Trophy King Salmon Fishing

The Kenai River boasts major runs of four Pacific salmon species – king, red, silver and pink – in addition to trophy-sized rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. Kenai River kings, or Chinook salmon, are among the largest North Pacific salmon, often weighing from 50 to over 85 pounds. The Kenai provides anglers an 80 day window to catch Alaska’s largest freshwater fish, the king salmon. It is important to remember that the Kenai is not known for producing daily limits or extraordinary numbers of kings. In fact many other rivers in Alaska surpass the Kenai in sheer numbers of king salmon. The Kenai is a trophy river. It holds the largest STRAIN of king salmon in the world with the average fish weighing 35-40 lbs. King salmon over fifty pounds are actually common, and nine out of the ten largest kings EVER CAUGHT were taken from the Kenai River. The world record was set here in May 1985 with a Kenai king that weighed 97lbs caught by the late Les Anderson.

  • ex_2-min
  • ex_1-min
  • ex_3-min
  • ex_4-min

We also fish the Kasilof River, this is a drift boat only fishery. The Kasilof is 12 miles to the south and flows from glacier fed Tustamena Lake. It is a peaceful float drift down a pristine river filled with lots of fishing action. Bait is also allowed in this fishery. Multiple hook-ups are frequent. This a great fishing experience on Sundays and Mondays when the Kenai River is closed to guided anglers.

May-June Early Run

The Kenai and the Kasilof each have two annual runs of king salmon. The Kenai run begins in May and lasts until the end of June. The size of this run is smaller than the second run but with fewer anglers and boats on the river. The early run on the Kenai also coincides with the early run of both hatchery and wild king salmon on the Kasilof River and these two fisheries make both May and June a great time to visit. The experience can be more pleasant due to less traffic on the river. The low level of the Kenai river during this period, concentrates the fish in the deep holes. This run usually peaks during the middle of June but remains strong in daily counts until the second run of kings that begin to appear at the end of June.

Kenai Early Run

Season: May 15 – June 30
Regulations: Single Hook with no bait. Fish in the 44-55 inch category must be released. One fish per day, two fish per year. No fishing after retention. Closed to guided fishing on Sunday and Mondays.

Kasilof Early Run

Season: May 15 – June 30