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.

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!

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!