Soldotna Park, in downtown Soldotna, offers all Kenai River species—but most people are here for the sockeye. That means it can get crowded during peak sockeye season, but it's also a good place to learn how to fish for sockeye. The combination of easy accessibility, hard-packed gravel and a shallow grade make the fishing enjoyable.
Good Handicap Access
The fishing area is composed of a long series of boardwalks, with stairwells leading to the water. Thanks to its long, winding ramp, it’s very handicap-accessible (a few boardwalk sections are even designated for mobility-impaired fishing). Otherwise, all of the fishing here is done in the water, making hip boots or chest waders necessary. You still won’t need to wade out very far—usually at or below knee height.
Cool Night Fishing
Soldotna Park is also a popular spot for night fishing when regulations allow. Night fishing is a surreal experience: for one thing, sockeye tend to swim closer to shore, so you don’t need to be standing in water any deeper than a foot. The technique, then, is mostly the same, except that your target area is closer to your feet— and sometimes even parallel to yourself. And you have to remain vigilant and cautious: When hooked at night, sockeye tend to swim towards shore. This can be confusing, as your line may go slack. In that case, reel up until the line is taut again. Otherwise, you might have salmon circling and tangling around your legs.