First Run May-June:
The first run of King Salmon begins entering
the Kenai River in April and reach catchable numbers
by early May. This run peaks around mid June. While the average size
of these fish are slightly
smaller than the 2nd run there are trophy fish in this run as well. The
world record King Salmon
weighed 97.4 lbs and was caught on the Kenai on May 17, 1985. Although
this run is not as
numerous as the 2nd run, low water conditions and fewer anglers make
this a more enjoyable
and quite successful time to fish. The low water helps concentrate fish
into the deeper holes
and main channels. This makes back-trolling or back-bouncing through
holes and travel routes quite
The Kenai River is closed to guided
fishing on Sunday's
and Monday's in May, June, and July and has hours of 6 a.m.
to 6 p.m. There are also a few restrictions that only apply
to this 1st run. Only the use of artificial non-baited lures
may be used. However, this is subject to change on short
notice if the run exceeds it's escapement goals. There is
also a slot limit in effect. You may not retain King
Salmon that are between 46 and 55 inches long. That
means you can keep most fish under 45 lbs and over 75 lbs.
The reason for this is to maintain the trophy class of this
fishery while still allowing you to retain the next record if
you happen to catch it.
2nd Run July:
This run officially begins on July 1. The
use of baits and scents are allowed and there is no slot
limit in effect. This 2nd run of Kings is what the Kenai River is
famous for and it draws large crowds
of anglers each season. This run has a considerably larger return than
the 1st run, as well as
producing a larger size average. The river can get very crowded at this
time of year, but it makes
for an exciting fishery. Anglers not familiar with this fishery should
fish with a licensed guide or
knowledgeable local. Our techniques vary daily with water conditions
and tides, however we spend
the majority of our time back-bouncing some of the deeper holes and
tidal waters. There is also a
very healthy run of Sockeye entering the river at this time. They can
easily be caught from shore in
your free time. This is our busiest time of the season, so early
booking is strongly recommended.
The Kenai is still closed on Sunday's and
Monday's in July and has a seasonal bag limit of 2
Kings, only 1 per day. Once you retain a King Salmon on the Kenai you
must stop fishing for the
remainder of the day.
August and September:
Both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers host a
strong run of Silver Salmon (Coho's). They begin
entering the rivers in July and reach catchable numbers by the end of
King season (July 31). We
begin fishing Silvers on August 1 and continue through mid-September.
Silvers are a fun, acrobatic
fish that can be caught with a number of methods. Some of these
back-trolling, casting spinners, and bobber and eggs. We typically go
back and forth between
these two rivers at this time of year following the best action.
We also get a record run of Pink Salmon on every
other year (even years). Pinks come in the same time
as the Silvers and are very aggressive, making this an
excellent time for families with children. There is no
end to the action while Pinks are in the river.
The limit of Silvers is 2 per day, while the limit of
Pinks is 6. The Kenai River is still closed on Monday's
for guided fishing, however, the Kasilof is open 7 days
a week again. Bait is allowed on both rivers.