Ask the Pro's: Kenai Peninsula Hiking & Fishing Away From the Crowds

Posted by Pro's on to Ask the Pros
  • We will be in Alaska August 2-6th with a house on the Kenai River by Cooper Landing. August 3rd we have an 8 hour salmon guide, and then on the 4th and 5th we were looking to do a combination of hiking and fishing.

    We found a few trails such as Quartz Creek, Ptarmigan Creek and Resurrection pass. We were wondering if you have heard of those trails or know of any hiking where we can get away from the crowds but still fish for great Dollys and Trout?

    On the 6th we are driving back to Anchorage and are looking to hit some spots on the way. Our flight isn't until 1130pm so we have some time. Any suggestions on places or hikes in between Copper Landing and Anchorage?

    - Colin

  • Hey Colin! Sounds like you've got the right idea to get away from the crowds and get into the backcountry a little bit around Cooper Landing. We definitely want to welcome you to our back yard and we hope that we can help you come up with some great ideas!

    Something you will definitely want to be aware of around here is the population density of brown and black bears. Though you may not see many, there are a good number of them around. All the tributaries and trails you mentioned are not only feeding grounds for bears, but also major thoroughfares for wildlife. At the very least, you will definitely want to carry bear spray and be loud and announce your presence at all times. This is also thick mosquito country, so be prepared to be swarmed.

    With all that being said, some of my favorite places to fish are those you mentioned, not so much for the quantity of the fish, but the fact that you can get away from the crowds (most of the time). To save some of these places from being overcrowded by way of giving away too much information about them on the internet, I can tell you that most have very common access points that can offer a chance to escape the crowds at times. There are also other places to hike and fish that may also offer less competition.

    In addition to the places you mentioned, you may try Fuller Lakes for arctic grayling, or even the Russian River (in the evenings and on weekdays).

    The best part of all these waterways is that you can use a variety of techniques and presentations. Largely considered catch-and-release waterways by locals and guides, you will definitely want to check the regulations. None of these rivers or lakes will be open to salmon fishing except for the Russian River.

    On your drive back to anchorage, there are a lot of small tributaries that may offer good angling opportunities. Many are thick and access is difficult. Regulations also need to be checked, as several fall within different management areas. Most of these get salmon, but won't be open to salmon fishing, but they should have sea-run dolly varden and some rainbow trout. Ingram creek is one to give a look for sure!

    If you are fly fishing, be sure to bring dry flies, nymphs, streamers, egg patterns and flesh patterns as these fish will be willing to take many different flies.

    All-in-all, you can't go wrong with most area streams and lakes. They will, in large part, reward your hiking efforts. Good luck out there and don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything while in the area!

    Dave Lisi - Owner/Guide for Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC located in the small mountain town of Cooper Landing, Alaska where he is a year-round resident, guide, carpenter and trout bum. On any given day, you will most likely find Dave on the banks of the Kenai swinging for trout with his best friend and future wife, Jackie. Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC was built in early 2017 with the goal of sharing the love and passion Dave and Jackie have for the Kenai Peninsula and the fish that live there.
  • Colin,

    The trails they are looking at are good. They could also hike up to Crescent Lake, off the Quartz Creek road, for some good grayling action at the lake and they could also hike up to the Russian Falls or Russian lake and fish the Russian up higher. The upper Russian has bears, so they will need to be cognitive of them.

    As for between Anchorage and Cooper Landing, Upper and Lower Summit lakes can fish well but other than that there is not much else.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
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