Freshwater Boating on the Kenai Peninsula
Freshwater fishing opportunities abound across Region 2. All five species of Pacific salmon swim its rivers, and grayling, lake trout, Dolly Varden, Rainbow trout, and northern pike can be found in lakes and rivers throughout the area. The road system allows excellent access to many premium fishing areas, and there are also some great fly-out fishing opportunities in Region 2.
Region 2 contains many road-accessible and remote lakes. Here are some of the most popular ones; simply click the name to learn more about them.
Kenai Peninsula Lakes
Crescent Lake | Fuller Lakes | Hidden Lake | Kenai Lake | Swanson Lakes | Tustemena Lake
The Kenai Peninsula contains several river systems of interest to recreational floaters, including hunters and fishermen. Because this area contains the greatest percentage of the state's road system, it also contains the highest number of road-accessible streams. For floaters who are limited to the road system, this creates an ideal situation where access to some of the state's best rivers are simply a short drive away. On the other side of the coin, ease of access also can mean that these areas are often crowded, particularly on holiday weekends. Floaters looking for an isolated experience can find it in Region 2, but it requires more work than it does in other regions that are mostly or exclusively roadless. Click the river title to read more.
CAUTION: Before embarking on a river trip anywhere in Alaska, do your homework! Double-check your information against details from your air charter, get flow information from the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC), and other floaters. Check our Boating Forums for discussions with people who have been there. If you are not familiar with the characteristics of Alaska's rivers, read our River Information page for a general orientation, and a list of resources to get you started on the learning process.
Anchor River | Granite Creek | Kasilof River | Kenai River, lower | Kenai River, upper | Moose River | Northern Cook Inlet | Ptarmigan Creek | Quartz Creek | Resurrection Creek | Russian River | Sixmile Creek | Swanson Lake Canoe Trails | Trail River
Kenai Peninsula Fishing Opportunities
Fishing throughout this area is excellent for a variety of freshwater and saltwater species. All five species of Pacific salmon are found here, as are halibut, lingcod, rockfish, steelhead, rainbow trout, lake trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, and much more. Because southcentral Alaska offers the best road access in the state, opportunities are excellent for road-based anglers. The Kenai River and the Russian River, arguably two of the best salmon rivers in the entire state, are easily accessed by road, and both offer numerous camping locations and other support amenities for visiting anglers.
If you plan to fish anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula, you need a copy of Dave Atcheson's "Fishing the Kenai Peninsula" in your rig. If you're new to the area, a copy of The Milepost will help you plan your trip, providing maps and detailed information on the locations of campgrounds, cabins, places to eat, fuel stops, and much more. While you're in the bookstore, you might also check out our maps of the Kachemak Bay area, Kenai Lake and Vicinity (includes the upper Kenai River and the Russian River), Kenai River (includes only the middle and lower sections of the river, from Skilak Lake to the mouth), and the Northwestern Kenai Peninsula map, which includes only the areas around Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Kasilof, and Nikiski. These are road maps, but they also show campgrounds, fishing areas, and available species. Finally, check out Scott Haugen's excellent book, "Bank Fishing for Steelhead and Salmon" for excellent tips that will work on the Kenai River, Deep Creek, and other places on the Kenai Peninsula.
Shotgun Cove in the Whittier area offers great shore-based fishing for silvers. Seward is probably the most popular area for shore fishing for silver salmon, and chums and pinks are also available.
Snagging is legal in these areas, and anglers typically use weighted, sharpened treble hooks for this. Sport fishermen use Vibrax spinners, Pixee spoons, or herring or salmon roe fished under a bobber. Roe is especially effective for silvers. Halibut are occasionally caught off the beaches in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik areas, as well as the beaches of the Homer Spit. Use herring or octopus on a sliding sinker rig, and longer heavy surf-casting rods to heave your offerings well out past the surf zone for the best results. The water here is relatively shallow; expect depths of less than 25 feet. And, as always, check the fishing regulations for this area to ensure you are legal.
The "Fishing Hole"
The Homer Spit also offers a unique opportunity to catch silvers and king salmon in "The Fishing Hole", an artificial cove built onto the spit a number of years ago. Salmon fry are stocked in this cove, and the adults return to this area to spawn. These fish are caught using roe or troll-sized herring drifted under a float, spoons, spinners, fly tackle, and snagging. The Fishing Hole is located on your right as you travel along the Homer Spit, just before you get to the small boat harbor. Sea-run Dolly Varden are also available on the Homer Spit, and can occasionally be found in the Fishing hole.
Check the ADF&G website for details on the following available saltwater species.
Atka Mackerel | Black Cod | Chum Salmon | Cutthroat Trout | Dolly Varden | Halibut | King Salmon | Lingcod | Pink Salmon | Pollock | Red Salmon | Salmon Shark | Silver Salmon | Steelhead | Yelloweye Rockfish
For details on specific fishing areas on the Kenai Peninsula, including amenities and equipment/service providers in these locations, please visit our pages on the following areas: