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The Kasilof River is the best-kept secret in Alaska; it’s filled with fiery reds, powerful kings and steelhead that will give you a fight for your money! While this river is smaller than the Kenai, the Kasilof River is a powerful water body that carries a strong current. This 20-mile glacial river is filled with obstacles that can be hard to navigate for beginners but make it a fun and exciting float for anglers on our trips. As the river empties out of Tustumena Lake, you begin to enter a stretch filled with an underwater structure that provides the perfect habitat for sockeye, silvers, and steelhead, this is not just a river for targeting trout. During the summer months, reds and silvers make their way up the Kasilof to spawn. The fishing is fantastic at this river, there are fewer people than on the Kenai and the entire river is drift only, meaning you get a true Alaska wilderness feel on this float.
Upper Kenai River
The high-level of glacial silt makes this stretch of water sparkle an unbelievable turquoise color. The Kenai River is world famous, for it is breathtakingly beautiful on the surface, but we’re more interested in what’s underneath! As it winds its way through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, back channels, braids, undercut banks and obstructions create outstanding Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden habitat. The fish live here year-round but their numbers increase during the summer, as Kenai River Salmon runs start. Adding to this pristine experience is the absence of motors; the Upper Kenai River fishing is done from drift boats only, meaning you can enjoy a peaceful day on the water with the only interruption being the splash of your fish in the net.
Middle Kenai River
If you’re itching to feel the tug of a 30-plus-inch rainbow trout on the end of your line, the Middle Kenai is the stretch of water for you. More than a million salmon return to these waters every year to spawn. Creating an all you can eat buffet of salmon eggs for the Rainbows and Dolly Varden. These are fat, happy, well-fed trout that are some of the biggest in the state and will give you the fight of a lifetime.
During the summer months, this section of the river is a frenzy of salmon – reds (sockeye), silvers (coho), humpies (pink) and kings (chinook) all return here to spawn. See for yourself why this river is famous for its enormous kings, tasty reds and trophy trout.
Lower Kenai River
The Lower Kenai River begins at the Soldotna Bridge and empties into Cook Inlet, about 20 miles downriver. This is a stretch of water where you find salmon fresh from the sea chock-full of strength and fight. Anglers visit this stretch to target world-famous Kenai kings and reds, and once you hook into one it won’t take you long to understand where their world-class reputation comes from.
When the reds are running, more than a million fish race through this stretch of the river toward their spawning grounds, creating an unbelievably exciting scene. I keep my eye on the tides and the run times to make sure we’re there when the fishing is hot. When the big floods of fish come in, limits can come quick and you won’t want to stop until your arm falls off.
No matter which river you choose, you can’t go wrong. Each has a unique attribute that makes it the perfect river to fish on your once in a lifetime Alaska fishing trip. The fishing on each river is constantly changing with the seasons and the fish are always moving. But luckily, we know where to go to find them!
Whether you’re a modest fisherman or fishing is your passion, let Alaska Streamers help you plan your Alaska dream vacation, and make memories that will last a lifetime!