The Kenai River regulations are released each spring by the Alaska Department of Fish and game for the upcoming season. Our latest installment came out this April and I am glad to share this information with you here. We’ve often joked that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game makes the Kenai regulations read a bit like a choose your own ending comic book! They are definitely good to go through and over before you venture out on our wonderful Alaska waters. There are different sections for the different sections of the Kenai River, the Upper Kenai, the Middle Kenai, and the Lower Kenai. Review any and all sections as needed, but here are some important takeaways for the Upper Kenai River where we mostly fish.
Upper Kenai River Fishing Regulations
- The Upper Kenai River is closed to King Salmon fishing, always. The Upper Kenai waters are their prime spawning grounds, so we do not target kings here. Click here for a little note from us about Kenai River King salmon fishing in general.
- The Upper Kenai River is closed to all fishing May 1- June 10. That means that June 11th is the holy, exciting, celebrated “opening day” when the fishing magic happens.
- There are tackle restrictions: Only one unbaited, single hook, artificial lure or fly is allowed year-round. The gap between point and shank must be ⅜ inch or less. In flowing waters, beads fished ahead of flies, lures, or bare hooks must be fixed within 2 inches of the hook or be free to slide on the entire length of the line or leader.
- There are more tackle restrictions: A section of the Upper Kenai near the Russian River confluence is “fly-fishing only”, definitely a good thing to study in the regulations if you are not familiar.
- And many more! To really get the scoop on the rest of seasons and limits you really must delve in and look around. Enjoy perusing the document.
Kenai River Fishing Regulations for 2020
Well happy June, everyone! With all the craziness going on and keeping everyone updated with the pandemic procedures and such, we realize that we forgot to update you guys on the Kenai River fishing regulations for the 2020 season.
We always recommend that you review these before you go out on a fantastic Kenai River fishing trip on your own. The regs are always helpful for planning, so check them out!
We are t-minus 8 days away from opening day on the Upper Kenai for 2020. We are just going with the flow and handling this unprecedented fishing season as it unfolds. We are on the watch for locusts, zombies, and also the eruption of a local volcano. After the Swan Lake fire last summer, we thought certainly that we would be in the clear for a while. It seems we operate from a place of excitement mixed with trepidation now, as we literally wait for the other shoe to drop (but there should be only 2 shoes, right?!)
We are hopeful, though, and looking forward to this understandably quiet fishing season ahead. It’s like we love to say, (and is written on a giant sticker on the bow of our family johnboat) “Beyond every cloud, there is a rainbow!” A Kenai River rainbow trout, that is!!
Speaking of clouds, they have been wonderfully present lately, sprinkling the land with showers, and hugging close to the mountains giving us that sense of the cool temperate rainforest that we’ve been missing. There is still time to check for some delicious morels in the forest before we switch our harvest mode to our favorite meal of all, the bright Russian River sockeye salmon that will be squirting up the river on their first run in no time.
Here’s wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and peaceful fishing season this year. Stay safe you guys and we will see you out on the water!
Fear not, when you are on a Kenai River guided fishing trip with us, we will keep you on the right side of all the laws. To our friends and neighbors, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on this information again before you hit the water this season. We can’t wait to see you all on the river. Happy fishing!
Questions about Kenai River Fishing Regulations?
We are happy to help! Contact us today and we will help you sort through the complexities of the Kenai River fishing regulations!
For additional information contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka or Assistant Area Management Biologist Jenny gates at (907) 262-9368.