Rainbow Fishing In Local Lakes Best Northern Kenai Option

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Northern Kenai Fishing Report

ADF&G News

  • The Soldotna ADF&G office is now offering a fishing rod loaner program and has salmon fishing gear anglers can borrow for up to three days. This is a first come, first served program and rods cannot be reserved. For more information, check out the Rod Loaner Program webpage or contact Jenny Gates at
    (907) 262-9368.

Freshwater Fishing 

  • The early-run Kenai River king salmon sport fishery is restricted to catch-and-release and the retention of king salmon of any size is prohibited. Bait is prohibited, and only one single-hook artificial lure may be used. Please see the emergency order below for more info.
  • King salmon fishing on the Kenai River is slow and water levels are average and the river is turbid.
  • The flowing waters of the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River marker and all Kenai River tributary streams are closed to fishing from May 1 through June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.
  • Kasilof king salmon fishing is slow but improving. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery-produced fish may be retained. Only one single-hook may be used either baited, unbaited, or on an artificial lure. Try fishing for king salmon from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site. See the emergency order below for more info.
  • Fishing for sea run Dolly Varden at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope should be picking up this time of year. Try using pink fry pattern flies.

Saltwater Fishing

  • Surf fishing along the beaches of Cook Inlet south of the Kenai River has been fair. Pacific halibut fisheries are managed by the federal government under international treaty. Please consult federal regulations and see page 73 of the 2022 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Local Lakes 

  • Lake fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling, and land locked salmon should be good to excellent. Try fishing with dry or wet flies such as an egg sucking leech, bead head nymph, or mosquito pattern; small spoons and spinners size #0 or #2; or small bait under a bobber.
  • Spirit (Elephant) Lake access gate is open, and the lake was recently stocked with approximately
    42,000 coho salmon fingerling.
  • Not familiar with all the stocked lakes in the area? Check out the ADF&G publication with locations, access, and other valuable information on Kenai Peninsula area lakes. More lake information can be found on the ADF&G Alaska Lakes Database.
  • Interested in recent stocking activities at lakes? Check out the ADF&G stocking database online.
  • Many local lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout and coho salmon fingerling recently. For specific lake stocking information including species stocked and numbers of fish stocked, directions, bathymetric maps, and amenities, please visit the ADF&G Alaska Lakes Database.

Emergency Orders 

Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Kasilof River

  • Emergency Order 2-KS-1-20-22 prohibits the retention of naturally produced king salmon effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2022, on the Kasilof River. In addition, the use of bait in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge is not allowed until May 16 when bait is allowed by regulation. Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 16 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30 only one single-hook, artificial lure or fly may be used, and bait is allowed in the Kasilof River. The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is two hatchery-produced fish.

Kenai River

  • Emergency Order 2-KS-1-21-22 prohibits the retention of king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake from June 1 through June 30, 2022. Retention of king salmon will remain prohibited July 1 through July 31 in waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake.

Local Lakes

  • Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-22 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey, Sevena, Union, and Derks lakes for the 2022 season.
  • Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-22 establishes a bag and possession limit of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish, less than 16 inches in length for the 2022 season.

Don’t forget to purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp! Purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp through the ADF&G online store and print it off from the comfort of your own home. Also, make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2022 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Soldotna Area Office at (907) 262-9368.