Looking for the perfect time to visit with lots of fish and no crowds? Try June.

reitz5Next year will be my 25th season of guiding on the Kenai and the Kasilof Rivers and to say I have seen a few changes would definitely be an understatement.  The inherent ups and downs associated with salmon runs naturally keeps you on your toes as no run or season is ever exactly the same.  We do our best to predict when and where the best fishing will be based on historical averages and past experience but in reality only mother nature really knows what the future will hold.  By far one of the biggest changes in recent years has been the lack of focus on king salmon and the shift of pressure toward the other more abundant species such as sockeye.

Sockeye or Red salmon have become one of the most popular fish in all of Alaska for many reasons.  First and foremost is their reputation as the best eating of all the five pacific salmon species.  While this is certainly up for debate, one thing is certain, sockeye salmon make excellent table fare. Their overall numbers make them far more sustainable than their cousins the king salmon and for those that want to take home a lot of very good eating fish from their vacation north, sockeye are the ideal harvest species.

Until recently, sockeye were largely thought to be a July fish and indeed July is when the majority of the sockeye find their way back to our two main rivers: the Kenai and the Kasilof.  It is also when the most people are here and for those looking for a tranquil, pristine fishing experience, this may not be what you had in mind. With the below average king salmon returns, particularly in June, both the Kenai and the Kasilof have seen rule changes and even closures.  This prompting us to shift our focus from the king fishery and find something more predictable to fish for.  While we always knew the Kenai and Kasilof had pulses of sockeye moving upriver as early as late May, we rarely took a break from king fishing to fish for these early arriving silver missiles.  In the last several seasons, we have discovered just what we were missing.

reitz7The first returns of sockeye to both the Kenai and the Kasilof in June are robust and a blast to pursue.  They see very little pressure and they are some of the freshest and most beautiful salmon we see all summer.  The fishing requires finding the fish in strategic areas,  but our success rates have been really high. Aside from the excellent fishing, the weather is also typically very nice in June and of course we have our longest days of the year at this time as well.   Overall, June definitely sees far less fish than in July when the late run Kenai sockeye are here but the reduced pressure and ability to get away from the crowds is well worth working just a little harder for your limit.

Peak time for early-run Kenai and Kasilof Sockeye: June 5-25

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Kenai Guides,
33350 Keystone Drive, Soldotna, AK 99669
Phone: (1800) 622-1177
Website: kenai-guides.com
Email: mgfish@gci.net

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