tent and want to camp this is a great overnight trip, but this requires supplies, bear protection, time, etc...

    the last thing I want to remind you of is to be extremely careful!!! hearing about tourists (no offense) coming to paddle the kenai in an inflatable canoe scares me a bit... just don't get in over your head because one mistake has the potential to be tragic.
    on that note... good luck

    Mark W.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice!

    The Swanson sounds like a great suggestion, but I don't want an overnight trip. Are there any locations on the Swanson where you can put in and take out for a 4-8 hour day trip?

  6. #6

    Default Swanson

    NOPE!!! Once you put in out of Sterling, the swanson will go under a bridge for an oil service road within an hour or so (no public access) and then you won't see another road until you get to the Captain Cook campgroud in Nikiski (comfortable 2 day trip). Moose River is a several day trip also without access.

    Now, there are an abundance of lakes with road access and great trout fishing on the Swanson River Canoe System (lakes with portages (mostly dry) connecting). Do a google search for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Canoe Trails or Swanson River Canoe Trails.

  7. #7
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    I studied Google Earth and found that a 25 mile trip begins at the end of the road at the oil/gas well field. Since I haven't driven out there yet, I can't offer much more than I did here. 25 miles can easily be done in a day...a long day.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  8. #8

    Default Easy???

    Ripface,

    I must disagree with you in regards to the Swanson. 25 miles of a normal flowing, average sized river could be covered in a long, difficult day of paddling... But the Swanson, for the first 10 miles +/- is full of vegetation that drastically slows progress. And then considering inflatables, I believe that it would be even more difficult to cover the distance "easy" in a day.

    It isn't until you get about 1/2 way, (a good campsite by the way) that the river really begins to flow with any kind of volume and has any consistent depth.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    Ripface,

    I must disagree with you in regards to the Swanson. 25 miles of a normal flowing, average sized river could be covered in a long, difficult day of paddling... But the Swanson, for the first 10 miles +/- is full of vegetation that drastically slows progress. And then considering inflatables, I believe that it would be even more difficult to cover the distance "easy" in a day.

    It isn't until you get about 1/2 way, (a good campsite by the way) that the river really begins to flow with any kind of volume and has any consistent depth.
    Not to mention that you want to be fishing a significant portion of the way. Yeah, the Swanson is a great float, but not for someone who wants to do it in 8 to 10 hours PLUS fish. Simply put, it's not going to happen.

  10. #10
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    If Kenai peninsula isn't a must. Little Willow will have silvers then and is a safe 3 to 4 hour float, leaving alot of fishing time.

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