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October through November Season
Anglers may find a few late season silver (coho) salmon in the Kenai River, through the season closure on November 30, but be prepared for cold and rainy conditions.
Through November 30, anglers can use bait and treble/multiple hooks in the Kenai from its mouth upstream to the Upper Killey River. Upstream from the Upper Killey, only unbaited, single hook tackle may be used through December 31.
Starting December 1, anglers can still use multiple hooks on the Kenai from its mouth upstream to the Upper Killey, but no bait is allowed. The Upper Kenai River is single-hook, no bait year-round. The gap on the single hook can be no larger than 3/8-inch.
All other salmon fisheries on the Kenai are closed this time of year. Depending on weather and river conditions, anglers may also find a few late season silver salmon in the Kasilof or Swanson rivers.
Rainbow and Steelhead Trout and Dolly Varden — Flowing Waters
Fishing for these resident fish can be excellent, if weather and water conditions allow. A clear crisp day, something to knock the ice from your guides, and a Glo-Bug or Iliamna Pinkie spell excellent flowing water action for rainbows and Dollies.
Since Dolly Varden spawn in the fall, some flowing waters are closed from September 15 through October 31, in order to provide them protection during spawning. Dollies are open the entire year on the mainstem Kenai River, and on the Kasilof River. The Russian River is also open this time of year to fishing for Dollies, as well as rainbows
Usually by late November the ice thickens enough for safe travel (6" for foot traffic, 12" for vehicle). Once there is enough ice, fishing for rainbows, Dollies, and stocked landlocked salmon is excellent. Travel on the ice is at your own risk. ADF&G does not monitor ice thickness. For ice and snow pack conditions on state or federal lands, call Alaska State Parks in Soldotna at (907) 262-5581 or the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge at (907) 262-7021.
Ice conditions on Kenai and Skilak lakes, however, are always hazardous. These large lakes do not freeze evenly, and wind and waves often push the ice around so that one three-foot-thick section of ice might be one step away from a section of ice that is only 3 inches thick.
We do recommend one of the over 25 lakes throughout the northern Kenai Peninsula area that are stocked with trout and/or salmon. Anglers use small jigs, spinners, flies, or, where legal, fresh shrimp or preserved salmon roe. A free pamphlet describing these lakes is available from Department of Fish and Game offices in Anchorage, Soldotna and Homer. Also check out our Fish Stocking Updates page and our Stocked Lakes Map page.