- The flowing waters of the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River marker and all Kenai River tributary streams close to fishing from May 1 through June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.
- Kasilof River steelhead fishing is fair. All rainbow/steelhead trout caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. See page 70 of the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for more information.
- Hooligan (eulachon) fishing is picking up with angler reports that fish are being caught. Fishing will improve over the next couple of weeks. Try fishing at the Kenai Flats State Recreation Site at the Warren Ames Bridge or at Cunningham Park off Beaver Loop. See page 16 of the 2023 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations booklet for more information.
- Surf fishing for halibut along the beaches of Cook Inlet south of the Kenai River is good. Pacific halibut fisheries are managed by the federal government under an international treaty. Please consult federal regulations and see page 73 of the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.
- Check out the Beach Fishing for Halibut on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula video on our ADF&G YouTube channel to learn about beach fishing for halibut.
- Local lakes will be free of ice soon and lake fishing should be good to excellent. Lake fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling, and land locked salmon will improve with warming water temperatures. Try fishing with dry or wet flies such as an egg sucking leech, bead head nymph, or mosquito pattern; small spoons and spinners size #0 or #2; or small bait under a bobber.
- Spirit (Elephant) Lake access gate is currently closed for spring breakup. For access gate closures and road conditions call the Salamatof Native Association at 907-283-7864.
- Sport Lake was stocked with 700 catchable rainbow trout on May 7th and Johnson Lake was stocked with 1,300 catchable sized rainbow trout on May 10th.
- Not familiar with all the stocked lakes in the area? Check out the ADF&G publication with locations, access, and other valuable information on Kenai Peninsula area lakes. More lake information can be found on the ADF&G Alaska Lakes Database.
Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.
- Emergency Order 2-KS-1-10-23 closes sport fishing for king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake from 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Fishing for king salmon will remain closed from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023, in waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon accidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Emergency Order 2-KS-1-11-23 closes the Kenai River to fishing for king salmon and prohibits the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to ADF&G markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Emergency Order 2-KS-1-08-23 prohibits the retention of naturally-produced king salmon beginning 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Additionally, only one single hook either baited, unbaited, or on an artificial lure may be used beginning 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 16 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. Single-hook means a fishhook with only one point. and the use of multiple hooks while sport fishing in the Kasilof River. Naturally-produced king salmon have an adipose fin and may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Emergency Order 2-KS-1-09-23 restricts the duration of fishing periods in the personal use set gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River. The hours open to fishing in the personal use set gillnet fishery shall be reduced from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., to 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 15 through Sunday, June 18 and 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Monday, June 19 through Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Cook Inlet Salt Waters
- Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 prohibits sport fishing for king salmon (including catch-and-release) in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.) effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 15 through Monday, July 31. King salmon incidentally caught while fishing for other fish may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-23 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey and Derks lakes for the 2023 season.
- Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-23 establishes a bag and possession limit of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish, less than 16 inches in length for the 2023 season.
The second run of sockeye salmon on the Kenai River head for drainages throughout the river. One popular destination is the Russian River mainstem, Russian River Sanctuary, and confluence area by the last week of July and first week of August. Be bear aware and adhere to U.S. Forest Service forest orders regarding filleting fish, fish disposal, personal gear, and coolers.
Legal tackle in the Russian River area is an unweighted, single-hook, unbaited, artificial fly, with hook gap no larger than 3/8 inch or less. If weights are used, they must be fixed at least 18 inches ahead of the fly. Most anglers use a bucktail streamer fly, such as a Russian River Coho Fly, with enough weight at least 18 inches ahead of the fly so that the hook travels close to the bottom of the river. Oftentimes, best success is early morning or late evening, when the sun is not directly shining on the river. Sockeye salmon also tend to hug the bank, and long casts are not necessary.
Daily weir counts for the Russian River are posted on our website.
Residents of Alaska may participate in a “personal use” dipnet fishery that opens July 10 at the mouth of the Kenai River. A similar dipnet fishery also occurs at the mouth of the Kasilof River and opens on June 25. A Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit and a current sport fishing license are required to participate in these fisheries. Special regulations apply. Make sure to check the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for information on fishing times, marker locations, fin clipping, recording harvest, and permit requirements.
Pink Salmon – Resurrection Creek
Pink salmon fishing at Resurrection Creek in Hope begins to pick up by the third week of July. This is a great fishery for children to participate in. Pink salmon are aggressive and will generally take any tackle easily. Try fishing with a Russian River Coho Fly, Pixees™, small, colorful spoons or spinners.
Rainbow Trout/Dolly Varden – Flowing Waters
Fishing success for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden in Kenai Peninsula drainages is generally good through the month of July, as rainbow trout and Dolly Varden chase spawning salmon upstream and feed on eggs. Good fly patterns to try include egg imitations and salmon flesh flies.
There are 25 lakes throughout the Northern Kenai Peninsula area that are stocked with rainbow trout, Arctic char, and landlocked Chinook or coho salmon. Fishing is usually excellent in these lakes in July. Try using small spinners, flies, or, where legal, fresh shrimp or preserved salmon roe. Publications describing these lakes are available online and at ADF&G offices in Anchorage, Soldotna, and Homer. Make sure to check the ADF&G fish stocking and the ADF&G Alaska Lakes Database (ALDAT) webpages for up-to-date lake stocking information.
All other lakes of the Kenai River drainage are open to fishing in July, including Crescent Lake and Hidden Lake. Bait may be used in all lakes except in a few areas of Kenai Lake. Check the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet carefully!