From May to September in Alaska, I specialize in drift boat fishing for salmon on the Kasilof River.
On the Kasilof, king salmon season starts as soon as the ice clears off the river and ends officially July 31. There are two distinct runs of king salmon on the Kasilof. The first is the spring run, which spawns in the Crooked Creek tributary stream. The spring run is a hatchery-enhanced fishery. These fish, which average thirteen to twenty pounds, are marked with a clipped adipose fin. This is important to know because there are hatchery-only days when you can take only clipped-fin fish: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There are also days when an angler is allowed to take either a hatchery or a wild king salmon: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. In my experience, we typically catch around forty percent fin-clipped kings and sixty percent wild fish. In any year you are allowed to kill only three king salmon on the Kasilof River.
As the spring run declines and most of the fish are in the tributaries spawning, we start to see our main July run of fish show up. The first week in July can be slow, but it is also the time when the very large kings run through. Some of these fish can weigh up to seventy pounds and can take an hour to get to the boat. As the month of July pushes on, we see the majority of these fish showing up. These fish average thirty to forty pounds and can get as big as the mid seventy's. This can be a busy time on the Kasilof and normally the last two weeks of July book a year in advance. This is also the most productive time to catch a very large trophy king salmon in Alaska.
Sockeye Salmon are the most abundant and consistent salmon that migrate to the Kasilof River. On average over six million migrate to Cook Inlet and its tributaries. The Kasilof River gets a healthy run of sockeye salmon every year. Sockeye arguably fight harder than any other salmon out there. We like to say, if sockeye got as big as king salmon, you would never be able to land them! But they do not get as big as kings so we are able to target these hearty fighters with fly fishing set ups and other light-weight gear. Sockeye fishing is predominately done from the bank. Our trips start with floating down the scenic upper end of the Kasilof River and making our way farther down the river to where we take the boat to a river bar and then fish from shore. Sockeye fishing is also a great way to learn how to fly fish; if you can swing a rod you can catch a sockeye. These Kasilof River sockeye trips are a great way to spend a day on the river with your family and friends. The bag limits for sockeye on the Kasilof can change. You are currently allowed to keep three sockeye a day. In the chance there is an over abundant run of sockeye (like last year), Alaska Department of Fish and Game will raise the daily limit to six fish a person. Before going out on your own, always check with ADF&G to see what the limits and regulations are on the piece of water you are fishing.
In August, fishing for silver salmon and rainbow trout is one of the biggest attractions to the Kenai Peninsula. Silver salmon is one of the last salmon species to make their journey back to their home waters. They take the long route around the central and western part of Cook Inlet and slowly make their way to the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers on the eastern side of Cook Inlet. Silvers start their run up our rivers in late July and continue into the winter months. Unlike their relatives, the king and sockeye salmon who run the shoreline and near-shore areas, the silvers run more in the middle of the inlet, feeding the whole time. Silvers are voracious feeders and continue this behavior all the way through their spawning cycle. If you want the great Alaska fishing experience in August, try fishing for silver salmon on the Kasilof River.
This year we will not be offering drift boat halibut fishing adventures. I have leased my permit to a different outfitter so I can put all my energy into Kasilof salmon fishing. If you have any questions regarding halibut trips, please let me know and I can recommend some great charter captains in the area.
If you are looking for a great time fishing and a true Alaska experience, then a drift boat trip on the Kasilof River should be on the top of your list. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
To schedule a trip, call or text: (315) 529-4204. Thank you for your interest in Kasilof River Guide, the best in guided drift boat fishing for salmon on the Kasilof River.