Area Sport Fishing Reports
December through April Season
Don't forget your sport fishing license expires at the end of the day on December 31. Remember to purchase next year’s sport fishing license through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game online store, at local ADF&G offices, or vendors. A sport fishing license and king stamp make a great gift that keeps on giving all year long.
Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklets are good until the following years booklet is issued. Look for new Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklets between March and May. You can pick up a copy of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet at your local ADF&G offices, vendors, or view it online.
Coho salmon fishing is closed on the Kenai River. Anglers are reminded that the coho salmon bag and possession limits, seasonal closures, and regulations vary by section (Lower, Middle, and Upper) of the Kenai River. Please review the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for regulations specific to coho salmon fishing on the Kenai River and other Kenai Peninsula freshwaters.
The Upper Kenai River and Russian River are open to fishing through 11:59 p.m. April 30, as is the ¼ mile section of Kenai Lake just upstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge in Cooper Landing.
The Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake to the mouth of the Upper Killey River is open to fishing through 11:59 p.m. April 30. The remainder of the Middle and Lower Kenai River downstream of the Upper Killey River confluence remains open through 11:59 p.m. June 30. Please refer to the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for more information.
These waters are single hook, unbaited, unweighted, fly with a gap between point and shank of 3/8 inch or less. The fly must weigh less than ¼ oz. If weights are used, they must be at least 18 inches ahead of the fly. A single hook has only one point, with or without a barb. Bag and possession limits for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden are one fish each, less than 16 inches in length.
The Kasilof River is also single-hook, unbaited, artificial lure or fly only, through May 15. Rainbow and steelhead trout may not be retained and may not be removed from the water before releasing.
In all flowing waters, beads fished ahead of flies, lures, or bare hooks must be fixed within two inches of the hook or be free sliding on the entire length of the line or leader.
Fishing for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden can be slow to fair if weather and water conditions allow.
By December, the ice on the smaller lakes is usually thick enough for safe travel (6 inches plus for foot traffic, 12 inches plus for vehicle). Hidden Lake may also have safe ice. Ice conditions on Kenai Lake and Skilak Lake are extremely variable from year to year. Some years, there is open water all winter. Other years there can be three feet of ice, especially near shore. Drill or chop test holes before going out too far on any ice-covered waterway.
Traveling on the ice is at your own risk. Remember ice thickness fluctuates and can vary depending on the lake and location and timing of the year. ADF&G does not monitor ice thickness. For ice and snowpack conditions on state or federal lands, call Alaska State Parks in Soldotna at (907) 262-5581 or the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge at (907) 260-2820.
Once there is enough ice, fishing for stocked rainbow trout, Arctic char, and landlocked salmon is excellent. There are 25 lakes throughout the northern Kenai Peninsula area that are stocked. Anglers use small jigs, spinners, flies, or, where legal, fresh shrimp or preserved salmon roe. Publications describing these lakes are available online and at ADF&G offices in Anchorage, Soldotna, and Homer. Make sure to check out the ADF&G fish stocking and the ADF&G Alaska Lakes Database (ALDAT) webpages for up-to-date information.
There are many wild lakes in the area to fish at as well. Try Swanson River Road lakes or lakes on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.