This spot in Sterling—at milepost 82.3 at the Isaak Walton Campground—is where the Moose River meets the Kenai River, and the two rivers’ differing paces are drastic. The Moose River is very slow and wide, with almost no current—so much so that it feels more like a lake. The Kenai River, on the other hand, flows fairly swiftly in comparison, and the confluence can play strange tricks on your tackle.
Record Pinks and Quiet Vibes
You can find sockeye, pink or silver salmon here (in fact, this is where the Alaska state record pink salmon was caught). Since this is also the main stem of the Kenai River, you might also find king salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden. But the spot still has a best-kept-secret atmosphere: When the entire Kenai River is abuzz with anglers, this location will often be one of the quietest. You’ll also find a fairly small campground, with modern outhouses, a boat launch and parking for both cars and RVs.
Fishing the Confluence
There are several access points downstream of the confluence: these metal stairs help protect the shoreline used for salmon spawning. You’ll want hip boots or chest waders, since wading on this hard-packed-gravel river bottom is pretty easy.
This section of the Kenai is fairly narrow, so the salmon tend to take the center current, but identifying that center current can be tricky: Watch for where the Kenai meets the Moose River (identified where the still water meets the swift current), and follow the flow of the Kenai as it continues away from the confluence. You’ll see the current flow roughly 30 feet from shore, downstream of the confluence—and that's where to target. Once you find that sweet spot, the fishing is very good.