Area Sport Fishing Reports
Archived Sport Fishing Report
August 03, 2023
- The Soldotna ADF&G office offers a fishing rod loaner program and has salmon fishing poles and a limited amount of tackle anglers can borrow for up to three days. This is a first come, first served program and fishing poles cannot be reserved. For more information, check out the Rod Loaner Program webpage or contact Jenny Gates at (907) 262-9368.
- ADF&G is mobile. You can purchase and display your fishing license and king stamp, record your annual harvest (i.e., king salmon, rainbow/steelhead trout, sharks), access sport fishing regulations and locations, and so much more on your mobile device. Download the ADF&G Mobile App today.
- Lower Kenai River sockeye salmon fishing continues to be good to excellent.
- Reminder: Via emergency order bait is not allowed in the Kenai River from the mouth to Skilak Lake.
- Effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21 bag limits increased from 3 per day and 6 in possession to 6 per day and 12 in possession. Please see emergency order below for more information.
- Refer to page 55 and 56 of the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary for maps denoting riverbank closures on the lower Kenai River.
- Try fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, Soldotna Visitors Center, Moose Range Meadows, or Soldotna Creek Park.
- The Kenai River is still high, making fishing from shore challenging in some areas.
- Fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden in the middle Kenai River has been fair but should improve over the next couple of weeks.
- Kasilof River king salmon fishing is very slow. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery-produced fish may be retained. Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed.
- Sockeye salmon fishing on the Kasilof River is slowing down but anglers who put in the time are catching limits. Bag and possession limits for sockeye salmon are 6 per day and 12 in possession. See emergency order below for more information.
- Try fishing for sockeye salmon from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
- Sockeye salmon fishing in the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers has picked up and is expected to continue to improve in the next week as more pushes of fish begin to reach the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers. Bag limits are 3 fish per day and 6 in possession. See pages 59-61 of the 2023 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for more information. Anglers are reminded that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing.
- Please be mindful of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service Forest Orders and anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the Russian River clear water. If you clean your catch, take fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters. Please respect habitat and cultural resource protection sites that are fenced or roped off, stay on the established trails and boardwalks, and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended.
Pink salmon are in at Resurrection Creek in Hope and fishing has been good.
- An Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit is required in addition to a sport fishing license. Only Alaska residents may participate in this fishery. Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit harvest and participation must be reported online no later than August 15 through the ADF&G harvest reporting webpage. Permit holders who fail to report will be denied an Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use Salmon permit the following year and may be subject to a $200 fine. If you did not use the permit or if you used the permit but did not catch anything you still have to report. Returning permits by mail or hand-delivery is no longer an acceptable means to report.
- Please be aware that felt soles or other fiber material on the soles of wading boots are prohibited while personal use fishing (dipnetting).
The personal use dip net fishery on the Kasilof River closes on August 8th. Fishing has been fair to good. The area allowed to dip net both from shore and by boat has been expanded by emergency order. See the emergency order below for more information. Dipnetting is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Anglers are reminded that retention of king salmon, Dolly Varden, or rainbow/steelhead trout is not allowed, and fish must be released immediately unharmed.
The Kenai River dipnet fishery ended on July 31st.
- Lake fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling, and land locked salmon is good to excellent. 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.
- Johnson Lake is fishing excellent. This is a great lake to take youth anglers fishing at!
- John Hedberg Lake located in Nikiski is fishing excellent! This is a nice lake to picnic at or enjoy a hike along the trail system!
- 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.
- Many local lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout and coho salmon fingerling recently. For specific lake stocking information including species stocked and numbers of fish stocked, directions, bathymetric maps, and amenities, please visit 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-1-51-23 prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the ADF&G marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake, effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, August 1 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, August 15, 2023. Anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in these waters. “Single-hook” means a fishhook with only one point.
- Emergency Order 2-RS-1-47-23 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, other than king, pink, and coho salmon, from 3 per day, 6 in possession to 6 per day, 12 in possession in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. No more than two salmon, 16 inches or longer, per day and in possession may be coho salmon effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2023.
- Emergency Order 2-RS-1-32-23 increases the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, 16 inches or longer, to 6 fish per day and 12 in possession in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing effective 12:01 a.m. Friday June 30, 2023. No more than 2 salmon per day and 2 in possession may be coho salmon.
- Emergency Order 2-KS-1-33-23 prohibits the retention of naturally-produced king salmon while sport fishing in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge. Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing in these waters effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2023. Naturally-produced king salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.
- Emergency order 2-KS-1-40-23 prohibits the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use dip net fishery. Any king salmon caught incidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
- Emergency order 2-RS-1-28-23 expands the personal use salmon dipnet fishing area on the Kasilof River. Salmon may be harvested from the shore from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Salmon may be harvested from a boat from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to ADF&G markers placed at approximately river mile 3 effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 25 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, August 7, 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.
Don’t forget to purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp! You can purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp through the ADF&G online store and print it off from the comfort of your own home. Also, make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.
For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Soldotna Area Office at (907) 262-9368.