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Ask the Pro's: What's the best time of year to fish for Silver Salmon on the Kenai River?

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  • I was in Alaska in July this year. Stayed in Stewart right on the Kenia River. Sure had a tuff time catching Sockeye's...When would be the best time of the year to come back to Alaska to fish for Silver Salmon?

    - Bruce

  • It was definitely a tough July for Sockeye Salmon on the Kenai; however, it's just starting to pick up and the fishing has been excellent. If you were here in early July, chances are that you will have the same experience every year. That is often the "lag time" between runs of Sockeye. Even if you were here during the first run (early June into early July), you will still have a problem catching Sockeye in Sterling unless you are in the National Wildlife Refuge or the Russian River in Cooper Landing.

    The second run of Sockeye usually hits river-wide around the 19th or so of July. This is the best time to be a bank angler fishing the Kenai River.

    Now as far as Silver Salmon (Coho) are concerned, they start to trickle in the Kenai around the very end of July and numbers increase through the end of October. Depending on the experience you're looking for, they can be quite fun to catch both on the fly and on conventional gear.

    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 Kenai Sockeye return is well below average this year and that is the cause for the poor catch rate. As for Silvers, they typically start showing up in catch-able numbers mid August but Sept would be the best time for them on the Kenai and the Anchor.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Sockeye salmon are always hard to catch because they have no chase instinct. You should do better with silvers. If you are going back to the Kenai River to fish for silvers I'd suggest that you go in the later part of August and that you fish from a boat. You'll find that the silvers are much more cooperative.

    You might want to check-out my book, Pacific Salmon Flies: New Ties and Old Standbys for tips for silver fishing and flies to use to fish for them. Good Luck!

    Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf - The owner of Women's Flyfishing®, a Trout Unlimited Endorsed business, "Pudge" Kleinkauf, is Alaska's leading woman fly fishing instructor, fly tier and guide.
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