Photo Credit: Fish platform and stair access along the Kenai River in Soldotna

The Best Fishing Spots in the Kenai & Soldotna Areas

This is a list of the most popular fishing spots near the towns of Kenai and Soldotna. Most anglers in the area are fishing the Kenai River during the summer salmon runs, but this area is also dotted with sparkling lakes within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge where anglers can catch rainbow trout and dolly varden.

Looking For a Guide?

If you're visiting Kenai or Soldotna and are looking to fish these world-famous rivers, consider a guided charter. These locals companies know where to go, provide all the gear, and will assist with processing and shipping your catch home. See our list of recommended charter companies in the area.

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Fishing Spots

Kenai River Access Points

Each head of house­hold is allowed to keep 25 sock­eye salmon per year, and every addi­tion­al mem­ber of the fam­i­ly is enti­tled to 10 fish.

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.

Large park­ing area for over 200 vehi­cles and 4 boat ramps. Not a shore fish­ing area.

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.

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.

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.

The most pop­u­lar camp­ground in Sol­dot­na with over 250 camp­sites in a large wood­ed area. And, it’s a fish­er­man’s dream for access­ing the boun­ty of the Kenai Riv­er. There are twen­ty-five sets of stairs to the riv­er, 2 fish­ing plat­forms that are 85 feet long (one is acces­si­ble), and 650 feet of ele­vat­ed boardwalk. 

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 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 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.

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.

Other Fishing Spots in the Kenai / Soldotna Area

Difficulty: Easy

The trail is half a mile long and takes you through a mature birch for­est that is car­pet­ed with dev­il’s club and water­mel­on berry plants. It’s an easy walk­ing, ide­al for small chil­dren, and ends at a small camp­ing area on a slight bluff that over­looks Bish­op’s Beach and Bish­op Creek.

The Stormy Lake boat launch and day use area is locat­ed with­in the Cap­tain Cook State Recre­ation Area. Anglers can fish for rain­bow trout and Arc­tic Char in Stormy Lake. There’s a pic­nic shel­ter, water, and toi­lets avail­able on site.

Small camp­ground with 3 sites in the Kenai Nation­al Wildlife Refuge. Access to Swan­son riv­er and fish­ing for rain­bow trout, dol­ly var­den, and a small run of sil­ver salmon (mid-Sep­tem­ber). Vault toi­lets and boat launch.

Small, free, 12 site camp­ground in the Kenai Nation­al Wildlife Refuge. Fish in Dol­ly Var­den Lake for Dol­ly Var­den and Rain­bow trout.

Small road­side camp­ground along Swan Lake Road in the Kenai Nation­al Wildlife Refuge. 2 camp­sites and vault toi­let. Fish lake stocked with Arc­tic Char. 

Dur­ing the sum­mer months it’s a great spot for canoe­ing, kayak­ing, pad­dle board­ing, even pad­dle­board yoga. The cold­er months are just as live­ly as the warmer ones. There’s a skat­ing loop on the lake’s perime­ter, as well as sev­er­al skat­ing areas on the lake. The City offers free pub­lic skates Sat­ur­day after­noons, ice con­di­tions depen­dent, Decem­ber through February.

Pop­u­lar lake due to its close prox­im­i­ty to Sol­dot­na to fish for rain­bow trout and coho salmon. There’s also a boat launch, and on sun­ny sum­mer days locals will be kayak­ing, boat­ing, jet ski­ing, and tub­ing. There’s a paved park­ing area.

Day use area for fish­ing (stocked rain­bow trout and coho) and trail access, with pic­nic shel­ter and toi­lets. Access is just off the Ster­ling High­way and W Scout Lake Loop Road.

Small camp­ground with an open park­ing area on the shores of Kel­ly Lake. Great, qui­et spot to choose if you have a kayak or canoe, or want to fish for trout.

Small, free camp­ground acces­si­ble from Ski­lak Lake Road with 3 sites. Anglers can fish for Dol­ly Var­den and land­locked salmon.

Camp out at this qui­et, clear­wa­ter lake, along Ski­lak Lake Road in the Kenai Nation­al Wildlife Refuge, where glac­i­ers once stood over 2,000 feet tall. There’s oppor­tu­ni­ties for fish­ing (and a boat launch) and a pic­nic area along the shore. All camp­sites are avail­able on a first-come, first served basis.