Alaska King Salmon (Chinook) Fishing

king salmon fishing in alaska

Late May through mid June the Kasilof River hosts a solid run of hatchery and natural king salmon. A natural king is one that has, at some point in its lineage, bred with a hatchery fish. They look, fight, and taste the same – the only distinction is the presence of an adipose fin which was not clipped. Hatchery kings have their adipose fin clipped in the hatchery before they are released as smolt.

King salmon, during this time, average 10-20lbs with some pushing 25lbs-30lbs. They put up a tremendous fight and look great on the BBQ. The daily possession limit is typically one king per angler. King salmon are one of the most sought after sport fish on the planet, for their size, power, and flavor.

The Kasilof River is a glacial fed river located 15 minutes west of the Kenai River and is non-motorized. Drift instead of power boats reduce the number of guides and offer anglers a wonderful experience without the noise and madness of the Kenai. Most of the Kasilof is void of houses, creating a beautiful atmosphere to take in wildlife and scenery while king salmon fishing.

The Kenai & Kasilof Rivers are home to some of the biggest king salmon in the world. The current world record is 97.04lbs, caught on the famous Kenai River. Eight out of ten world records have also come from the turquoise water of the Kenai. A quick stroll through any Kenai fishing guide’s website will say almost the exact thing. However, these wild, native beasts are in a critical fight for survival. A run that used to produce 50,000 – 70,000 kings, many over 40lbs, is now reduced to 25,000, on average, with some years only returning 15,000. Overharvest by both sport and commercial fishing, coupled with mismanagement and changing ocean conditions (yes, this is real) has reduced the return of kings by more than 50%.

The guides of Alaska Drift Away Fishing made the decision to stop guiding native run king salmon on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers in 2013 as a way for our business to have zero impact on this special Alaskan salmon. We love kings, and fishing this first run is a wonderful way to enjoy targeting these amazing fish while reducing the impact on the native stock we need to protect. The fish and anglers both win!

Kasilof River King Salmon Fishing Alaska

The Kasilof may not produce a world record King like the Kenai; however, there are more of them. Also, the Kasilof is a drift-only river making it quieter, with considerably fewer people and no boat wakes.

May 20th – June 25th

June 5th – June 15th

Average Size:
10 – 20lbs

1 per day
5 per season

King Salmon Fishing

While they are one of Alaska’s most prized game fish, Kings are also one of the most elusive. Our guides have an intimate knowledge of the rivers we fish, and are very experienced with the most suitable methods of catching them so your chances of a successful catch are increased when you fish with us.


We use top of the line gear; however, we know some fishermen and women have a favorite rod or piece of equipment. If you are considering bringing your own gear contact us so we can advise you on the suitability. The Lower Kenai is very big, fast water; the Kasilof River is not as demanding on gear. We drift both rivers, but they each have their unique qualities.


We use several methods to attract the fish to our lines: cured salmon eggs, artificial lures and handmade flies. Steelhead trout are often caught while fishing for King salmon. Steelhead are sea-run Rainbow trout that live in the ocean and return to the river to spawn.


Alaska Fishing License

To fish for king salmon you will need a valid Alaska Fishing License with a king stamp.

These can be bought online at