A modestly short, glacial river, known as the Kasilof River is located a short drive from the world-famous Kenai River on the Western Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. For those who have had the opportunity to float and fish the Kasilof, the nickname "Little Brother of the Kenai" rings true as it can be excellent for sport fishing for pacific salmon.
Flowing about 18 miles from the its outlet at Tustumena Lake near Kasilof, Alaska, the Kasilof River has a considerable amount of suspended glacial silt that causes the river to have a greyish-blue hue to it. The shallow, fast and cold nature of the Kasilof River can make it difficult to navigate at higher flows, especially during times of higher runoff later in the summer months. Wading is difficult as is navigating a drift boat on its sometimes Class II whitewater on the upper stretches.
The Kasilof is a popular King (Chinook) Salmon fishery for both guides and locals who attempt to tangle with Kings that rival the giants of the Kenai River. The first run of Kings, comprised mainly of smaller fish and hatchery fish, hits the river around the 15th of May and usually ends in late June. These fish average around the 15-25 lb mark and are eager to take bait, lures and the occasionally well-placed fly.
Later in June into early July, the second run of Kings hits the Kasilof. These second run fish can be considerably larger than their first run cousins and can reach sizes of 50, 60 and even 70 lbs (though these fish are rare).
Most successful King Salmon fishing on the Kasilof River is done with the aid of a drift boat using back-trolling or back-bouncing techniques with Kwikfish Lures and Spin-n-glos (both with bait when it is open).
The Kasilof River also sees a good run of Sockeye Salmon during June and July. Sockeye Salmon can be caught from the shore much easier than King Salmon as Sockeye tend to run very close to the bank in shallow water.
Small populations of domestic Rainbow Trout can be found here as well as sea-run and domestic Dolly Varden.
A great run of Silver (Coho) Salmon can be found towards the beginning of August through the end of September and into early October. Silver Salmon can be taken on back-trolling and back-bouncing techniques as well as spinners, spoons and flies. They are extremely aggressive and quite fun on lighter salmon rods.
Often overshadowed by its big brother the Kenai, the Kasilof River is an excellent fishery with a variety of fish to chase from late spring through early fall. It is definitely a great idea to try to get out at least a day while you are visiting the Kenai Peninsula. The Kasilof River will not dissappoint!