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Thread: Salmon fishing in the Kenai Pennisula

  1. #1

    Default Salmon fishing in the Kenai Pennisula

    Being from Montana and heading to the Kenai Pennisula at the end of June, can someone tell me what my chances are to catch a salmon of any kind. This will probably be a once in a lifetime trip for me and I want to do all I can to ensure a memorable experience. Any tips for success??

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If you just want to catch a salmon, I'd head to the Russian River for red (sockeye) salmon. A lot of people will tell you that the Russian is a combat fishing zoo, but it doesn't have to be. If you park up at the campground (I prefer the Pink Salmon parking lot) and hike upstream 30-45 minutes, you can largely get away from the crowds. By late June the first run will have filled the river, so you should have a good chance at catching 3 reds (the limit). Look in the archives of the old forum. There is loads of information regarding gear, techniques, etc.

    If you're willing to pay for a guide, there should be some good King salmon fishing on the Peninsula at that time too, but reds on the Russian is the way to go if you're self-guided and just want to catch some fish.

    -Brian

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    Default Sockeyes

    fishwench - B_M is right on the money. Hike up the Russian and get away from most of the people. There will be "Red" sockeyes all over. You want to catch the "Silver" sockeyes. It is great!! The people will be very helpful if you have questions. Expect people to fish a lot closer to you than they would in Montana. Have a great time

  4. #4

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    Thats the lure of fishing the Kenai, combat fishing and bears!! Heck, I don't let the amount of people get to me, once I find a spot then I am set for the day or until i catch my limit, whichever comes first! If you fish below the Russian your chances of catching bright reds are much better than up the Russian, at least in my opnion anyways!! Good luck!!

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default How To Get There

    I Am Going To Be Down In Seward For The Last Week Of June. The Red Fishing Sound Good. What Type Of Flies Would You Reccommend. Could Someone Tell Me How To Get There From Seward. I Know I Go Up And Turn Toward Soldotna. But Thats All I Know About The Area. Exactly Where Could I Go And Park And Where To Hike Etc... Any Info Would Be Greatly Appreciated. I Have A King Trip Booked On The Kasilof And We Are Going Out Of Seward For Halibut One Day. But I Really Wanted To Get Something On My Fly Rod While There. Any Info Would Be Most Greatly Appreciated.
    Dan

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    Default The Russian or Kenai

    When you drive from Seward to the Kasilof you will drive along the Kenai River. There are many pull outs you can stop and fish. You will also drive right past the Russian River Campground and the Ferry. You can take the Ferry across the Kenai to the Russian or park in the campground and walk down to the Russian. Watch the people there and ask questions. Most people are there to have a good time and are glad to help. Alaskans are really friendly people. Have a great time.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    After you turn towards Kenai you'll drive through a flat windy area for a few miles, then along the shore of Kenai Lake for a few more. After you cross the bridge at the mouth of the Kenai River you'll be in Cooper Landing. There are a few businesses here and there (Gwin's Lodge has great burgers!). Once you get past Cooper Landing look for the Russian River Campground pullout on your left. You'll have to pay $6 for a 12-hour parking spot. I would suggest parking in either the Pink Salmon parking lot or the Upper Trailhead lot. You can request either when you pay your fee, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

    If you park in the Pink Salmon lot I would suggest walking to the left (upstream) through the Red Salmon campground. On the far side of the Red Salmon campground you'll find a trail that winds through the woods and takes you down to the river. You can go straight down to the river from the Parking area, but the other route is a faster way to get further upstream. Once you hit the stream I would immediately start walking upstream 30 minutes or so. You may find great holes on the way up, but there are two reasons I go way upstream. First, there are fewer people as you walk farther. Second, just a little ways upstream the river narrows. This causes faster currents, and thus makes it harder to hook and land fish. A few miles upstream it widens out a bit more and there are some great holes to fish. If you have polarized glasses (or just good fish-vision) you should be able to see them laying in the holes.

    If you park at the Upper Trailhead lot there is a great, easy trail that will take you 3 miles up to the falls. You have to be 300 yards downstream from the falls to fish, so there is a little bit of backtracking here, but overall it takes less time to walk this route. It's not as pretty, as you're not along the river until the end, but it's more efficient.

    As for flies, you don't need anything special. Coho flies that are available at any supermarket/tackle store are the norm. Reds don't really strike flies (yes, there is some debate on this), so it's usually just an issue of putting the fly in their mouth. As someone else said, watch what others are doing, especially those who seem to be hooking a lot of fish. Basically you'll just cast your fly (lightly weighted - I prefer a small splitshot or two placed 18 inches above the fly) upstream from the fish. Let it bounce along the bottom towards the fish and wait for it to stop. If you notice the bouncing stop, try setting the hook...you just might have one. On this note, a bright fly may be nice, as you can track it more easily through the water and see how it interacts with the fish.

    Let us know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

    -Brian

  8. #8

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    Thank you for all the great suggestions!

  9. #9

    Default another option...

    If you don't like combat, and it is that at the Russian/kenai confluence, try any of the trails off Skilak Lake road. They are pleasant short hikes and it is possible to have a piece of the Kenai to yourself! Be forwarned though, it is bear country. No big deal, just make lots of noise and stay alert!

  10. #10

    Default One more option....

    After rereading your post I would suggest heading to Hope and fish either the 6 mile or Resurection Creek, not near the crowds, lots of pinks, some chums, maybe even a red or two and it is not totaly out of the realm of seeing a king. Hope is a touch of "real" Alaska and though it is off the radar well worth the few miles drive to get there. The Kenai Peninsula offers much more than just the Kenai river!

  11. #11
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but isn't it illegal to catch kings in Resurrection Creek? I know they nailed a couple of people for doing just that two years ago. True, you can "see" them, but I wouldn't try catching them!

    The idea about hiking out to the Kenai is good, as is fishing in Hope. Pinks aren't nearly as good table fare, but they're fun to catch. Not quite the same fight, though. The problem is, however, the dates you've chosen. Late June is too early for Pinks or Chums in Hope. That's why I suggested the Russian. You don't need to worry about crazy combat fishing, as long as you hike way upstream away from the confluence. Whenever I suggest the Russian someone will invariably say it's just combat fishing, but you can find some degree of solitude there.

    -Brian

  12. #12

    Default Checking the regs... and timing

    I did say "see a king" in Resurection Creek not catch one! Order a copy of the applicable regulations and study them...they are complicated and change from river to river and even several times while fishing the same river...then there are the emergency orders...whew. The pink run doesn't start untill July at Hope, I stand corrected however I failed at making my point that there are alternatives to the all-to-crowded-for-me Russian/Kenai confluence. My one and only visit there was not a positive one and I will NEVER waste my valuable/limited fishing time there again. After parking our motorhome at our reserved site we cooked our dinner, cleaned up our campsite of the litter that had been left by previous users then headed for the confluence. After the 30 minute hike we arrived at the confluence, rigged our fly rods and waded across the Russian to the gravel bar that had just been vacated. I had my two oldest grandsons with me, my son had the youngest one with him. My grandsons and I were standing no more than six feet from each other when some inconsiderate individual crowded between us. The next thing I knew I was picking a fly out of my grandson's scalp. After a few terse words I gathered our gear and departed from the mob scene. With all three grandsons in tow we went back to the mh leaving my son to have some time for himself which he spent hiking up the Russian. When we arrived at the campsite we were greeted by our next door nieghbor with his digital camera to show us the pictures he took of the large black bear that ransacked our camp. (No, we had no food out...and yes we had left it clean and orderly) A couple of hours later my son returned to camp with an even more eventful story to tell. Hiking up the Russian he encountered two men comming down the trail. They warned him of a large grizzly with three cubs no too far away. My son had a .45 back in the camper which he regretted not strapping on but decided to proceed anyway. He said he thought he was making plenty of noise but as he came around a brushy area there was momma and the kids. She rushed him stopping thirty or so feet away, he backed out and made a hasty retreat back to the trail that would take him to the campsite. This incident took place just two days before she was shot! The following day we opted for plan "B" and that was to hike into the Kenai from a trailhead off Skilak Lake road. A lovely hike, 2 miles or so, no bears (although plenty of sign) and the best thing was when we got to the river the only other people we saw all day were a few passing by in drift boats or catarafts. We caught fish too!

  13. #13
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Sounds like the hike in from Skilak road was a great way to go! The only thing I was trying to point out in my original post is that the Russian can be great and not overly crowded if you hike way upstream. I agree whole-heartedly that the confluence is a zoo. I haven't fished the confluence in at least 10 years, though I still hit the upper stretches of the Russian 5-6 times every summer. I just love that stream - amazingly productive and fantastic setting. There are bears, yes, but no more than other productive streams. Some of the are getting a little too used to people, though, especially those who leave fish and backpacks within easy reach.

    -Brian

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