Alaska Salmon Fishing, Kenai River, Locations Alaska

Alaska Salmon Fishing: Discover the Kenai

Alaska must be the Mecca of the salmon fishing world. With millions of fish filling its 3,000 rivers, Alaska salmon fishing is one of the state’s biggest tourist draws.

The sheer potential of fishing Alaskan salmon is astounding. Over 750,000 sockeye salmon will return to Alaska’s Kenai River, south of Anchorage, every year – merely one of the five species of wild salmon the state can lay claim to. There is so much salmon in Alaska that catching and processing them provides the state’s largest source of employment.

The Kenai is known as the world’s great sport fishing salmon river. The largest strain of king salmon in the world returns here annually. Huge fish are so common here over the summer months that a higher standard applies for what constitutes a trophy winning catch. The current record for a line caught king salmon sits at 97 pounds.

King salmon run from mid May to July, and August heralds the arrival of silver salmon. Because silver salmon are smaller than the king they’re easily caught by kids, while providing enough fight on the line for more experienced anglers.

The Kasilof River, just south of the Kenai, is less populated with anglers during the summer that its crowded neighbour. Bristol Bay in the southwest in renowned as a great spot for salmon fishing, as is Kodiak Island, known to have the best roadside salmon fishing in Alaska. The abundance of spawning salmon is the reason bears grow so big here!

King salmon is the largest fish in freshwater Alaska, and can live for seven years. King is the least abundant salmon species in North America and can weigh up to 125 pounds.

Red (sockeye) salmon is the most difficult of the state’s five kinds of salmon to catch. They are abundant in July and August and the biggest runs of sockeye are in the south central and southwest of the state.

Silver (coho) salmon spend one or two years in freshwater before migrating to the sea. Originally one of the most desirable species commercially, silver salmon love to fight on the line and make a great fishing experience for visitors. Average weight of 8 to 12 pounds.

Pink (humpback) salmon is the most abundant and the smallest in Alaska, averaging between three and five pounds. Great to eat due to their low fat content, and plentiful in August and September.

Chum salmon are colourful and very willing to take a lure. Found from California to Korea, their dry flesh is well suited to smoking.

Alaska provides a variety of opportunities for salmon fishing. Avid fisherman can go independently, catching air taxis to the best locations, while fishing charters and tours provide everything from cabin living to what you’d expect from a four star hotel. Fish from boat and riverbank; or go by helicopter or air taxi to some of Alaska’s most impressive fishing locations.

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