Kenai Lake

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Fishing in Kenai Lake

Fishing in Kenai Lake isn’t reserved for hard-core anglers. Anyone in need of an exciting adventure far north is welcome to come fishing on these mesmerizing glacier waters. Does the thought of cold winters in Alaska immediately give you chills? Don’t worry. The fishing season is open during summer, so you can leave your snowsuit at home.
 
The lake and its tributaries are home to a variety of game fish. You can expect great King Salmon fishing in late May and early June. In July, Sockeye Salmon take the spotlight, followed by Coho Salmon in August. Coho is the most aggressive type of Salmon and a real treat for every angler willing to put up a fight. September brings fly fishing adventures and trophy-sized Rainbow Trout. The end of the season is marked by stunning, color-changing Dolly Varden.
 
These waters hold some of the largest King (Chinook) Salmon in the area, and there are several IGFA records to prove it. If you’re after Salmon specifically, however, look for a guided trip downstream to the lower parts of the Kenai River, since Salmon fishing is off limits in the lake.
 
Trips vary from four to nine hours, depending on how much time you want to spend on the water. The best departure point for Kenai Lake is Cooper Landing, but if you want to fish downstream, look for guides around Soldotna. 
 

Rules & Regulations

A freshwater license is needed for all non-resident anglers over 16 and resident anglers over 18. You can get your Alaska fishing license online. If you intend to catch and keep King Salmon, you need a special stamp. 
 
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Kenai Lake Fishing Seasons

The beginning of the year is not an ideal time for a trip because fish barely move. You’re better off making plans for the summer season.
 
Some Trout can be found in the lake this time of year, but you’ll hardly find a guide willing to take you out in the cold!
 
Interested in catching a trophy King Salmon? Head to Homer for the Winter King Salmon Tournament. Meanwhile, the action on Kenai Lake won’t be picking up anytime soon. 
 
Rainbow Trout show up in larger numbers come April, but the fishing season has yet to begin. You might find a guide who’s willing to take you out on the water early.
 
Close to the end of the month, you can expect amazing King Salmon action in the Kenai River. Be sure to check if the season is officially open, since this changes every year.
 
King Salmon rules the local fishing scene in June. If you decide to stay on the lake, you can target Dolly Varden and Trout.
 
The King shares the throne with Sockeye Salmon in July. Sockeye is usually found in the upper part of the river, which is closer to Kenai Lake.
 
In August, another Salmon joins the game – Coho. This acrobatic fish is not easy to catch. Are you ready for a challenge?
 
You can still find lots of Coho Salmon in the river. If staying on the lake sounds better, target Trout and Dolly Varden.
 
This is the last chance for a great fishing trip before the season ends. Catch a trophy Trout! Even better, land it on a fly!
 
Most fishing guides and boats are out of the water. If you find someone to take you on a trip, you can target Steelhead and Dolly Varden.
 
The end of the year doesn’t bring much in the way of fishing adventures. You can enjoy the holidays and attend festive events if you’re in the area.
 

Kenai Lake Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Kenai Lake

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Sockeye)

Salmon (Sockeye)