Kenai River king salmon, also known as Chinook, are the largest of their kind, and have made the Kenai River a world-famous destination to land one of these massive fish! Kings range in size from 25 to over 80 pounds! The Kenai River king salmon run is divided into two runs. The first run of king salmon fishing starts from May through the end of June, here is Alaska. The second run, often containing some of the biggest fish of the season, arrives at the beginning of July. King salmon season closes on July 31st every year. We use boats to target king salmon and employ a wide range of techniques based on decades of Kenai River guiding experience.
RED SALMON FISHING (SOCKEYE)
Kenai River sockeye salmon, also known as reds, flood the river in numbers that range from 500,000 and 1.5 million fish each summer! Sockeye salmon typically weigh 6-10 pounds, and most consider sockeye to be the best eating of all the salmon species. Their rich, bright red flesh is the ultimate reward to landing these vigorous-fighting salmon. Sockeye pulse into the river in two runs, the first typically coming through Alaska in mid-June to mid-July, and second stronger pulse arriving mid-July through early August. At Big Sky, we target sockeye both from boats and from shore. Often, we travel to quiet stream banks where our clients will use conventional rods and reels or fly rods to hone in on sockeye as they swim by.
SILVER SALMON FISHINGS (COHO)
Kenai River silver salmon, also known as coho, are furious and aggressive fighters! Kenai River silvers typically start to arrive in late July, with the thick of the run arriving in mid-August. A lesser-known second run of Kenai River silvers arrives in September and will continue through early fall. Kenai River silvers range in weight from 6-15 pounds and fight with every ounce. Silvers feed voraciously in the ocean and never lose their instinct to attack potential prey, making them an exciting fish to target. We target silver salmon from boats so we can access their favorite hideouts.
RAINBOW TROUT AND DOLLY VARDEN FISHING
The Kenai River is world famous for its large, residential rainbow trout, known for their strong runs and acrobatics. They are caught with regularity in the 25 to 30-inch range. Rainbows are targeted throughout the summer with fly or spinning tackle, from a power boat or drift boat. The Kenai River is also home to a healthy population of Dolly Varden, which are also targeted using the same methods as trout. We strongly promote “catch and release” of Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden.