Alaska Red Salmon (Sockeye) Fishing

Alaska Red Salmon Fishing Header Image
Red Salmon are also known as Sockeye Salmon. They are a hard fighting fish, lots of fun to catch, and are highly sought after for their rich and tasty meat. In fact, many people claim that they are the best eating of all the Pacific salmon species. There are two runs of Red Salmon in the Kenai River & one run of Red Salmon in the Kasilof River that we fish for. 

Kenai River Red Salmon Fishing

If taking home wild Alaskan salmon and having plenty of opportunities to hook up on a hard fighting fish are on the top of your to-do list for your Alaskan fishing trip, consider red salmon on the Kenai River in July! Each year the 2nd run of red salmon boosts returns around 1 million!


Red salmon is a favorite amongst local Alaskans due to the rich flavor and abundance. Red salmon are known for their deep red/orange color of meat. Take a trip through the seafood section of your local grocery store, the sight of these fillets will make your mouth water, but at times, selling for $20 dollars a pound will make your wallet cringe.


The typical daily possession limit is 3 reds/person if the run exceeds 750,000 the limit will increase to 6. This does not always happen but check out these numbers… an average 2nd run red weighs 9-12lbs, anglers will retain ~ 50% of the weight in fillets. At a minimum, one limit of 3 reds will put ~13.5lbs of incredible fillets in your freezer!


One misconception about fishing for reds is having to stand shoulder to shoulder (combat fishing) with other anglers. Yes, most of the Kenai is fished in this manner for reds, but there is another way… We fish from the boat much the same as one would fish for king salmon on the Lower Kenai River minus 400 other boats and only a few chances at a hookup a day per boat.


Our environment is a wilderness setting with opportunities to view moose, bear, lynx, eagles, loons, and more. We do our best to avoid other anglers and quite often have plenty of space to ourselves. This tranquil environment is often interrupted by constant action, bent rods, and screaming drags. Red salmon are one of the hardest fighting fish pound for pound, they love to fly out of the water putting on epic aerial displays, then charge subsurface and repeat, over and over!


When the fishing is hot and limits happen early anglers can participate in a phenomenon known as the Kenai double dip. Once the fish box is full we switch gears and target native rainbow trout. The Kenai is home to some of the biggest wild-native rainbows on the planet and the end of July into early August is a sleeper peak time for amazing trout fishing and the shot to tie into trophy trout over 10lbs! Go to our Rainbow Trout Site to learn more about this awesome fishery.

Kenai & Kasilof River
Red Salmon

Fishing Season:
June 25th to August 5th


July 15th to August 1st


Average Size: 7 – 12 lbs


Limit: 3-6 per day
Red Salmon caught on the Kasilof River, Alaska

Kasilof River Red Salmon Fishing

Late June the Kasilof River sees the start of red salmon (sockeye) enter the river. This is a blessing for anglers looking to experience salmon fishing. Typically the 1st run of king salmon on the Kasilof is about spent, making a naturally hard endeavor harder. Red salmon on the Russian river are also nearing an end.


As with any salmon run, the beginning and end of the run come with inconsistency. If the reds are early fishing will be good, if they are on time it will be solid, if they are late, well… it will be tough. The positive aspect is these fish are fresh! You will not be sifting through older fish that have been in the river for a while, which is typical of fishing the end of any salmon run. They fight hard, and the venue in which you will be targeting reds is absolutely spectacular. Your daily limit is 3 reds/person and average 6-9lbs.


This trip begins at the headwaters of the Kasilof River where wilderness dominates. The Upper Kasilof borders the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge so opportunities to view wildlife are bountiful. Anglers feel the essence of being in remote Alaska, a truly breathtaking experience. Your guide will find an appropriate gravel bar to fish from, often several locations will be fished during a full day. We fish reds from the shore on the Kasilof during this time, but will not be combat fishing. If late June is the time for your Alaskan vacation and you want a chance at catching salmon, this is the trip for you.
Alaska Red Salmon

About the Alaska Red Salmon.
( A.K.A. Sockeye Salmon )

Red salmon have dark blue-black backs, silvery sides and white bellies. The average size is 7-12 pounds and are 4-5 years of age. The Sockeye’s flesh is ruby red in color and is the most sought after salmon in Alaska due to it’s wonderful flavor and color. The Red Salmon is second only to the Pink salmon in total run size.


For more Red Salmon facts
Click here >>

Fishing for Red Salmon

Red Salmon are commonly caught using “coho” flies. The appropriate weight is placed a couple feet away and the fly bounces along the bottom and, with practice, into their mouth.
Tying Coho Flies to catch Alaska Red Salmon