If you’ve gotten bored of fishing nearby streams and ponds for hand-sized trout or need a new fly-fishing adventure, set your sights on one of the world’s best fly-fishing spots with the Kenai River in Alaska. Alaska’s Kenai River has long been a fly-fishing paradise due to the enormous fish and untouched Alaska wilderness that gives anglers a picturesque background every time they toss their fly in.
Fishing the Kenai River is much different than fishing your local stream and requires plenty of preparation and the correct equipment to have an excellent day angling. Let’s learn everything you need to know about fishing the Kenai River, including where it is, what equipment you need, and local resources to help get you landing monster fish.
The Kenai River begins at Kenai Lake near Cooper Landing, Alaska, approximately 100 miles south of Anchorage.
From Cooper Landing, the Kenai runs 82 miles on a westward route through the Kenai Canyon, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and confluences with several other lakes and streams before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
The Kenai is separated into three main portions. The first 17 miles of the Kenai from Kenai Lake to Skilkak is known as the upper Kenai or simply the upper river. The next 20 miles from Skilkak to the Sterling Highway is known as the middle river, and the last 21 miles from Sterling Highway to the Pacific is known as the lower river.
The Kenai River is home to some seriously large fish, so you need to be ready with a fly fish setup that will haul in the lunkers. Because there are a lot of variances in fish weight depending on what you’re targeting, you may need to bring multiple weight rods, reels, and lines when fishing the Kenai.
Kenai is a destination where it might be better to purchase your equipment at a local fly shop or let the fly guide bring all the necessary equipment for your journey, depending on local conditions and what you’re targeting.
The Kenai is cold no matter the time of year, so pack warm chest waders and layers. With any fishing adventure, make sure you know local rules and regulations and get your hands on the proper fishing license before you put your line in.
You want to be on the Kenai during the salmon runs that last from approximately late May into September. Different species appear at different times, so ideally, you want to set your trip when your favorite species is running the Kenai.
The summer runs are the best time of the year to fish the Kenai. The rest of the year? Well, it’s Alaska and as most know – Alaska’s cold. Unless you’re interested in some seriously cold and treacherous winter fly fishing, book your Kenai trip in summer.
If you’re looking for a favorite Colorado fly fishing spot you can’t beat a day on the Arkansas River. Use our resources, local know-how, and rig your line up right for a successful day nailing brown trout. It doesn’t get much better than pulling out a lunker in the shadow of Colorado mountains.