Rainbow Trout and Kenai River Fly Fishing


Here’s the million dollar question, when is the best time to fish for those Kenai River Rainbows?  Well let me break it down for you.  The rainbow fishery is so closely linked to the salmon runs that we should begin there.  Starting in early August the run of King salmon, the silvers and even the red salmon are dropping their eggs.  You are also getting the decaying flesh from the first run of king salmon meandering down the river.  This isn’t your dry fly fishery.  We are catching these fish right on the bottom of the river, targeting gravel bars and spawning beds to rip these trout right out of the all you can eat salmon egg buffet line.  These trophy rainbow trout gorge themselves, bulking up for the long winter ahead.  The great thing about this fishery is it runs strong through November.  We’re talking the beginning of August, September, October, and November is prime time for rainbow fishing, and don’t forget the dolly varden.  These fish are waiting in that buffet line too, so no doubt you’ll hook into one of those beauties while targeting rainbows.


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Now let’s talk about the size, sure it matters.  You will find that the 12-28 inch rainbows are your most common catch through out the day, but those occasional 10-20 pound trophies at the end of your line are not uncommon. 


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Depending on the size of your group or the time of year, we will be fishing out of a power boat or drift boat.   Both have ample room, and both have their goods points.  With the power boat you can make multiple drifts through a producing hole, and make trips up and down river looking for fish.  Now with the drift boat you are constantly working your way down river toward the take out point.  This doesn’t mean you won’t have multiple trips through the good holes, you just have to allow for travel time to the take out point.  You will have ample opportunity in both boats for catching those trophy trout.


Later in the year when the water drops, we will fish primarily out of our drift boats.    One of the most effective techniques is dead drifting.  Either flesh or an assorted egg pattern, the decision can depend on the time of year you are fishing.  Our seasoned guides will be there to help make these important decisions.  This fishery is great for everyone, from the experienced fly fisherman to the beginner.  Not a fly fisherman?  No Problem, we can use spinning gear, which is just as effective.   We supply quality gear for our clients use, but if you prefer to bring your own, an 8-10 weight rod is ideal.


Now once you caught that trout and your friends have taken photos, your guide will release this beauty back to the waters.  The Kenai River Rainbow fishery is catch and release only.  That is why there is so many big trophy fish in the river system.  Those dreams were put back for the next guy to catch.