No vacation to Alaska would really be complete without enjoying Alaska salmon fishing. Salmon are just one of the many species of fish you can target on your Alaska fishing vacation. Summer in Alaska always means huge numbers of migrating salmon in search of their native streams. Alaska is native to all 5 species of salmon and millions of them are targeting the fertile rivers of the Kenai Peninsula. King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, and Pink salmon all make their way to these rivers in what is sure to be the largest migration on earth.
The migration begins in Mid-May and continues until the end of September. Kings, sockeye, and silver all have two distinct runs through the summer peaking at different times so planning your trip to coincide with the peak of the salmon runs you are interested in is important for success. Pink Salmon have a single run but only occurs during the even-numbered years.
Check out the summaries below for more details on each of these fisheries and click on each section to get a detailed explanation of this fishery, how we fish it, where we fish it, and what you can expect on your trip.
When it comes to Alaska salmon fishing it’s likely the might Kenai River king salmon that first comes to mind. King salmon start to arrive in mid-May and continue until about mid-August but King Salmon fishing ends by state regulation on July 31st. We fish primarily the Kenai River and the Kasilof River for these kings.
There are two distinct runs of these salmon that come up both the Kasilof and the Kenai River. The early run is from May 15 – June 30 and the late run is from July 1 – August 15.
Silver salmon fishing is one of the most relaxing of our Alaska salmon fishing adventures and one of the reasons anglers return back to the Kenai peninsula every fall. We fish for Silver salmon on both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers starting in early August and continues into late September. Significantly bigger than sockeye and high daily numbers than king salmon these are phenomenally strong fighters and very acrobatic.
Silver salmon fishing is very relaxing as, unlike the sockeye, we will typically fish for these fish on anchor from our boat leaving anchor. Beautiful fall weather is an incredible experience on the Kenai and this is usually a very consistent fishery year over year.
We also target silvers on many of our fly-out fishing trips to the west side of Cook Inlet from late July through September and often combine these trips with our bear viewing and scenic glacier flights on the return.
Sockeye salmon fishing is one of the highlights of all our guests when it comes to Alaska salmon fishing. Sockeye salmon will return the Kenai Peninsula from around late May to mid-August and can be found in nearly every river on the peninsula. They arrive in huge numbers on Kenai, Kasilof, and Russian Rivers.
The Kenai River has two runs of sockeye with the early run beginning in late May and continuing until June 30th with most of these fish swimming up the Kenai River and targeting the Russian River nearly 70 river miles upstream. The late run starts July 1st and will continue until around August 15th and these fish can number into more than 100,000 coming up the river daily at peak times!
The second run of sockeye salmon are several pounds larger than the first run and the number of fish entering the river is significantly higher. These fish are easily targeted right from our banks just steps away from your lodging. This is a very popular time of the year to fish the Kenai Peninsula and there is action everywhere.
Pink salmon only return to the Kenai River on even-numbered years and when they show up they do so by the millions. On the even-numbered years, they will start to arrive in late July and will continue into early September. These fish are incredibly aggressive and will strike nearly anything put in front of them. Weighing around 8-10 lbs on average it’s pretty much non-stop action once they arrive with annual limits of 6 per person per day and limits of these fish are very common.
Pink salmon fishing action can be so high that we have clients simply interested in seeing how many of these fish they can catch and release in a single day and more than100 in a full day of fishing has been attained more than once! And since these fish are so aggressive they make for an excellent introduction for youth anglers