The Kenai River still holds the worlds record caught in 1985 – 97lbs, 4 oz. Its sister river, the Kasilof also offer great King Salmon fishing and both offer fishermen excellent opportunities to land a monster.
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Drifting for Kings is highly favored by guides and widely used on both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers. In drifting, cured roe (salmon eggs) are attached to a spin n’ glow or even flat fish with weight used to sink your setup to the rivers bottom where it drifts slightly slower than the current which makes for the ultimate presentation to the spawning Kings. This is also the preferred way to present your bait to the most fish in the shortest amount of time. Back Trolling on the other hand, is the accepted method to fishing diving baits and plugs.
This entails the same principle of the guide holding the boat slightly slower in the rivers current while presenting the perfect bite to the King Salmon. Each drift is unique and its distance is predicated by the geography of the river.
King Salmon Spawns
The early run begins in both Rivers in early May and will continue until June 30th. Regulations can change and your Guide will update you. Basically the Kenai River is closed to guided fishing on Sundays and Mondays throughout the King Salmon season, The first run is smaller and fish are caught up to 40 pounds with fish up to 60 pounds caught on occasion.
The late run on both Rivers begins July 1st and is open through July 31st. Annual runs on the Kenai average between 36,000 and 40,000 fish. In the last years bait has been allowed from July 16th on. The Kasilof is closed only on Sundays and bait is generally allowed all month. Both rivers are glacier fed projecting a vibrant turquoise green color. Its beauty is awe-inspiring and each river is home to the Alaskan Brown Bear and the Moose; have your camera ready…
Averaging 10 pounds and ranging upwards of 20 pounds, their ability to strip line, change direction and make flying leaps credits there inspiring beauty and strength. Fly fishing, spin fishing, back trolling and bait are all preferred methods and your guide will share the best choice to bag your 2 fish limit.
This spawn allows a 3 fish limit per day and in very large spawns, Ak Fish & Game will announce an increased limit to 6 fish. The drift boats are excellent in getting our customers away from crowded banks to enjoy excellent Sockeye fishing.
As in all of our Alaska fishing trips, all gear and tackle are provided. Fly fishermen are asked to bring their fly rods and packing a lightweight pair of hip boots may give you an added advantage….
Ralph Schwartz, Pittsburgh, PA | Kenai River
Tony Guerrero, Colorado | Russian River