Alaska Fishing News BLOG

September 2013 Fly Fishing Kenai River, Alaska


The first week of September started off with a bang, our biggest fish of the season came during this time. This can be attributed to the beginning of the Red Salmon spawn and the end of the King Salmon spawn. Water levels were still way above average keeping Rainbows in small pockets, but those pockets were awesome.


At this point we were fishing 20 miles of river! Trout were keying in on egg patterns, fresh, old, and sizes 7mm – 12mm were all fair game. Talk about an information overload!

Typically with a “Sockeye year” the majority of productive water consists in the first five miles below Skilak Lake. One advantage of high water during this time was spreading out the food source, resulting in spreading out the fish. Consolidated food equals consolidated fish, naturally making catching Rainbow Trout easier. This is good right? In some cases yes, but on the World Famous Kenai River this means consolidated angling pressure. So long story short the high water made it possible for the creative angler to avoid congested angling pressure to some degree.

For the second half of September our efforts became concentrated in the top few miles below Skilak Lake. Knowing the bite timing and staying on top of which bead at which minute gave us some great fishing. Many mid to high 20” fish were caught. Same as always, being creative and running a little different program than most gave us an edge on netting some Kenai River beauties.

Luckily for us when the afternoon bite turned on most people were not around for it! Spotty bite fluxes kept many anglers moving around to find fish, the fact is the fish were always there, but became ultra sensitive to boat pressure. Once the bite really died it was time to stay persistent and keeping moving around the productive lines because it was bound to turn on. Typically 20 minutes after boats left the Trout mysteriously began to party.

Non Stop Silvers

The best run of early Kenai River Silver Salmon in years showed no sign of slowing down until the last few days of August, even then we still found them, but it just took  a little longer.  Backtrolling sardine wrapped plugs seemed to be the most effective way to bring Silvers in,  casting spinners, and fly fishing also produced results. 

When is the best time for Silvers?

Great question.  August 10thish seems to be when the party gets started and lasts typically through  the end of August (Remember that Salmon runs are very similar to a bell curve).   September is the same typically by the 10th the success level is pretty good.

Two happy Drift Away clients holding a limit of Kenai River Silver Salmon 

Rainbow Trout

The second half of August started to warm up as the King Salmon began spawning.  Above average water levels, and a small King return kept the guides of Drift Away constantly moving to stay on the Rainbow Trout, however, some great fish were caught.  Between the big fish a steady supply of 20”– 24” Trout kept guest smiling.  It seems that the mid range Rainbow Trout fight sooooo hard, often we think that a 10lb rainbow is on until it jumps.  These are some of our favorite fish due to their tenacity!

Guide Nigel Fox and client holding a Trophy Kenai River Rainbow Trout

Kenai River Rainbow Trout and Silver Salmon:  August 1 – 15, 2013 

In the beginning of the month we were still basking in the 80-degree untraditional Alaskan summer.  Then….. the temps dropped and the rain started.  The Kenai River in Alaska went through some dramatic changes during the first two weeks.  For us it meant tracking down and staying on those Kenai River Rainbow Trout was a touch tricky, but we prevailed.    Our hats off to the hard core fly fishing and float fishing clients that stayed focused and persistent!

What Happened?  The Rainbow Trout Saga:

Here is a quick breakdown of the curve ball Mother Nature threw at us.  With all the warm sunny temps we received during May, June, and July the Kenai River began to rise due to the glacier melt, by early August we saw big water that showed no sign of cresting.  Once the heat subsided the clouds came in and brought rain with it, the Kenai kept rising.


Soooo with the increase of water levels the Kenai began changing structurally, eddies appeared or disappeared, seam lines moved, holding water became fast runs, etc.   This caused the Rainbow Trout to move and keep moving.  Also, the Red Salmon carcasses and deposition areas for these carcasses (aka trout food) washed down river, and washed out of dead holding water.  Once again causing the Trout to move around to find food.

Now lets throw water temp into the mix.  During the warm sunny time we were seeing surface temps on the Kenai River to hit 60, which is roughly 8-10 degrees warmer than normal.  2 degrees is kind of a big deal to our Kenai River Rainbow Trout.  Enter the clouds and rain, and the river dropped back to it normal temps of 49 – 52 degrees.

Adding all of these factors together, you have a really exciting playing field!  Good thing that Kenai Rainbows are smart because they stayed fat and awesome, just a little tougher to stay on.

Kenai River Silver Salmon

While the Rainbows were having an interesting time dealing with Mother Nature, the Silvers seemed to not mind.   Actually, this was on of the best 1st Runs of Silvers in years! Epic Disney Land Unicorn fishing is the best way to describe it. 

From the end of the first week through mid-month limits of Silvers came quick and easy.  Back Trolling sardine wrapped Kwik Fish seemed to work best for us, we would see Kenai Silvers hit the plug as we were letting them out!  Doubles were commonplace as well as landing 5 fish in the first pass!  What a season!

July 14 – July 31, 2013

Alaska King Salmon


King Salmon fishing on the Kasilof River during the 3rd week was nothing short of awesome.  Happy clients and nice native Alaska Kings was commonplace.  Nigel found two big fish that were measured, photographed, and RELEASED!  Drift Away Fishing is always very excited when we can release big fish so they can spawn and spread their genetics for future generations of Alaska King Salmon fishing


There were a couple days of extremely high tides, which made for some tougher fishing, but the guides of Drift Away Fishing persevered and made rods bend.  As the week unfolded tides dropped, and the fish came charging in.  We ended the season with each guide getting several opportunities at fish and some legends were hooked, but did the big fish thing and kept heading up river to spawn.  It is very humbling to get spanked by a big powerful fish!  As always it is sad to see King season come to an end, but exciting to think about the next year to hurry up and get here.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout


Well the theme of great Rainbow Trout fishing on the Kenai River since its opening on June 11 has not slowed!  We are ecstatic about the quality of fish and numbers of fish hooked.  Most think that Rainbow Trout fishing in July is not that good…check out our photos, the proof is in the pudding.  Fact:  we can find big Trout and good numbers all through July.  Week 3 and week 4 displayed mid September quality!  We highly encourage you to fish with us during this time to see for yourself.  Our guests did not complain about catching world class Rainbow Trout when it was 70 and sunny!  The best part?  August and September are right around the corner, we still have openings in the end of August and early September.  Book now before it is too late!


Kenai River Red Salmon

As always the Reds are show pleaser and freezer filler.  Week 3 and 4 delivered great Sockeye Salmon fishing on the Kenai as usual.  If fast action and delicious Salmon are what you are thinking about then get on board for a great trip on the Kenai!  Better yet?  Why not book a Trout/Red Salmon combo trip on the Kenai River for the full mind melter experience.

July 1 – July 13   Early July on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers

Kenai River Rainbow Trout Fishing

What a season so far! Early July has shown no signs of slow Trout fishing on the Kenai River.  When most think that this is a horrible time to fish Trout, we at Alaska Drift Away get creative, and are continuing to find nice Rainbow Trout and 20+ fish days!  One of the many perks is the lack of others fishing Trout during this time, so we have the river mostly to ourselves.  Fly fishing and float fishing has been equally productive methods to the madness.  If you like hard fighting fish on an amazing river, then get in on the action!  Here is some eye candy from the past 13 days; this should make a believer out of you…..

A happy client with a Trophy Kenai River Rainbow Trout

A happy client with a beautiful 27" Kenai River Rainbow Trout 

Kasilof River King Salmon

So far the Kasilof 2nd run of King Salmon seems to be right on par.  We are seeing some nice chrome fish entering the river despite the insanely high tides (23ft highs).

1-4 fish getting hooked a day has been the average.  Typically this time of year can be scratchy as we are still in the early part of the run, however this is also the time that some of the biggest Kings get hooked.  As we draw into the 3rd week, the mega tides are subsiding and we anticipate some good fishing.

Guide and client with a 33lb Kasilof River King Salmon

Guide and happy client with a 30lb Kasilof King Salmon

July 2, 2013

June in Retrospect


From the Beginning

The 1st run Kasilof King Salmon fishing came out swinging in early June.  Most days several Kings were boated, and always a few got away.  The guides of Drift Away Fishing all thought that this was one of the better starts in the past few years, despite low predictions.

As we slid into the second week of June King Salmon were still making a steady push into the Kasilof.  Guides and clients were happy with the results.  One of the highlights of the first run was the lack of boats on the river.  With the Kenai River only allowing catch and release for Kings many folks were wondering how that would affect the Kasilof in terms of additional pressure. 

King salmon fishing on Alaska's Kenai & Kasilof Rivers.  This was on a guided fishing trip.

Mid June Rainbow Trout Opener

June 11 marks the opening of Rainbow Trout fishing on the Kenai River.  Out the gates the Trout fishing was great, probably one of the best Junes in years.  Drift Away Fishing was consistently catching well over 20 Rainbows a day and some days seeing 40+ fish!  On top of that the Kenai Rainbows were exceptionally fat, resembling fall size on many occasions.  Why more people are not taking advantage of an awesome experience and great fishery is a mystery to us.  It seems like the Rainbow Trout fight harder during this time, offering a thrill to the beginner to expert angler.

Rainbow Trout guided fishing in june on the Kenai River is some of the best trout fishing Alaska has to offer.

This is the End

It is typical that as June moves into the 3rd and 4th week the King Salmon fishing becomes spotty, however Drift Away Fishing was still seeing plenty of action.

Fish and Game shut the Kenai down to King Salmon fishing due to one of the lowest returns in years, as a result the Kasilof was limited to single hook artificial lure only. 

Even with a curve ball thrown at us, we were still able to entice the elusive King Salmon into biting.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout

The end of June showed no signs of the Kenai River Trout fishing slowing down.  The Rainbows remained active and fat.  As mentioned above, this was one of the best Junes in years.  As July approaches we are still enjoying great weather, hard charging Rainbows, and sharing experiences that last a lifetime!

Stay posted as Drift Away Fishing will be doing weekly reports for the rest of the 2013 fishing season!

This rainbow trout was caught on the middle kenai river as the trout move to their summer feeding grounds.  Alaska trout fishing with guide Jeremy from Alaska Drift Away Fishing.


May 30 2013

September Trout!  Big Game Hunting Time

The Quest

September is the time for fly fishing Trophy Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River.  Ask anyone that knows the Kenai and other famed Alaska rivers, and you will get an unanimous answer “Kenai in September is it for big Bows.”

With winter slowly creeping up water levels are dropping, daylight begins to noticeably fade, and Kenai Trout go on a feeding rampage.   Several species of Salmon are now spawning creating an enormous amount of easily accessible food.  This equation creates high populations of Bows in site-specific areas.   Among the general populous live the fish that we all dream about.

September sunset on the Kenai River with a Trophy Rainbow Trout 

Extracting the Fatty

The standard egg pattern set up is the means for most of September.  However, with an abundance of food, and fishing pressure, Trout can afford to be picky.  Having the right size and pattern per zone is crucial for success, and this may change by the day or hour.  With proper selection also comes timing.  We know the big ones are down there, but may not be feeding, or a flurry of anglers may have just gone through that zone causing the Trout to take a break.  The key is being patient and watchful. 

Paying attention to areas that hold big fish and hitting them when no one is there or after a while of that hole being untouched is one of the best ways to hook up with a beast.


We have been in plenty of situations where the big fish bite was on, and then 3 boats enter the drift, game over for big fish bite.  We have even been in an area where the bite turns on, we hit a big fish, next pass we don’t touch anything.  September is the best time for Trophy fish, but with the above mentioned it can be tricky.

Two anglers posing with a Trophy Kenai River Rainbow Trout

All in All

The Kenai River in September is absolutelygorgeous; fall is decorating the landscape in an array of color making a gorgeous backdrop for some truly exceptional fishing.  There is no wonder why our September peak dates fill up months in advance.  If you are an experienced angler or novice and want to take part in something special, stop thinking about it and book a trip now!  We can guarantee it is well worth the price of admission.

Beautiful early morning shot on the Kenai River in September

April 25 2013

August – Fast and Furious Rainbow Trout Action!

Early August on the Kenai River in Alaska is almost identical to late July.  Trout are still feeding heavily on Red Salmon eggs and flesh, and still hanging out in the same zones.  High numbers of fired up Rainbows can still be expected as well as sharing the company of some Trophy Kenai Beasts.

One big difference between July and August Bows is the lack of diversity. Huh? August marks the beginning of bead warfare. Kenai Trout are fat, happy, and have the luxury to be selective about which food source they want.  Dead drifting egg patterns via fly stick or float rod is where it’s at. 

Kenai River Rainbows absolutely love salmon eggs; it’s their favorite!  These little round morsels pack a readily accessible amount of fat and protein.  It is possible to only fish egg patterns year round and have success.

Auugst Kenai River Trophy Rainbow Trout.  Guide and Happy client holding Trout

Middle August

Mid August is the time of the month when things get a touch tricky.  Rainbows are in transition; the Red Salmon run is a slow trickle while Kings are starting to move on spawning beds.  That being said much of the Red food source is scattered and diminishing while the next major food source, King eggs, are sparse and inconsistent.

Rainbows are moving between King beds and Red Salmon food catchment areas.  Here one day, or one hour, and gone the next becomes par for the course.  The key for success is staying focused, persistent, cover different water, and don’t get caught in the change up. (Getting caught in the change up = switching up patterns too often)

Don’t worry typically this transition phase doesn’t last long and soon the King Salmon will be spawning.


 Fly fishing for Rainbow Trout on a power boat - Kenai River

End of August

Once the King Salmon move onto their beds and consistently begin spawning the Kenai River turns into a heavy metal Disney Land.  Rainbow Trout are hanging below Kings and having an egg eating party.   You can actually see these fish getting fatter by the day!  High numbers of fat, super charged Rainbow Trout are ready to put your skills to the challenge.  Much like early August this time of year will boost 100+ fish days!

 We find Trout hanging out in extremely fast water, middle of the river, anywhere there are active King beds.  It is unbelievable how fast of water you can find Bows hanging out in, but if the food source is there they don’t mind working a bit harder to put on the pounds.

August is an amazing time to experience Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River.  The days are still long and warm, fishing is great, and the tourist crowds are beginning to dwindle. 

Kenai River Trophy Rainbow Trout.  Guide and Happy Client holding fish

April 8th 2013

Kenai in July = Secret time for Trophy Rainbow Trout!

When most anglers think of July on the Kenai River visions of huge Kings, thick runs of Red Salmon, and a crowded river come to mind.   The above mentioned is true to some degree, however, certain times during July can produce days that will rival the legendary fall Rainbow Trout fishery!

Proper Flys and Patterns

The Kenai River is kind of like a smorgasbord of possible options to attract Rainbows.  Streamers/Leech patterns, flesh flys, and egg patterns will all work, the key is knowing what to use where.  In an average day we will fish all three, each pattern having great success depending if you go up or down river.  Choose the wrong pattern on a given section of river, and you will see tumble weeds blowing around your indicator.

alaska fly fishing guide looking thru his rainbow trout fly box to pick the best fly for the kenai river

Early July (July 1 – 7)

Our last post talked about the June fishery, so lets pick up where we left off.  Early July will still fish much like June, by this time almost all Bows are done spawning and searching for whatever food they can find.  Typically the water levels are still rising offering more places for Trout to hide and really displacing the amount of food available.  Finding holes with numbers of Rainbows in them is still happening, but the more we slide into July the less food is available, covering lots of water is now a priority to finding quality fish.

Mid July (July 9- 15)

Now we have our work cut out.  The Rainbows are spread out over 40+ miles of river, food sources are at a low making the Trout a touch grumpy, but they are still there and need to eat.  This is when an angler can take a tough situation and turn it into a great day!  Not much food + hungry Trout = desperate Bows with their guard down!  Throughout the course of a day you will find that fresh and old patterns will work about the same.  One section of river will be more productive with fresh, while another will be better with old.  The trick is to have both out and be patient.  Don’t switch up because your buddy is doing better in one section, wait, your time will come.


july fishing on the kenai river while on a guided fly fishing trip for trophy rainbow trout

Late July (July 16 – 31)

This is probably the sweet spot for big Rainbow Trout.  Red Salmon are now entering the river in numbers, and the banks are littered with folks trying to fill the freezer with this delicious salmon.  This is why the fishing gets awesome, lots of food for very hungry Trout.  It is custom practice to fillet your fish at the riverbank and throw the carcass and scraps into the river.  The reason for this is to keep bears at bay and the carcasses are consumed by most of the Kenai River resident life forms. 

Dead drifting large flesh flys along the riverbank will produce amazing results!  The Kenai turns into a never ending buffet of fresh flesh and eggs and the Trout are packing on the pounds.   There is no doubt when a bow hits your fly, these fish are so ramped up they almost rip the fly rod out of your hand.  Hold on the fight is just beginning, once they realized they’re hooked an amazing display of power and ninja moves follow.  Packed full of protein, Kenai Rainbows demonstrate why they are some of the baddest Trout in the world!

March 21st 2013

June Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River


June on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska marks the beginning of most folk’s trips and vacations.  Many people from all over the world converge to one of the biggest outdoor playgrounds.  Summer is now replacing spring, the weather is warm and the days are long, making great opportunities for fishing!

For most fishing enthusiasts King Salmon and Halibut are top quarry for the first two weeks, but once mid June rolls around one of the most prized fish on the Kenai River opens to angling, Rainbow Trout! June 11th marks the season opener on the Kenai River for Rainbow Trout fishing.

A beautiful alaska picture of alaska adventures that you experience while on a vacation package with us

The average Kenai River Rainbow Trout are 16” – 22” chrome bright firecrackers. High flying and hard charging Kenai Bows will show you why they are some of the toughest Rainbows in the world!

We typically look for the deeper buckets with current as these areas are holding nice populations of hungry chrome Alaska trout.  Staying out of shallow water where late and post-spawn fish are holding is good practice to maintain a strong resource.  Rainbows like most spawning fish undergo quit a bit of stress, so intentionally targeting these guys leads to a higher mortality rate.

Planning a day or two chasing Rainbow Trout on the Kenai is a great way to throw an exciting mix into your Alaskan fishing trip or sightseeing vacation.  Fast action fishing and beautiful scenery will make this one of your favorite Alaskan memories!


Alaska Rainbow Trout caught in June on the Kenai River fly fishing with a leach

Rainbow Trout have been busy spawning since late April, by now most Rainbows have moved off beds and begin feeding heavily on migrating smolt and salmon carcass from the past winter and fall.  It is not uncommon to watch several Trout attacking smolt balls on the water surface.

The Kenai River (and all of Alaska) is also going through a change; water flow is on a steady increase as our days are warmer and longer.  Highs in the 60-70’s and over 18+ hours of light help melt the past winters snow out of the mountains.

Migratory birds are reappearing from their winter journey, flowers decorate the riverbanks, the air is fresh, and the Trout fishing is exciting!

Flesh flys, egg patterns, and streamers will all get the job done, but our favorite is swinging streamers.  Ramped up Rainbows hit theses flys so hard it almost rips the fly rod out of your hand! 

Fly fishing is the most common presentation, but float fishing offers the same productivity allowing anglers of all types to have a successful experience trout fishing on the Kenai River in Alaska.

this rainbow trout from the kenai river alaska is an average sized trout caught fly fishing

Feb 27th 2013

Fall Fishing is our Favorite...

The early Alaska Fall is a great time of year to come fishing. Come and see the real Alaska, the quiet, yet wild, Alaska without the tourist frenzy. On the Middle Kenai River in September you can enjoy the great fall colors, fewer people than in the peak summer months, and some of the BEST trophy rainbow trout and Silver Salmon fishing in the world.  The day time temperatures average in the 50’s, but it gets cooler at night.  The mornings are often filled with a majestic fog that adds to the anticipation of the upcoming hours of angling.  In September, both the trout and salmon are bigger than any other time of the season!  The trout are at their fattest because of all the food they have been gorging from the summer salmon runs.  The second run silvers are a genetically larger fish that blow up when you hook them. 

If you want to have a world class fishing experience, think about spending some time on the Middle Kenai for Silver Salmon or Rainbow Trout this September. Come relax with Alaska Drift Away Fishing!  Call or email our friendly and knowledgeable staff for questions about YOUR Alaska Trip.


This Kenai River rainbow trout was caught early in the morning while fly fishing in Alaska.

Kenai River Rainbow Trout – Rainbow Trout fishing in September on the Middle Kenai River is by far your best chance to fish, hook, fight, and land big TROPHY fish.  The September is Super Bowl or the World Series of Rainbow Trout fishing.  Trout fanatics from around the globe journey to the Kenai to fish every fall. You can spin fish or fly fish for rainbows and your guide can teach you the techniques of dead drifting your fly or bead in no time at all.  The Kenai River offers trophy Rainbow Trout fishing all season, but September is by far the most productive time for quality fish that any angler can test their abilities with!

January 23rd 2013

The newest member of the fleet! Thanks Willie Boats! Excited to row this baby down the river this May!

Kenai River Fishing

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Alaska Guided Fishing Trips & Packages | Salmon & Rainbow Trout | Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, Alaska

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Mailing Address: Alaska Drift Away Fishing, PO BOX 652, Sterling, AK 99672, USA