Kenai River Fishing Charters

28 Fishing Charters

Kenai River Fishing Charters

Search top fishing charters in Kenai River

Top Kenai River Destinations

Kenai River: 28 fishing charters available
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(59 reviews)
Cooper Landing
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $800
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(49 reviews)
Kenai
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $900
Excellent
4.8 / 5
(25 reviews)
Cooper Landing
trips from $200
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(27 reviews)
Kenai
trips from $150
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Soldotna
 Instant Confirmation
Excellent
4.8 / 5
(66 reviews)
Cooper Landing
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $200
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(119 reviews)
Sterling
 Instant Confirmation
Excellent
4.6 / 5
(13 reviews)
Kenai
trips from $250
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(26 reviews)
Sterling
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $200
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(1 review)
Sterling
trips from $225

Frequently Asked Questions about Fishing Charters in Kenai River

According to customer reviews, some of the most popular fishing charters in Kenai River are: Full list of top fishing charters in Kenai River

The average price for a private 4 hour Kenai River fishing trip is $565, while an 8 hour private trip will cost you $978 based on prices on FishingBooker.com.

Fishing charters in Kenai River that received great reviews from families are:

The top 3 fish species targeted on guided fishing trips in Kenai River are:

The top 3 fishing techniques in Kenai River are:

The top 3 types of fishing in Kenai River are:

Many fishing charters in Kenai River provide rods, reels and tackle. Some of the top rated are:

According to customer reviews on FishingBooker.com, some of the best rated charter captains in Kenai River are:

Some of the fishing trips offered by fishing charters in Kenai River are:
  • 4-hour fishing trips – $410
  • 5-hour fishing trips – $460
  • 6-hour fishing trips – $705
  • 7-hour fishing trips – $350
  • 8-hour fishing trips – $575
  • 9-hour fishing trips – $263

Each summer, anglers the world over spend the hottest months of the year on the Kenai River fishing for some of the largest Salmon and Trout they’ll ever see. The Kenai begins in Cooper Landing, flows west through Skilak Lake, and eventually empties into Cook Inlet—spanning little over 80 miles in total. While it’s not the largest river known to anglers, it is the most renowned and frequented fishing spot in Alaska. Lifelong pros and beginners alike cast a line here for record-breaking King (Chinook) Salmon, trophy Rainbow Trout, and color-changing Dolly Varden.

Located on the Kenai Peninsula and just a 2-hour drive from Anchorage, some parts of the river are relatively accessible by local standards. For those who are eager to escape the hustle and bustle, however, a journey downstream into the remote reaches of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will do just the trick. Rest assured there’s a memorable catch no matter where the current takes you, and plenty of Kenai River fishing guides to help you reel it in. Whether you’re an avid angler or just an adventurous spirit, welcome to this little slice of heaven.

The Kenai River’s Top Catches

King (Chinook) Salmon

The lower Kenai River is Alaska’s premier fishing spot for King Salmon. For those who believe in going big or going home, there’s no better place to land the largest of the Pacific Salmon species. The waters running from Skilak Lake to Cook inlet have witnessed many IGFA line class records for this fish, with the local record still standing at 97 lbs 4 oz.

You can expect good to excellent King Salmon fishing on the Kenai starting in late May (if the legal season is open). By June, the lower part of the river is crowded with boats full of anglers who are eager to land the next record-breaking fish. Many navigate the deep, smooth-flowing water of the lower Kenai in drift boats or power boats, often backtrolling with spinning or conventional gear. Timing is everything when it comes to Kings, and once hooked, they take off like a freight train.

Red (Sockeye) Salmon

The Kenai River gets double runs of both King and Red (Sockeye) Salmon, which overlap in June. The earliest Reds arrive in the middle of the month, but the peak season for this species really gets underway from late July through August. While you can certainly fish for Kings and Reds at the same time, you won’t always find the best of these two species in the same places. The shallow, swift-flowing currents in the upper Kenai tend to produce better Red Salmon fishing. In years that end with an even number, this species is joined by hordes of Pink Salmon.

Reds are the least aggressive of local Salmon, but they are one of the most numerous and hard-fighting. This makes for an especially thrilling experience, since they are hard to hook and even harder to reel in! If this is your target fish, plan to hire a savvy guide and prepare to spend a few hours patiently waiting before you get a bite. Enticing a bite from these fish usually means swinging a fly directly in front of them multiple times. With millions of Red Salmon swimming through the Kenai each season, those who master the secret to catching them can hook as many as 50 in a day.

Silver (Coho) Salmon

When it comes to sheer fighting action, Silver (Coho) Salmon take the cake. These are the most aggressive and acrobatic of the Pacific species. In this respect, the Kenai River saves the best for last, bringing these showstoppers to the stage in August. The river’s peak season for Silver Salmon coincides with the peak season for Rainbow Trout, giving light tackle and fly anglers a chance to make the most of their day on the water. It’s common to navigate the upper Kenai in a drift boat or inflatable raft before stopping and wading into the current to cast. If you cast your line early in the morning, you can expect these fish to strike just about any bait on a good day.

Rainbow Trout

Amongst fly fishermen, Trout fishing on the Kenai River is almost as legendary as the local Salmon fishing. From mid August through fall, you can hook into some real trophies around here. The last several miles of the upper Kenai—known as The Canyon—boast some of the biggest Rainbows. Here, it’s common to cast from a drift boat, since the water below Skilak Lake is deeper and there’s less opportunity to make use of the shoreline. Trips to this part of the river are weather dependent.

You can expect most Kenai River fishing guides to provide spinning and fly fishing gear, but you’re typically welcome to bring your own, as well. A 7-10 weight rod is recommended, along with a large arbor reel spooled up with a good drag system. A weight forward floating line is ideal, and don’t be afraid to overline by a couple of sizes.

Dolly Varden

This member of the Char family is another source of light tackle action, typically weighing 1-5 lbs. You’ll find the look of this fish as pleasing as the fight it puts on. Spawning in fall, Dolly Varden change from a chrome-silver color with light pink spots to a deep green shade. Their fins and bellies turn orange and a stunning white stripe appears along the edge of their lower fins. Catching one of these beauties can be an unexpected highlight in any Kenai River fishing experience. Local fish typically measure 18-28”, with a few 30-inchers thrown in.

Dolly Varden are abundant at the same time of year as Rainbow Trout, and you will have great success fishing for them on the same tackle. If you’re relying on spinning gearing, bring a light rod with a reel holding about 200 yards of 10 lb test line.

Need to Know

Kenai River fishing guides typically provide everything you need, including tackle, bait, and anything else that may be appropriate such as flies and hip waders. Of course, you are welcome to bring your own gear if you prefer, just make sure you discuss this with your guide ahead of time so they can help you come prepared.

Whether you plan on hiring a guide or fishing alone, be sure to bring an Alaska fishing license (available online). A freshwater license is required for residents age 18 and above, and non-residents 16 or older. If you plan on catching and keeping King Salmon, you will also need to buy a special stamp.

Bear in mind that it’s not always legal to fish for Salmon in the Kenai River. Regulations vary depending on what section of the river you plan to fish and your target species. In general, King Salmon are open to harvest on the lower Kenai during most months, but you may not be able to fish for them in the upper Kenai. The fishing season on the upper Kenai is closed during May in some years.

Trout and Dolly Varden are open to harvest year-round (size and bag limits apply).

You can read more about regulations in specific areas of the river on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.

Kenai River
Excellent
4.5 / 5
Based on 27942 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

January

Winters blues got you down? Head to Seward for the annual Polar Bear Jump! Put on your funniest costume and plunge into the bay to help raise money for the Alaska Division of the American Cancer Society.

February

Average temperatures barely tip the scale past 20°F in February. The Kenai hosts Dolly Varden and Trout, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a buddy who’s willing to hit the river with you at this time of year.

March

Average temperatures are creeping higher, finally hovering above 30°F. Many local anglers head to Homer for the Winter King Salmon Tournament for a chance to reel in massive saltwater Kings.

April

With the river’s main fishing season still one month away, you’ve got time to practice casting for Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden without rubbing elbows with tourists.

May

King Salmon are the first to arrive, with the first run beginning in mid-May. You can expect superb fishing for this species from the start—just make sure the legal season is open. 

June

The King Salmon run is in full swing, and the first run of Red (Sockeye) Salmon will be showing up around mid-month. Crowds of anglers from far and wide will start showing up this month. 

July

Fishing on the Kenai River is all about Kings and Reds at this time of year. The lower river will be crammed with drift boats and anglers eager to land the next record-breaking fish!

August

Just as King Salmon start to take their leave, Silvers (Coho) arrive in time to keep things interesting! By mid-August, many anglers on the river will be locals keen on landing Reds, Silvers, and the last of the Kings. 

September

If you’ve had your fill of Salmon fishing, this is the perfect time to set your sights on the Kenai River’s stellar Trout fishing. Dolly Varden are also entering their peak at this time.

October

For those who don’t shy away from a little nip in the air, fall can produce some excellent light tackle and fly fishing for Dolly Varden and Rainbow Trout. You may even land a Steelhead. 

November

Most Kenai River fishing guides will stop guiding in winter, as average temperatures dip below 30°F. Savvy anglers who aren’t afraid to go it alone can still have a successful day on the water.

December

If there’s one thing locals on the Kenai know how to do, it’s ringing in the holiday season! The Holiday Weekend in Seward is just one way to kick off the season with craft shows, tree lighting, and more.

Kenai River fishing calendar

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Make plans with your guide before booking your room. They may be able to help you find a good place and a better deal right in Cooper landing. I booked a room in Soldotna before I made fishing plans and spent a little extra time traveling. It wasn't too bad, but it would have been nicer to be right there.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Make plans with your guide before booking your room. They may be able to help you find a good place and a better deal right in Cooper landing. I booked a room in Soldotna before I made fishing plans and spent a little extra time traveling. It wasn't too bad, but it would have been nicer to be right there.
Kevin  G.
Kevin G. United States
First time salmon fishing and first time salmon fishing on the river. The fishing is sitting right off the bank anchored down while you lure is diving close to the bottom from the current. Just a lot of sitting waiting for a bite.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
First time salmon fishing and first time salmon fishing on the river. The fishing is sitting right off the bank anchored down while you lure is diving close to the bottom from the current. Just a lot of sitting waiting for a bite.
Christopher  M.
Christopher M. Anchorage, Alaska
Being rain grear and waterproof boots, Don’t expect a guarantee to catch salmon.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Being rain grear and waterproof boots, Don’t expect a guarantee to catch salmon.
Marie  P.
Marie P. Dalton Gardens, ID
check the dates; mid to late july for reds, mid august for silvers. We went in between and it really didn't work out.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
check the dates; mid to late july for reds, mid august for silvers. We went in between and it really didn't work out.
John  C.
John C. Atascadero, CA
Bring warm clothes & a face mask. It turned into a nice sunny day but ride in the boat was chilly.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Bring warm clothes & a face mask. It turned into a nice sunny day but ride in the boat was chilly.
Alicia  M.
Alicia M. Honolulu, HI
July is on and off just like a lot of people talk about. But if you take your crew there and keep lines in the water there's a good chance you'll have Salmon for dinner
Excellent
5.0 / 5
July is on and off just like a lot of people talk about. But if you take your crew there and keep lines in the water there's a good chance you'll have Salmon for dinner
Christopher  B.
Christopher B. Frisco, CO
If you're after Salmon, pay very close attention to the timing of the Runs and what is happening with the Dip Netting. In hindsight, we should have gone to the Kasilof or down to Seward as both had many more fish than the Kenai during the time we had available.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
If you're after Salmon, pay very close attention to the timing of the Runs and what is happening with the Dip Netting. In hindsight, we should have gone to the Kasilof or down to Seward as both had many more fish than the Kenai during the time we had available.
Jacob  K.
Jacob K. Stillwater, Minnesota
Bring a change of clothes, in case you fall down in the river the current is quite strong.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Bring a change of clothes, in case you fall down in the river the current is quite strong.
Paul  G.
Paul G. United States
Book with Mike, excellent experience , even though in between Salmon runs he took us rite to where he thought fish might be hanging. We limited out in several hours. Thanks Mike, Rick and Tina
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Book with Mike, excellent experience , even though in between Salmon runs he took us rite to where he thought fish might be hanging. We limited out in several hours. Thanks Mike, Rick and Tina
Rick  L.
Rick L. Washington, NJ
Know the regulations, where to go and potential hazards of certain areas- using a guide or going with a local for the first time would be highly recommended
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Know the regulations, where to go and potential hazards of certain areas- using a guide or going with a local for the first time would be highly recommended
Scott  S.
Scott S. Holiday Lakes, TX
Great river to fish. When I was there the river was high, so it will always depend on the conditions at the time of your planned trip. Beginning of July 2023.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Great river to fish. When I was there the river was high, so it will always depend on the conditions at the time of your planned trip. Beginning of July 2023.
Matthew  H.
Matthew H. Manassas, Virginia
Have a plan for your catch. Grocery stores have coolers you can transport fish home in, local processors can freeze and ship them, or you could catch and release. Ask your guides what the nearby options are and the price range for each.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Have a plan for your catch. Grocery stores have coolers you can transport fish home in, local processors can freeze and ship them, or you could catch and release. Ask your guides what the nearby options are and the price range for each.
Matt  S.
Matt S. Austin, TX
Watch some YouTube videos and be proactive in talking with your guide. Don't be afraid of learning and getting into it. Definitely bring a rain jacket and be willing to adapt your times to get the best catch and don't forget to enjoy the beautiful area and have fun!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Watch some YouTube videos and be proactive in talking with your guide. Don't be afraid of learning and getting into it. Definitely bring a rain jacket and be willing to adapt your times to get the best catch and don't forget to enjoy the beautiful area and have fun!
Seth  A.
Seth A.
Listen to your guide, they care about you catching fish and having a great time
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Listen to your guide, they care about you catching fish and having a great time
Nathan  L.
Nathan L. Plant City, FL
It was cold, we fished on June 2 before salmon season was open. None the less,we had fun and caught 10 fish in half a day. Dress in layers then add an extra one.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
It was cold, we fished on June 2 before salmon season was open. None the less,we had fun and caught 10 fish in half a day. Dress in layers then add an extra one.
Deborah  S.
Deborah S. Tice, FL
Make sure to book during one of the salmon runs. The guide was great but the but the fishing was hard.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Make sure to book during one of the salmon runs. The guide was great but the but the fishing was hard.
Ira  S.
Ira S. Rockwall, TX
Get a great guide like Nate. Nate took the guesswork out of fishing the great spots on the Kenai. All you have to do is show up and be willing to listen and you will have a great trip to remember. Lots and lots of fish!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Get a great guide like Nate. Nate took the guesswork out of fishing the great spots on the Kenai. All you have to do is show up and be willing to listen and you will have a great trip to remember. Lots and lots of fish!
Scott  A.
Scott A. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Buy your license at Fred Meyer...very easy. If you catch a king salmon you will not be able to fish for the rest of the trip, but you can enjoy the boat ride.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Buy your license at Fred Meyer...very easy. If you catch a king salmon you will not be able to fish for the rest of the trip, but you can enjoy the boat ride.
Dennis  R.
Dennis R. Vancouver, WA
If you really want to catch fish. You need at least a few days. with 1 day ,do not complain about no fish result (target is King salmon.)
Excellent
4.7 / 5
If you really want to catch fish. You need at least a few days. with 1 day ,do not complain about no fish result (target is King salmon.)
Yoshi  S.
Yoshi S. Fort Payne, AL
Fishing in June is great because we got there before the big tourist season and didn’t have to fight the croweds.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Fishing in June is great because we got there before the big tourist season and didn’t have to fight the croweds.
Travis  B.
Travis B. Homer, AK

Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Managed to catch 2 Silvers (missed 2 - didn't get them in the boat!), nevertheless, we enjoyed our day on the beautiful Kenai River. Our last 30 minutes sitting in our spot we started in, a beautiful Eagle landed in the tree right next to us on the bank. What a great way to end the day as the sun was setting. Book Scout Lake Adventures for your next fishing trip!
Tonisha  E.
Tonisha E.
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Highly recommended. Very experienced guide knows what is doing will get you on the fish.
Sangkoo  P.
Sangkoo P. United States
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
We went on a honeymoon fishing trip with Captain Robert. We had such a fun time and caught limits for the both of us. Captain was knowledgeable about the fisheries, fun to chat with and even took us to look for Eagles after we finished fishing. He had all the good gear and had a heater to keep us warm, it was a chilly morning! It was an adventure we wont forget! We will definitely be back to fish with Captain Robert with our family. Thank you!
Kaitlin  D.
Kaitlin D. Kenai, AK
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
4.3 / 5
(25 reviews)
Capt. Ron is an excellent guide and has a great command of the oars as well as the best trout spots on the Upper Kenai. We had a great time.
Clayton  B.
Clayton B. Sterling, Alaska
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Fishing was slow due to the flooding on the Kenai. We did however catch a few and Robert was very pleasant and personable. We would definitely fish with him again
Paul  G.
Paul G.
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(25 reviews)
Ron is a truly excellent guide and excellent conversationalist. He has a fantastic knowledge of the river and has a fishing technique for every aspect and area to ensure that there never a dull moment.
Chad  L.
Chad L. Tacoma, Washington
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(25 reviews)
Had a great day of fly fishing from boat and shore. Had a variety of gear to use. Was an excellent time. Would do it again.
Rebecca  V.
Rebecca V. Harrisville, UT
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Had a great time despite the cold, rain, and slow bite. We only caught four silvers total but it’s been slow for everyone.
Christopher  M.
Christopher M. Anchorage, Alaska
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(25 reviews)
For My wife and I, this was our first time fly fishing and captain Ron was great with explaining and showing us what to do, what to use, where to do it and why. He knows where all the best areas in the river are, we had a great day with him. Thanks Captain Ron
Ron  A.
Ron A. Washington, MI
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(25 reviews)
Only regret was not booking a full day. Would highly recommend: 10/10 experience.
Nicholas  T.
Nicholas T. Charlotte, NC
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Captain Bob got our group of three out on a trip with short notice and in tough fishing conditions. He did a great job of getting us into fish and we were able to walk away with some fish for the freezer. It was enjoyable to spend several hours on the water with him. Would highly recommend a trip. I hope to be back.
Ryan  H.
Ryan H. Salt Lake City, UT
Peninsula Sportfishing – Kenai River
Peninsula Sportfishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Sterling
Excellent
4.7 / 5
(119 reviews)
Great afternoon in the water with my family. Limited out and took home 40+ lbs of filets. Captain was knowledgeable and great with kids. Recommend.
Daniel  V.
Daniel V. Portland, OR
King of the River – Powerboat
King of the River – Powerboat
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(143 reviews)
Cole is a great Captain. Although my timing and the weather weren’t ideal for the late Silver “run”, Cole set us up on fish early and communicated with other fishermen in the area to continue to land us fish. Cole was super easy to talk with as he gave us fishing tips and things to look for and do while we were visiting. I will definitely see him again on my next trip to Kenai.
Kenneth  R.
Kenneth R. Stanton, TX
Peninsula Sportfishing – Kenai River
Peninsula Sportfishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Sterling
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(119 reviews)
Not being much of fisherman I wasn’t sure what expect but thanks to Jerod I caught several salmon. Fun day and experience. I highly recommend Jerod if you are looking for an experienced fishing guide
Thomas  C.
Thomas C. Homer, Alaska
Scout Lake Adventures
Scout Lake Adventures
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Capt Robert knows this river and can put you on the fish of your dreams…. We had a challenging bite today and the captain worked hard to finish strong and not only put fish in the boat when other captains were struggling,but make the wives happy with a comfortable day on the big river… thanks Captain, we will see you in 2024! Matt and Rick Bilodeau
Matt  B.
Matt B. Cambridge, VT
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Ron Doebler Fly Fishing – Kenai River
Fishing charter in Cooper Landing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(25 reviews)
Great trip...Ron was very patient and helpful withe boys 13 & 11...they thought it was awesome! Would definitely recommend Ron as your fishing guide.
Donna  G.
Donna G. Lakewood, CO
Secret Waters Guide Service
Secret Waters Guide Service
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
My mom and I had a very nice time on the river with Captain Kurtis and kept 2 silvers and one sockeye. We also caught a Jack (lil King) and a small Dally Varden. There can be quite a bit of waiting time for the tide to come up the river and carry the fish along with it.
Justin  S.
Justin S.
Alaska Slammin Salmon Charters
Alaska Slammin Salmon Charters
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(65 reviews)
Everything was amazing and nice, we got the best experience about fishing. Highly recommend it.
Mariana  T.
Mariana T. Westmont, IL
ChasingTales Alaska
ChasingTales Alaska
Fishing charter in Sterling
Excellent
4.7 / 5
(26 reviews)
What a wonderful trip!! Trip of a lifetime for me. Check that one off the bucket list!! ✔️🎣Wade fishing In Alaska! Not much more to say! Slow day fishing, but didn’t spoil it for me!!! William was a great guide, very informative, very nice, kind young man!!
Cheryl  W.
Cheryl W. Sandy Hook, MS
Secret Waters Guide Service
Secret Waters Guide Service
Fishing charter in Kenai
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(27 reviews)
Capt Kurtis was punctual, pleasant, and very helpful getting us lined out for fishing. Very pleasant, nice man. Boat was comfortable.
Dennis  E.
Dennis E. Lecoma, MO