The Kenai River provides phenomenal access to unparalleled salmon fishing and each year millions of salmon make their long journey up the waters of the Kenai River to reach their spawning grounds. The Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon sonar project is located approximately 19 miles upstream from the mouth of the Kenai River. The estimated travel time for sockeye salmon to reach this site once they have entered the Kenai River can be quite variable, ranging from approximately 24 hours to 72 hours.
The Kenai River experiences two runs of Sockeye Salmon, or “Reds.” Peak fishing on the Upper River is historically from June 11th until July 1st. The second run, which is typically the larger of the two, is from July 15th through August 10th.
These impressive fish average around eight pounds. Hooking in to one of these giants is sure to keep your heart pumping and your adrenaline levels high. But once the blood, sweat, and tears is conquered, the gratification and feeling of accomplishment for your FISH ON is simply unparalleled. When fishing on the Kenai River, is is not uncommon at all to see Sockeye Salmon that have sea-lice (a parasite that drops off after 24 hours of being in fresh water) approximately 50 miles upriver. They are fast swimmers that are filled with stamina & endurance & tend to provide the wildest fight of all salmon.
The number of sockeye entering the river has remained relatively stable and fishing is fair, according to Fish and Game fishing reports. The red salmon have yet to enter the Kenai River en masse, though the thriving personal-use dipnet fishery has seen fair success at the mouth of the Kenai River as the run continues to progress.
In the last week alone just over 20, 538 Sockeye Salmon have pushed up into the river, making the cumulative YTD count approximately 343,470 according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Fish Count Data Search. Beginning in 2011, ADF&G began counting escapement at Kenai River mile 19 using DIDSON rather than the old Bendix sonar. Due to the change in sonar technology, the sustainable escapement goal for Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon was changed to 700,000 – 1,200,000 fish counted using DIDSON sonar.
The bag limit on the Kasilof has been increased to 6 per day and 12 in possession while the personal use dipnet fishery on that river has seen its area expanded from the mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge as Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers work to control the escapement of red salmon up the river.
On the Russian River, sockeye salmon fishing my improve over the next few days as late-run reds migrate through the Kenai River, according to Fish and Game’s fishing report.
In the Lower Cook Inlet, sockeye have been returning to the Tutka Bay Lagoon alongside pink salmon returns.
Many avid fisherman (and women) also keep the Salmon Roe to later cure and use as bait when fishing for other species. Talk about total utilization of your catch! The Kenai River offers an abundance of subsistence living practices.
Once you catch your very own limit of Sockeye Salmon, you can fillet your meat and used it to make many delicious meals. You can slow smoke it for a tasty “grab and go” treat or to use it in a variety of recipes! For directions on how to smoke your own wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon this season, click HERE!
Another great option is canning your delicious Sockeye Salmon fillets. We love to use canned salmon in pastas, chowders, and patties. But there are a tons of different things that you can do with delicious, sustainable canned Sockeye Salmon. For instructions on how to can your salmon this season, click HERE!
Grilling your wild Alaska Salmon or cooking it on cedar planks, are another couple of healthy options with favorite that is jam-packed with heart healthy benefits and loads of yummy Omega 3 fatty acids. For more information on the health benefits of eating Wild, Natural, Sustainable Alaska seafood, click HERE! The possibilities in the kitchen (or on the grill) are endless, but one thing is for sure… the eatin’ is very, very good! For more delicious recipes, click HERE!
At the end of the day, one thing is for certain; it’s hard to say “no” to spending a day submerged in this beautiful landscape that we are ever-so fortunate to call our backyard! Until next time, get out and enjoy The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!