This tributary of the Kenai River flows alongside the Sterling Highway, just north of Cooper Landing (from milepost 40-45). There are plenty of designated pull-offs along the highway—like Quartz Creek Road, which leads to Kenai Lake, as well as the popular access point at the Quartz Creek Bridge. The Quartz Creek campground features spaces for cars and RVs, with plenty of modern outhouses.
Plenty of Big Fish
The water here is slow, deep and meandering, as the creek snakes through the trees. Quartz Creek is known for its large rainbow trout and Dolly Varden that can reach up to 30 inches in length; it’s also the terminal spawning grounds for many Kenai River salmon, such as sockeye and monstrous kings. Granted, salmon fishing is strictly off-limits in this spot, but it’s a wonder to see those 50-pound kings swimming in this relatively narrow creek.
Customize Your Gear and Technique
There are two primary seasons for this creek: pre-salmon and post-salmon. During both, most people go fly-fishing. Before the salmon arrive, nymphs and black leeches work well, but in general the trout are more finicky. After salmon have entered the creek, trout begin feeding heavily on eggs, so bead and egg patterns work best. As the salmon begin to die, flesh flies are your best bet to target the trout species. It’s a bit of a challenge: The creek's characteristic deep holes, where the trout sit, aren’t so easy to identify. Try targeting the inside curves instead, as well as the deeper pockets created by fallen trees and large boulders.
You’ll also want hip boots or chest waders, since the best spots often require walking through water. The trout here can be large, and the available space for playing a fighting fish may be limited, due to the myriad curves and fallen debris. So keep in mind that a slightly heavier fly rod, such as a 6 weight or 7 weight, is your best bet.