Premier Trout Fishing on the Kenai River
This outfitter is one of the first trout focused outfitters on the Kenai River.
Located in Cooper Landing – a small town on the upper river surrounded by beautiful mountains and the start of the Kenai River which naturally flows from Kenai Lake. The Kenai River is long time know for being one of the finest trout rivers in Alaska. Its glacial blue waters are unlike any other in Alaska. The river flows for roughly 80 miles to Cook Inlet. Despite being along the road system and gaining more pressure than some of the more remote rivers of western Alaska this river continues to produce some of the largest rainbow trout anywhere in Alaska!
- One of the first trout outfitters on the Kenai River and started by the legendary Curt Trout in 1984
- Trout fishing on the upper, refuge, canyon, and middle river as well as walk and wade on the Russian River and Quartz Creek
- Primarily a trout fishing lodge but opportunities for sockeye and silvers during the right time of the year. (silvers fishing may be done with a spin rod)
- Special operating permits for the Refuge and Canyon sections of the Kenai
- Riverside lodging available
- Seasoned guides with top of the line equipment and boats
- This outfitter operates a fleet of 5 drift boats and 2 jet boats used on the middle river
- Full service fly shop
- The river opens in early June and guided trips are available through October
The Upper Kenai Consists of Three Sections
Upper, Refuge, and Canyon – The upper Kenai is a fast moving river and offers great trout fishing all season long. These sections will be drifted and fished from a 20′ willies drift boat. Your guide will row you down the river and fish you in productive spots. Most of the fishing is done from the boat but wade fishing is also an option in some areas. The fishing is mostly indicator fishing flesh or egg patterns. Certain times of the year offer great streamer fishing where stripping a streamer or letting the fly swing into the zone is effective. The Kenai River sometimes even offers the opportunity to catch a trout on a dry fly!
The Middle River
The Middle River is open to motors and fished from one of two power boats or can be drifted with a drift boat and kicker on the back. This section of river is best fished with a streamer in June or an indicator with a flesh fly. The fall time from late August through October on this section is the most productive fishing for over sized trout. Resident trout and trout from Skilak Lake move into areas where salmon are spawning and put the feed on. Indicator fishing with long leaders and beads or flesh is the ticket.
Each year rainbows over the 30″ mark and up to 15lbs are caught, but don’t expect a fish of this size. They are some of the hardest fighting rainbows anywhere! Hooking a mega sized rainbow on the Kenai is one thing but landing it is another!
The Russian River and Quartz Creek
The Russian River and Quartz Creek are great walk and wade fisheries. The Russian can be a great dry fly fishery for trout and dolly varden also move up the river in the fall to feed on salmon eggs. Quartz Creek is lights out in mid august for dolly varden and a few big trout are around as well as they move in to feed on sockeye salmon eggs.
$1,000 per boat per day – up to 4 anglers per boat
(approx. 8 hours of fishing)
$175 -$250 depending which cabin you book
*Prices subject to change without notice.
- Full day of guided fishing by an expert guide
- All rods, reels, tackle and flies
- Transportation from the lodge/fly shop to the river
- Wader rental available for $10 the day(s) of your trip
- Transportation to the lodge/fly
- Meals and drinks
- License (available at the shop)
- Trip Insurance
Lodging and Accommodations:
Lodging is available but very limited and books full each year. There are 3 riverside cabins nestled along the banks of the upper Kenai.
- Cabins can hold 2-3 anglers. They are rustic and clean with hot showers and a kitchenette and grill.
- The Swan Sanctuary offers 4-5 anglers and a full kitchen.
- All guests can enjoy the community outside fire and dock.
- *Lodging must be booked a minimum of 2 nights
- Local Restaurants with excellent dining and entertainment.
Typical Daily Schedule
This is dependent on your guide as the start times for each day are set up the night before. If possible I would trust and go with what your guide wants to do for a start time. If they want to start early or go late there is good reason for it…they are on the river day after day and know what’s best. Of course if you have to be off the water to catch a flight etc they will work with you.
You will be fishing with expert guides who have been trained on this river through guidance of legendary guide Billy Couillete who was taught by Curt Trout. The guides will be able to help you if you are a beginner or first time fly fisherman or an advanced angler.
Guides are trained in boat and wade fishing safety.
Travel to this outfitter in Cooper Landing is easy and one of the most beautiful drives. From Anchorage you will rent a car and head south on the Seward highway, you will then take the cut off onto the Sterling highway toward Cooper Landing and Soldotna. Travel time from Anchorage airport and Cooper landing is about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
There are a couple restaurants and convenience stores in Cooper Landing to accommodate breakfast, day trip lunches, and dinner. Some of the restaurants offer live music and a great vibe for after fishing refreshments. If you want groceries there is a small store in town or you can gather them in Anchorage.
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Suggested Gear List
- Warm layers
- Rain jacket
- polarized sun glasses
- waders and boots NO FELT in Alaska
- personal items
- Fishing a 10′ 6wt rod is the go to on the Kenai
- assorted flesh flies