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.
This confluence is one of the most popular fisheries in South Central Alaska. Located about 60 miles north of Anchorage on the Parks Highway, it offers excellent fishing for four of the major salmon species: kings, silvers, chums and pinks. It also features big rainbows (up to 30 inches) and Dolly Varden, as well as Arctic Grayling. You’ll also find, in small numbers, burbot and whitefish.
This spot, just north of Sterling, is primarily a boat launch, but it also offers excellent sockeye fishing. It’s located at the end of Bing’s Landing Road: There’s a parking lot, but when the fishing is hot, you can expect to park alongside the road, up to half a mile away from the boat launch site. (Another reason you might park on the road: The lot near the boat launch has a fee.)
This spot is particularly good for anyone who's mobility impaired, since you access the river by a flat, metal boardwalk—and the actual fishing area is also from the boardwalk. This makes Moose Meadows one of a very few places where anglers can fish for sockeye without having to be in the water—you can do excellent even from a wheel chair.
Crystal-clear Williwaw Creek and its bank-side trail system in Portage Valley at the head of Turnagain Arm offers exceptionally good conditions for watching spawning in action. Coho, sockeye and chum salmon converge on the creek as it winds through the brushy flats beginning in mid-August, with some late-arriving fish still present after first frost in the fall.
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.
Located down Beaver Loop Road, just outside of Kenai, Cunningham Park is a great, easy-access location for sockeye and silver salmon. The shoreline here is a mix of gravel and mud, with the mud being more prevalent below the tidal zone. That said, this spot is very tidal dependent, so you’ll have to continually adjust your bait setup as the water rises or falls.
This is a popular boat launch for drift boaters fishing for king salmon. The Kasilof River red salmon dipnet fishery is here, but only open to Alaska residents. It's worth a look if you've never seen dipnetters in action before. There are 16 campsites, water, tables, toilets, hiking trails, a boat launch and fishing.
When silver salmon are running up Montana Creek by the thousands, fishermen are running up the Parks Highway by the hundreds to go “combat fishing.” They stand elbow to elbow along the creek, casting their lines and catching everything from fish to coat sleeves. Up and down the creek, you can hear people holler “Fish on!”
An underwater video camera has been set up in Steep Creek to film salmon, trout, and charr entering the creek from Mendenhall Lake. Summertime visitors can watch live footage of this fishy environment in the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center's pavilion.
Fishcam images can also be viewed at:
This river flows past a primitive campsite (first-come basis, free) and empties into the bay. Only three miles long, the river is fed by Lake Rose Tead, which is a prime spawning area for sockeye salmon. The river also has runs of pink, chum, and silver salmon, as well as Dolly Varden. Fly fishermen love the challenge of fishing in the tidally-influenced lower stretch of the river; but More...