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Kenai River


Fish species
Rainbow Trout
Kenai rainbow trout


The Kenai River in Alaska is home to some of the planet's biggest wild Rainbow Trout.  Rainbow Trout spawn in the springtime in late May and early June.  Every year when the Salmon come to spawn, great numbers of wild Rainbow Trout follow in pursuit of fresh salmon eggs.  Rainbow Trout are a very powerful fish that will double over your rod and take many runs.  Their fast and erratic maneuvers can leave you in awe as they jump, run, and take line from your reel with lightning speed.  Boatman's practices catch and release for all Rainbow Trout for future generations to come. 

Although some Rainbow Trout live in the river year round, the prime fishing season is mid August through October. 

Want to go Rainbow fishing?

Dolly Varden
kenai dolly varden


The Kenai River/Alaska is home to the beautiful Dolly Varden Char.  They have pinkish yellowish spots on their body and have white stripes on their fins.  When spawning in autumn, their bellies and lips turn a vibrant orange.  Also following the Salmon up the river to eat fresh row, the Dolly Varden come in amazing numbers and will not disappoint the fisherman when at the end of their line.  Boatman's practices catch and release for Dolly Varden for future generations. 

Best times to catch Dolly Varden is early August through October.

Silver Salmon
kenai silver salmon


Coho (Silver) Salmon can be the most aggressive of the Salmon Species.  You will be able to find the Silver Salmon arriving in the Kenai River at the end of August through the end of October.  Although the meat on the Silver Salmon does not have the redness of the Sockeye Salmon, it is still a delicious fish that has a fight like no other.  The limit for Silvers varies from time of year to where you are fishing.  Talk to your guide about Silver limits.  Fishing for Silver Salmon usually is out of the drift boat with the use of streamers or spinning gear.  Since they can be a very finicky fish, it is always a great surprise when feeling one strike your streamer!

Best chances to catch Silver Salmon is August 25th to October 31st.

Sockeye Salmon
kenai red salmon


The Kenai River/Alaska has two different runs for Sockeye (Red) Salmon. The first run starts mid June and usually tapers off near the end of the month.  The first run goes mainly up the Russian River.  

Times for fishing the first run are very early to ensure a good fishing spot on the river.  The second run of Reds comes about the second week of July and lasts until about the second week of August.  There are considerably more Sockeye Salmon for the second run.  The majority of them will either spawn in the Kenai River or in tributaries that lead into the Kenai Lake.  The second run of Sockeye Salmon provides more locations where we can target these insanely strong fish.  When fishing for Sockeye Salmon, fishing is done from the shore.  To ensure a good spot on the river, departing times may be very early!  The limit for sockeye may vary depending upon emergency orders or current river conditions, but normally is 3 per day per person.  Get ready for a sore arm!

Best chances to catch Sockeye Salmon is mid to end of June and from the 2nd week of July until 2nd week of August


When the Pacific salmon enter the fresh water from the salt water the spawning process begins.  At this point they will stop eating as they make their way to the spawning grounds.  The Pacific Salmon take on an enormous change the closer they get to spawning. For example, the  body of a Sockeye salmon will turn a bright red and its head green, it will grow gnarly teeth, and the males will grow a big hump on its back.  Once the salmon change color, the meat no longer has the nutrients we need, so they are no longer fished for food.  In contrast to Atlantic salmon, all Pacific salmon die after spawning.  The salmon feed about 200 different animal species and fertilize the lush forests of Alaska with their carcasses.


Sockeye Salmon shortly before spawning. It actually was milting right in this moment. Of course we released it.

After spawning:
Thousands of  salmon carcasses line the shores of the Rivers…

…and help keep the lush Alaskan forests thriving

Boatman's can suggest
local fish packing, freezing and shipping options for your salmon

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