Upper Kenai River

Native, wild trout from the cold, glacial waters of the Kenai River

Fishing on the Upper Kenai River, between Kenai and Skilak lakes, is prohibited from May 1 through June 10 seasonally to protect spawning rainbow trout. The upper Kenai River will open to sport angling Saturday, June 11, 2006 at 12:01 a.m. for Russian River bound red salmon, rainbow trout and dolly varden char.

The section of Kenai River from Kenai Lake downstream to Skilak Lake, including a 1/2 mile radius from the Kenai River inlet, is managed as a "Trophy Trout" fishery. The Kenai River, from mile 82 to the Kenai River inlet at Skilak Lake, is designated as a "Drift Only" area. Use of a motor is prohibited. Only unbaited, single hook, artificial lures may be used in all flowing waters above Skilak Lake. Nick's Guide Service encourages C&R sport fishing when targeting Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden char.

Dolly Varden

Cooper Landing, located approximately 90 miles from Anchorage, swells with visitors with the arrival of the first run of sockeye salmon to the Russian River, a tiny stream meandering through the Chugach National Forest that empties into the Kenai River. Anglers ply the clear waters of the Russian River and the glacial Kenai River, below the confluence of the two rivers, for these succulent salmon. Red or silver salmon angling opportunities continue into the fall. The best trout fishing takes place from the end of July through September as trout and char congregate to feed on the salmon spawning beds.

Kenai Peninsula wildlife


Numerous activities are available to non fishers while visiting the area. Several establishments offer rafting/historical adventures on the upper river. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound. Bald eagles, beaver, moose, caribou and brown and black bear frequent the banks of the river. Dall sheep and mountain goat inhabit the rocky elevations and snow capped peaks that surround the scenic upper Kenai River valley. Backpackers and hikers enjoy traversing the many trails that explore the area.

This page was updated January 19, 2006
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