Written by stvchin on 15 Aug, 2013
The Kenai Peninsula, especially around the Kenai River, is world famous for salmon fishing. Each summer, thousands upon thousands of anglers from all over the world descend upon the Kenai Peninsula to fish the Kenai River and its tributaries, in the hopes of catching salmon.…Read More
The Kenai Peninsula, especially around the Kenai River, is world famous for salmon fishing. Each summer, thousands upon thousands of anglers from all over the world descend upon the Kenai Peninsula to fish the Kenai River and its tributaries, in the hopes of catching salmon. That includes us.The Kenai River is easily reachable via the Sterling Highway. Cooper Landing, along the Sterling Highway, is one of the more popular places to get onto the river and start fishing. It’s where the Kenai River meets Kenai Lake. The banks of the river are deep with anglers fully engaged in "combat fishing." Combat fishing is where anglers crowd the banks of the river to fish, jockeying for position, sometimes they are as close as 5-10 feet away from each other. Unfortunately, sometimes the combat becomes literal as the close proximities and hooks flying around create short tempers. But regardless, salmon fishing is usually a fun and relaxing activity. Just don't forget the fishing license, as the fish and game do check licenses. You can easily buy a license almost anywhere, convenience stores, lodges, supermarkets, some gas stations, etc.Starting around early July through the end of July, king salmon make their run up the Kenai River. In late July to early August, the sockeye, or red salmon make their runs. Known for their distinctive red flesh, the red salmon are usually caught using flies, as lures nor bait attract them. Starting in August, the silver salmon make their runs. The silvers are known for being ferocious fighters. Not only can you fish for silvers along the Kenai and its tributaries, but they are also found along the edges of Resurrection Bay, near Seward. At around the same time as the silver salmon run, pink salmon also show up. I’m very fortunate that my family keeps a cabin on the Kenai River near mile marker 44. Our cabin directly backs to the river, giving us direct access to wade out behind our cabin to fish. When we feel like fishing, we put on the hip boots or waders and wander into the Kenai River. Personally, I find that fishing in the morning hours before 11 AM and fishing after 8 PM seem to be the best hours. I’ve been told that the fish make themselves scare during the middle of the day, as during these hours, the fish are more visible in the water to natural predators, such as bears and eagles. I do find the morning and evening hours, I do catch more salmon. Most of my salmon were caught around 11 PM to 12:30 AM. Remember, this is Alaska in the summertime, and there’s still fairly abundant sunlight at this time.One thing I really like about fishing is that it does immerse you in nature. There are always birds around, especially seagulls. Somewhere around our cabin, a bald eagle makes its home. There's also a baby bald eagle that poaches our fish every now and then. When we fish, we sometimes leave the fish we've caught sitting on the bank of the river until we come in and start to gut and clean them. One day, a baby bald eagle, came and stole one. It wasn't strong enough to fly away with the fish, so it ate part of it and flew off. The baby bald eagle's "hood" feathers hadn't turned into the signature white hood yet.There are so many places to fish for salmon, the Kenai is the main river, there’s the Russian River, Funny River, Kasilof and Swanson Rivers. There are numerous fishing lodges and charters in the area, as well as in the town of Soldotna, where the Kenai flows through. People really do come from all over to fish here. While I was in Soldotna, I spoke with a group of guys from Germany that had been coming to fish the Kenai River for several years now.There are plenty of ways to fish, the cheapest is to put on waders and enter at a public area, like Cooper Landing, where they combat fish. If you have a boat, you can launch out and fish from the boat or anchor near the sides of the river and hop out into the water to fish. If you have some money, you can do a fly in fishing trip. Either way, this is a fun activity, and a good way to connect with nature. It's very scenic on the Kenai, and there is a lot to see, from beautiful landscapes, to eagles and other wild creatures. There’s no guarantee you’ll catch anything, as its dependent on when the salmon runs come in. But if you do catch fish, it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Thousands upon thousands of people think so. Close
Written by stvchin on 30 Aug, 2009
My family owns a cabin in an area of the Kenai River known as the Kenai Keys. It's situated off Highway 1, about 5-6 miles east of the town of Sterling, and about 3-4 miles south on Felding Road. Their cabin is on a…Read More
My family owns a cabin in an area of the Kenai River known as the Kenai Keys. It's situated off Highway 1, about 5-6 miles east of the town of Sterling, and about 3-4 miles south on Felding Road. Their cabin is on a riverfront lot up against the Kenai River. The Kenai River is world famous for it's salmon fishing.The fishing season varies on the Kenai River. From mid-May to the end of June and a second run from early to late July are the King Salmon runs. Dolly Varden, trout, and the prized red salmon (sockeye) have their first run from June to early July. The red salmon hava a larger second run from mid-July to early August. The trout and Dollys have their second run from early August to mid-October. The silver salmon (coho) run all throughout August to September. The salmon can be found all throughout the Kenai River, however, the trout and Dolly Varden are more plentiful further downstream closer to the ocean.From my family's cabin, we simply put on waders and carefully walk out to about groin depth and start fishing. The water is quite cold, as we are downstream from Skilak Lake, which has a small glacier on the far side. The current is swift, but not all that strong near the banks of the river, but always be careful. The water is not clear, and you can't see the bottom of the river due to the silt and nutrients in the water that come off the glaciers. The best way to move around is to take shallow steps, or shuffle your feet along the riverbed. We fly fished, since that was the regulation for the red salmon runs. You must read the regulations carefully and figure out what specific types of lures or bait can be used in what season, but good thing most store clerks where they sell fishing licenses know the rules. Most of the time, Kenai River fishing is very fun, especially since the fishing is plentiful. For me, fishing on the Kenai does three different things. 1) It's relaxing and helps to relieve stress. It's not too phyiscally demanding. Although you have to post yourself in the river and keep from falling over, unless you're fighting a fish on the hook, it's a nice, relaxing time. In fact, the water seems to help keep you bouyant, almost like a load off your feet. 2) It's visually stimulating. There are many things to look at, and pique your interest, as it's very beautiful on the Kenai River. 3) It's spiritual. It's not a religious thing, but it does serve to connect you with nature and your surroundings and help you to appreciate things more. When I was standing in the river fishing, I couldn't help but to appreciate the beauty of things around me, realize the need to keep things beautiful, and understand there are things bigger than ourselvses. There is a lot of wildlife present in the area. We saw a bald eagle land in front of our cabin, clutching a salmon it had fished out of the river. It started ripping away and eating the salmon, tearing out chunks with it's powerful beak, leaving when the seagulls came closer. We saw ducks, seagulls, and all sorts of other birds. We kept seeing bald eagles, although we suspect it was the same bald eagle, as they are territorial.My family has a boat, but the motor hasn't been used in years and is probably rusted solid. People can rent boats from various boat rental shops on the river. You can also book riverboat fishing trips where everything is provided, from equiptment to food and guides and licenses. They even have fly-in-fishing. There are many of these services where they will fly you into the Kenai River via floatplane and you can fish off a boat or from shore. The most simple way to fish is to find a public fishing area off Alaska Highway 1, whch mostly parallels the Kenai River, and find a public parking area and hike a few yards to the river and wade in and start fishing. Just make sure it is public land and not somebody's private property. There are just so many ways and places to fish along the Kenai that it's very easy to do. Close
Written by MilwVon on 10 Jul, 2006
In another entry, I've talked about our experience with Sports Den's guided fishing tour. The King Salmon fishing trip is something that many do while in Anchorage. We highly recommend it!The other fishing that we observed on the Kenai Peninsula was fly fishing on the…Read More
In another entry, I've talked about our experience with Sports Den's guided fishing tour. The King Salmon fishing trip is something that many do while in Anchorage. We highly recommend it!The other fishing that we observed on the Kenai Peninsula was fly fishing on the Russian River just above where it intersects with the Kenai. Fishermen (and women) here are looking to catch smaller varieties of salmon. When we drove by the area in the morning, there were people literally shoulder to shoulder. I don't know how anyone got any fishing done in such tight quarters.The photos attached to this journal were taken around 7:30pm. As you can see, there are still a lot of people in the river fishing. With waters around 50 degrees, I don't know that I would be able to stand there for hours fishing.Throughout the Kenai Peninsula keep your eyes on the lookout for bald eagles. We saw several, especially near bodies of water. You may also see moose and bears (both grizzlies and black bears). Close
Written by Donchay on 18 Jul, 2006
Set net fishing in Cook Inlet has been happening since the 1800s. When set netting started, fishermen used fish traps. These were made out of poles staked into the ground and hung with wire between them. When the tide changed, the fish would get caught…Read More
Set net fishing in Cook Inlet has been happening since the 1800s. When set netting started, fishermen used fish traps. These were made out of poles staked into the ground and hung with wire between them. When the tide changed, the fish would get caught in the traps and be picked up by large boats called tenders. In 1959, fish traps became illegal because too many fish were being caught, and there weren't enough to go up the river to spawn.
To replace the traps, commercial fishermen now use set nets and drift nets. Set nets are held by pulleys and anchors in the inlet. Drift nets are dragged behind boats and then pulled into the boats and picked.
Today, with the use of tractors, trucks, running water, and electricity, the fishing process has become much easier. The smoothness of the operation is actually quite fantastic to watch.
Written by dannynosleeves on 12 Dec, 2004
It's hard to say how I felt during that first run. "Sublime" is the first word that comes to mind. There was no tension or awkwardness involved. Only calm and serenity. It was so peaceful that I could have run all day. Fear was something…Read More
It's hard to say how I felt during that first run. "Sublime" is the first word that comes to mind. There was no tension or awkwardness involved. Only calm and serenity. It was so peaceful that I could have run all day. Fear was something I never felt. Not when ride escalated to a bumpy frenzy, nor when I fell off the sled for the first time.
The more time you spend with people in this sport, you start to realize that sledders are very systematic and meticulous people, almost to the point that they are obsessive-compulsive. They have certain clothes and
shoes they wear for certain tasks. They pack their gear into their sleds in the same spot and manner every time. They fill the many pockets of their clothes the same way so often that, at any given time, you could ask
a sledder what's in any of those many pockets, and they could probably tell you everything, down to the last dog biscuit.
After having been on a few 50+-mile trails, I understand why now. You're out on the trail for so long that you become tired and dazed. You don't want to have to think about things. You don't want to have to wonder
where your gloves are after you've broken up a fight and you're now trying to ride along on a bumpy sled, trying to hold on. Way too much to think about. I'm sure it's even worse during long-distance races, when you have only five hours of sleep at a time. You want every task, as mundane as it may be, to be as mindless as possible. Close
I had eight dogs for my first run - a good number to start with. All the dogs on my sled were amazing and probably some of the best in the kennel. The leaders were multi-Iditarod finishers and nothing short of amazing. They knew the…Read More
I had eight dogs for my first run - a good number to start with. All the dogs on my sled were amazing and probably some of the best in the kennel. The leaders were multi-Iditarod finishers and nothing short of amazing. They knew the trail system remarkably well and probably could have run this 28-mile trail without any commands from me.
Alaskan huskies aren’t a breed of dog that commands respect, but it's impossible not to give it to them. The way they memorize hundreds of miles of trails, dart around trees and shrubs, and work as a team is quite remarkable. It’s like watching a well-oiled engine run right before your eyes. Forty-eight pistons of muscle move rapidly, pumping copious amounts of blood through their veins while they change gears between trots, paces, and gallops, depending on the terrain ahead.
The trailhead was about 45 minutes from Kasilof--quite an astonishing place to start my first dog run on my first trip to Alaska. It was a great day for running the dogs - bright, clear skies, no wind, and a 7° temperature. It was a nice day by Alaskan standards. To the north were two snow-camouflaged volcanoes. Yes, there are volcanoes in Alaska. To the south is where the trail leads us, down through valleys, over plateaus, and past breathtaking views every few minutes.
Today was one of those rare days that couldn't have ended sooner. The 53-mile trail took longer than usual, and the weather was even worse than usual. There was only a light rain that started later in the day but lasted all day. It fluctuated between a thick mist and light drizzle. At first thought, this would be nothing to worry about; however, when this dampness continues for 3-plus hours, it becomes annoying. The mist and rain pile up on your clothes until before you know it, you're soaked all the way through. As if this wasn't unpleasant enough, it begins to snow hard, and darkness is starting its daily house call. It was miserable.
Weather is a funny thing in Alaska, and you just have to learn to deal with it. If you waited for good weather in Alaska before you went out, you wouldn't get out much.
As I sit here waiting for my coffee to cool down, I am pleasantly reminded of a quote from the T.E. Lawrence book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake…Read More
As I sit here waiting for my coffee to cool down, I am pleasantly reminded of a quote from the T.E. Lawrence book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible."
I don’t think I have ever really lived out a dream of mine - nothing monumental anyway. But I think being here, in Alaska, I can say that I know what it feels like to live out a dream. If anything, it feels so surreal that it's more like living in a dream than coming out of one. But it is by the short Alaska days of light that I dream, and at night, when my mind begins to sleep, reality sets in, and I am excited.
The first dog-sledding run I ever did was on my second day in Alaska. The excitement I had right before we unhooked was like nothing I've ever felt. It was strange, though. Most seasoned dogsledders say that they still have this huge anticipation right before they jump on the sled for the first time each day. I’ve even heard some relating it to a space shuttle launch. As excited as I was, it was different for me. It was calm, natural almost. It was like it was something I was meant to do or maybe something I had done in a past life. I was meant to do this. I didn’t have the slightest bit of fear or hesitation. I was as eager and ready as the dogs were to hit the trail.
Written by Donchay on 19 Nov, 2006
Community contra dancing in Kenai and Soldotna is hosted by the Kenai River Folkdancers at K-Beach elementary school ever third Saturday of each month of winter. (Normally from October to April or May.) Look in the local newspaper, listen for the community calendar announcements on…Read More
Community contra dancing in Kenai and Soldotna is hosted by the Kenai River Folkdancers at K-Beach elementary school ever third Saturday of each month of winter. (Normally from October to April or May.) Look in the local newspaper, listen for the community calendar announcements on 91.9 FM, or look for signs at local businesses for exact dates. Live music from the Contra BanD and sometimes guest bands provide entertainment for everybody (toddlers to grandparents).
The dances start at 7pm, beginning with the simplest dances first and getting more advanced throughout the evening ending around 10pm. You are greeted at the front door of the school by one of the KRF dancers and admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 18 years. The live band playing knee-slapping old fiddle tunes set the scene for a great evening. A local caller will teach the dance and repeat the moves as the music plays (do-si-do, swing your partner, gypsy)! During most dance nights, the band will also play a few waltzes and the caller will frequently through in a couple circle dances or a square dance.
It is a custom to bring a snack to share and clean, non-marking shoes to the dance and remember, everyone is welcome. This is an informal dance so wear whatever you want. (No alcohol or smoking is allowed. This is a family safe event.) Young or old, beginner or experienced, this community dance is a fun, social, and learning full experience that will keep you indoors, moving around, and staying warm during Kenai's cold, dark winter nights.
Written by justmejenna on 27 Dec, 2005
There are many things to do in Alaska. Anchorage, being the "big" city, offers great eats and lots of shopping! But head south to Kenai and see the Alaska you were meant to see. In the summertime, you can walk the beach in Kenai, fish…Read More
There are many things to do in Alaska. Anchorage, being the "big" city, offers great eats and lots of shopping! But head south to Kenai and see the Alaska you were meant to see. In the summertime, you can walk the beach in Kenai, fish the Kenai River, or take a stroll through the many off-the-beaten-path walkways. There is never a dull moment on the Kenai Peninsula. I grew up there, and if you are an outdoors person, this is the place for you. Hiking, fishing, hunting, coffee--they love coffee here. Every corner offers another place for coffee.
There are endless things to do, and all year long, within a short drive from each other. Driving is a must, and walking is another. Don't forget to take the 70-mile trip to Homer. If you love the water, you will love Homer. Make sure to take a boat tour when in Seward or in Homer; they are the best ways to see the marine life Alaska has to offer.
Written by FLTravelAgent on 31 Jan, 2001
Of all Alaska's wonders, perhaps none will stamp your memory more deeply than photographing or fishing with these magnificent animals - The Alaskan Bears! From a remote Bear Viewing Camp, situated on the edge of Lake Clark National Park, at the foot of Mount Iliamna,…Read More
Of all Alaska's wonders, perhaps none will stamp your memory more deeply than photographing or fishing with these magnificent animals - The Alaskan Bears! From a remote Bear Viewing Camp, situated on the edge of Lake Clark National Park, at the foot of Mount Iliamna, I viewed awesome sites that quite simply took my breath away. My 50 minute flight (in 6 passenger Cessna 207's), passed over active volcanoes, huge glaciers, alluvial floodplains and rugged mountains before landing on the shoreline near camp. Close