So, you’re in Girdwood and want to go fishing. Well, I have news for you; you’re in the right place! All you need is either a rental car or a motorhome rental and you’re on your way. The Kenai Peninsula is just barely an hour’s drive from Girdwood and the options are endless. We have salmon, trout, and steelhead all within your reach. The furthest you would have to drive is 2 ½ hours and the closest would be about an hour. There is lodging available at every section of water that you choose as well as teeming fish ready to bite!
May is typically when we start to see salmon swimming up our streams. By mid-May, you can drive to the Kasilof River, which is a mere 30 minutes drive south of Soldotna. This can either be a long day driving and fishing or booking accommodations the night before or after in Soldotna. The Kasilof is about 2 1/2 hours away and has some great fishing opportunities that can sometimes rival the Kenai River. Here you will find the early run of the “mighty” King salmon. The Kasilof is a beautiful full day float and well worth the drive. This is the best place for salmon fishing until June 11th when the Kenai River opens up. Make no mistake though; the Kasilof will continue to produce nice King salmon as well as Sockeye Salmon until the end of July and the first part of August.
Driving about 1-2 hours from Girdwood you’ll pass through Cooper Landing, Sterling or Soldotna. These small towns provide many places for lodging as you anticipate your fishing trip the following day. The Kenai River has resident Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden that can be caught on the fly or spinning gear. The Sockeye Salmon will be present as well at this time but mostly in Cooper Landing, home of the “Upper Kenai”. The Upper Kenai is the most scenic portion of the Kenai River. The Upper Kenai is great for ½ day or full day floats. It is a great option if you are looking for a short day of trout fishing while sightseeing from the boat. Further south in Sterling and Soldotna you can fish the Kenai River as well in July when Sockeye Salmon sprint up the river. This section of the Kenai often referred to as the “middle” has excellent opportunities for Sockeye and Silver Salmon as well as Trout from July until the end of October. For those looking for that big Rainbow Trout on the Kenai though you’ll need to fish in September when the Salmon are laying eggs and the trout are engorging themselves before winter settles in. This is also the same time that you might try your hand at some Steelhead fishing on the Kasilof River. In my option, there is nothing more spectacular than being surrounded by the vibrant fall colors while floating either one of these rivers, especially while hooking into some of the most beautiful fish you’ll ever encounter on a river.
If you’re a little more adventurous and want to get away from other fishermen then maybe a fly out or helicopter trip will satisfy your fishing needs? My friends at FishHound Expeditions can hook you up. The seasons are slightly different but fly- outs provide a remote local, fewer people and just as many or more fish than you can imagine.
All your major rental car companies are located at the Anchorage International Airport.