Cooper Landing Fishing Report Scrape in March 2023

Sockeye Salmon

July is usually the month for a bounty of sockeye salmon returning to the Kenai, Russian, and Kasilof rivers. In peak years, more than 40,000 sockeye salmon per day have entered the Kenai River to be caught by both boat and shore anglers. Best times are usually the third and fourth week of July.  Be aware there are seasonal bank closures from July 1 to August 15 where the riverbank is closed to fishing, anglers may fish while standing in the river at least 10 feet of the shoreline.  Reference the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for seasonal bank closures, public access points for boat launches, and shore fishing locations.

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.

Lake Fishing

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!

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