Alaska Red Salmon Fishing Spots

Red Salmon (or Sockeye Salmon) are a highly sought after game fish that will drive anglers to line up shoulder to shoulder for "combat fishing." Reds get their nickname from the bright color of red that they turn when spawning, and at times their numbers are so great in streams that the water looks red. The flesh of the Red salmon is a dark orange or red color and is prized above all other salmon species for its flavor, color, and consistency. Check out the areas do to some combat fishing of your own:

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Red Salmon Fishing Spots

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.

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.

80-site RV Park (no hook-ups) and camp­ground, with water, shared flush toi­lets (a lux­u­ry in Alas­ka camp­ing!), and pic­nic tables and fire pits at each camp­site. Very pop­u­lar fish­ing spot for rain­bow trout, red (sock­eye), and sil­ver (coho) salmon. Also a very active area for bears — some­times there are restric­tions on tent camp­ing and soft-sided trail­ers due to bear activ­i­ty in the area.

Sun­shine Creek flows into the Susit­na Riv­er. There is an access road off of the Parks High­way. Most pop­u­lar for fish­ing for sil­vers late August through September.

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 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.

Access point to fish the Kenai Riv­er between the Russ­ian Riv­er and Ski­lak Lake. Species found here include trout, dol­ly var­den, and salmon (kings, sock­eye, and sil­vers — depend­ing on time of year). There is a grav­el park­ing area and a boat launch point. Check with Alas­ka Depart­ment of Fish and Game for reg­u­la­tions and limits.

One of the most pop­u­lar areas in the state for dip­net­ters to fish the Kenai Riv­er in the month of July. There’s a large paved park­ing area, and camp­ing is allowed July 10 — 31 dur­ing the sock­eye salmon run. Restrooms available.

Access point to fish the Russ­ian Riv­er near the con­flu­ence of the Kenai and Russ­ian Rivers in Coop­er Land­ing. It also pro­vides park­ing for anglers using the Russ­ian Riv­er Fer­ry which is right next door. Fish­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for red (sock­eye) and sil­ver (coho) salmon, as well as dol­ly var­den and rain­bow trout.

Pop­u­lar loca­tion to fish the Kenai Riv­er from a raised plat­form along the water and to launch boats. Large park­ing area and boat launch are both avail­able for a fee. Check web­site for cur­rent rates. Vault toi­lets. Depend­ing on the sea­son can fish for rain­bow trout, dol­ly var­den, salmon (King, Sock­eye, Coho). Check the ADF&G web­site for regulations.

Wad­ing access and boat launch. Grav­el park­ing area and boat launch are both avail­able for a fee. Check web­site for cur­rent rates. This is a small­er park­ing area than some near­by access points for the Kenai Riv­er. Depend­ing on the sea­son can fish for rain­bow trout, dol­ly var­den, salmon (King, Sock­eye, Coho). Check the ADF&G web­site for regulations.

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 area opens to dip net­ting for sock­eye salmon only if escape­ment of salmon is beyond a cer­tain lim­it. Vis­it the ADF&G web­site for more information.

Pop­u­lar for sock­eye in ear­ly August, and sil­vers from Mid-August with late runs through Octo­ber. From the park­ing area at the Jim Creek Camp­ground, it is about a 1.5 mile trail to the riv­er. This area is extreme­ly pop­u­lar for locals to explore on ATVs and dirt bikes.

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.

Grav­el road from the Richard­son High­way leads to a point where you can access the Lit­tle Ton­si­na where it meets the Ton­si­na Riv­er. Arc­tic grayling, Dol­ly Var­den, sock­eye salmon, king salmon, and coho salmon depend­ing on the sea­son. Check with ADF&G for cur­rent regulations.

Area to fish Res­ur­rec­tion Riv­er for Sil­ver Salmon. There are a few park­ing areas and camp­grounds along Nash road.

There are ADF&G Mark­ers on Lowe Riv­er approx­i­mate­ley 300 ft down­stream from the con­flu­ence with the Robe Riv­er. This area is open year-round for all species oth­er than salmon. See cur­rent ADF&G regulations.

Kasilof Riv­er per­son­al use salmon fish­ery. Per­mit and fish­ing license required. Dip­net­ting avail­able to Alas­ka res­i­dents. Con­firm sea­son with ADF&G.

Acces­si­ble via the Richard­son High­way. There’s a large park­ing area near the bridge. Pop­u­lar salmon fish­ing spot when in sea­son. Refer to ADF&G for cur­rent guidelines. 

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 spin­ner or fly cast­er, you’ll find good game in this stream,  ...more

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!”

This swift, glacial­ly-fed riv­er deliv­ers one of the top sports salmon fish­eries in the Cop­per Basin, with pro­duc­tive bank­side fish­ing for famed Cop­per Riv­er reds and decent oppor­tu­ni­ties to land a big king salmon. You’ll find good park­ing and direct access to pub­lic ease­ments along the riv­er in Cop­per Cen­ter. Many pro­fes­sion­al guides also oper­ate in the community.

This 64.3 acre park has lots to offer with open fields, ski­jor­ing trails, a sled­ding hill, one soc­cer field, fish­ing dur­ing des­ig­nat­ed sea­sons, and a fish view­ing plat­form that is best dur­ing the mid to late summer.