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Sport Fish Area Fishing Report
Salmon — Kenai River, Russian River, and other Kenai River waters
Lower Kenai River — September is a great time to go silver salmon fishing on the Kenai River. Mid-September usually sees great fishing all the way from Cunningham Park all the way up to the Kenai Keys area. Popular shore access spots include the boardwalks at the Soldotna Visitor's Center, Morgan's Landing, Izzac Walton State Park, and Bing's Landing.
Bait and treble/multiple hooks can be used in Skilak Lake, and in the mainstem Kenai River from the Upper Killey River downstream to the mouth of the Kenai at Cook Inlet, until the closure of the silver salmon season on November 30.
Upper Kenai River (above Skilak Lake) — Excellent silver fishing can be found from Cooper Landing downstream to the Kenai Canyon from mid-September to about the second week of October. No bait is allowed, and anglers must use single hooks (a single hook has only 1 point), with gap between point and shank no larger than 3/8-inch.
Russian River — In the Russian River area, silver fishing is usually the best near the end of the second week of September. Weir counts end on the Russian River by mid September.
In the mainstem Kenai River (including Skilak Lake), as well as the Russian River area, once you keep your bag limit of silvers, you are done fishing for the day in those waters. Bag and possession limits for silvers vary depending on the waters you are fishing. Be sure to check regulations before you go fishing.
Salmon — Other Fresh Waters
Kasilof River — Small numbers of silver salmon continue to be available until mid-September. Best success comes in the early morning. Beginning Sept. 1, no bait or treble/multiple hooks are allowed. Anglers must use single-hook, unbaited, artificial lures.
Swanson River — This system sees a very small run of silver salmon, usually appearing in mid-September. Bait and multiple hooks are allowed.
Rainbow and Steelhead Trout and Dolly Varden — Flowing Waters
Rainbow fishing in September on the Upper Kenai Peninsula can be slow to excellent, depending on water conditions. Sometimes enticing a rainbow full of salmon eggs to hit your unbaited lure is a challenge, but many sport anglers find that's part of the fun. This is the time of year when you may have to try every trick in your tackle box to entice a strike.
There's a very small run of steelhead trout to the Kasilof River. Chances of catching a steelie are very slim, but if you are one of the lucky ones, please remember it's illegal to remove the fish from the water before releasing it. A good way to get a photo of your catch is for both the angler and the photographer to kneel in the water.
Dolly Varden fishing in September can also be exciting, depending on water conditions. Dollies are in their fall spawning colors, and are beautiful fish. Some rivers/creeks, including portions of Quartz Creek and Cooper Creek, close September 15 to protect spawning Dolly Varden.
There are over 25 lakes throughout the northern Kenai Peninsula area stocked with trout and/or salmon. Fishing is usually excellent in these lakes in September, using small 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.
All other lakes of the Kenai River drainage are open to fishing in September, including Crescent Lake and Hidden Lake Hidden Lake also has lake trout. Bait may be used in all lakes except in a few areas of Kenai Lake: check the regulations carefully!