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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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… ...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.