subscribe iconKing Salmon Run Summary

Area Sport Fishing Reports
Northern Kenai

July Season

King Salmon — Kenai River

July 1 is the regulation start of the late-run king salmon fishery. Bait is allowed, but anglers are still restricted to one single hook. Fishing is usually good to excellent by the third and fourth weeks of July. No more than 2 king salmon per year may be harvested from the Kenai River. By regulation, the king season on the Kenai ends at 11:59 p.m., July 31, unless changed by emergency order.

For king salmon fishing from a boat, try single-hook Kwikfish™, Mag/Wiggle Warts™ , or Spin-N-Glos™. Casting from shore, try Spin-N-Glos™, Pixees™, Tee-Spoons™, or L'il Corkies™. Kings tend to run in the deeper channels, down the middle of the river. Be sure you have enough weight on your line so that your lure crosses their path.

King Salmon — Kasilof River

Success in this fishery is mixed, as the water level during this time is high and very swift, making it difficult to effectively fish from a boat or from shore. Fishing seems to pick up towards the end of July. Bait and treble/multiple hooks can be used throughout the Kasilof River. Crooked Creek remains closed through July 31.

Sockeye Salmon

July is usually the month for a bounty of red salmon returning to both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. In peak years, more than 40,000 red salmon per day have entered the Kenai River to be caught by both boat and bank anglers. Best times are usually the third and fourth weeks of July.

This second run on the Kenai heads for drainages throughout the river, and is available at the Russian River confluence by the last week of July and first week of August.

Legal tackle in the Russian River area is a single-hook, artificial fly, with hook gap no larger than 3/8 inch. 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 also tend to hug the bank, and long casts are not necessary.

Daily weir counts for the Russian River are posted on our website.

An Alaska-resident only "personal use" dipnet fishery opens July 10 at the mouths of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. A permit is required to participate in these fisheries.

Rainbow Trout/Dolly Varden — Flowing Waters

Fishing success for rainbow trout in Kenai Peninsula drainages is generally good through the month of July, as trout and Dollies chase spawning salmon. Good fly patterns to try include egg imitations and salmon flesh flies.

Lake Fishing

There are over 25 lakes throughout the northern Kenai Peninsula stocked with trout and/or salmon. Fishing is usually excellent in these lakes in July, 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 July, including Crescent Lake and Hidden Lake. Bait may be used in all lakes except in a few areas of Kenai Lake: check the regulations carefully!