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Closed and Suggested Areas to Fish for
Sockeye Salmon in the Kenai River

Protection of shoreline habitats is critical to ensure that the fishery resources of the Kenai River are conserved for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. One threat to these habitats is trampling by anglers fishing for sockeye salmon. In March 1996, the Alaska Board of Fisheries granted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulatory authority to help mitigate potential negative impacts to shoreline habitats from bank angling and protect these habitats important to the fishery resources of the Kenai River.

Under this authority, the Department has closed approximately 10 miles of banks within 14 areas along the mainstem Kenai River and some of its islands. This closure to fishing extends from July 1 through August 15. In these closed areas, anglers are not permitted to fish from July 1 through August 15 within 10 feet of the waterline. Anglers are allowed to fish within this zone if they are fishing from a boat located more than 10 feet offshore which is not connected to the shore.

The closed areas have been identified as critical habitats that are prone to bank degradation by shoreline anglers. The objective of these closures is to prevent expansion of shoreline angling onto these relatively unimpacted areas of critical fish habitat. These areas are identified in the following maps. Although not included in the closed areas, the area in the vicinity of the Moose Range Meadows (River Mile 25.1 through River Mile 28.0) will be closed to the public from July 1 through August 15 under action taken by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. We ask your cooperation in respecting these closures aimed at protecting habitats important to juvenile salmon.

Many currently popular fishing areas remain open and will be improved with trails and boardwalks to mitigate damage while allowing use. These areas are also identified in the following maps. The Kenai River will be divided into three sections, Lower River from the mouth to the Soldotna Bridge, Middle River from Soldotna Bridge to Skilak Lake and Upper River from Skilak Lake to Kenai Lake.

A large portion of the lower and middle section of the river is private property where trespassing is not permitted (or tolerated). Along with the closure of sensitive habitat areas, public access is extremely limited. The areas suggested for fishing sockeye salmon will give the independent angler plenty of places to access the river and successfully catch fish. Many of these areas are also good silver salmon (coho) fishing during August and September.

Besides the public access areas there are many private campgrounds along the river that offer great fishing opportunities on their property. Most reserve bank fishing for camping clients although some do offer day use fishing for a modest fee. Many of these have implemented habitat rehabilitation in specific areas along their property. Please protect these "healing" areas by respecting the signs identifying these locations.

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Lower Kenai River - Mouth to Soldotna Bridge

    Suggested Areas to Fish

  1. Mouth of the Kenai River
    River Mile 0. Accessed in the City of Kenai via Spruce Street. Provides access to bank sport fishing on north side of Kenai River.. Access to dip net fishing (Alaska residents only.)
  2. Kenai Flats State Recreation Site
    River Mile 5. Located on south side of Kenai River on Bridge Access Road. Interpretive panels, bulletin board, picnic tables, limited parking and toilet facilities. No boat launch. Foot access to dip net fishing (Alaska residents only). Provides limited bank sport fishing opportunities because of steep banks and mud.
  3. Cunningham Park
    River Mile 6.5. Located on north side of Kenai River and accessed from Beaver Loop Road. Limited parking, toilet facilities and picnic tables. Primarily mud banks.
  4. Ciechanski State Recreation Site
    River Mile 15.5. Located on north bank of Kenai River. Site has 2 picnic tables and toilet. Some bank fishing is available upstream at base of bluff. This site is not designed as a bank fishing area and opportunities are limited. Its primary purpose is to provide restroom access for boaters.
  5. Pipeline State Recreation Site
    River Mile 17. Located on west side of Kenai River. The site has 2 picnic tables. This site is not road accessible.
  6. Slikok Creek State Recreation Site
    River Mile 19. Located on west side of Kenai River off Endicott Drive. There is a small parking lot, picnic tables, toilet and trail to north and south sides of Slikok Creek. Preferred sockeye fishing area is on south side of Slikok Creek.
  7. Centennial Park Campground
    River Mile 20.5. Accessed from Kalifornsky Beach Road, this is one of the more popular bank fishing areas on south side of Kenai River. There is approximately one mile of bank to fish from in the area; camping and restroom facilities are available. Day use permits available.
  8. Visitor Information Center
    River Mile 21. This area is accessed from Sterling Highway and is just downstream from Soldotna Bridge on south side of Kenai River. Parking is available in the Visitor Information Center lot.

    Bank Fishing Closure Areas

  1. Near Cunningham Park
    North bank between River Mile 6.6 and 6.8
  2. Eagle Rock
    At Alaska State Parks Eagle Rock Unit on south bank of Kenai River between ADF&G regulatory markers located at River Mile 10.7 and River Mile 12.0
  3. State-Owned Islands
    On state-owned islands located between River Miles 11 & 14
  4. The Pillars
    At Alaska State Parks Pillars Unit on north bank of Kenai River between ADF&G regulatory markers located at River Mile 12.4 and River Mile 12.6.
  5. Honeymoon Cove
    At Alaska State Parks Honeymoon Cove Unit on south bank of Kenai River between ADF&G regulatory markers located at River Mile 12.5 and River Mile 13.0.
  6. Falling-In-Hole
    east bank between River Mile 13.2 and 13.5
  7. WEST BANK
    Between River Mile 14 and 14.4
  8. Near Big Eddy Road
    South bank between River Mile 14.4 and 14.6
  9. State-Owned Islands
    On state-owned islands located between River Miles 17.0 & 17.3.
  10. Near Poacher's Cove
    West bank between River Mile 17.5 and 17.6
  11. North Bank between River Mile 18.6 - 18.8
  12. North Bank between River Mile 18.9 - 20.2
  13. Near Soldotna Visitor's Center
    South bank between River Mile 20.9 and 21.0

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Middle River from Soldotna Bridge to Skilak Lake

    Suggested Areas to Fish

  1. Soldotna Creek Park
    River Mile 22. On north bank of Kenai River, the park is located in downtown Soldotna behind Alaska Department of Transportation maintenance yard.
  2. Swiftwater Campground
    River Mile 23.0. On north side of Kenai River, this Soldotna City Campground is reached via East Redoubt Avenue. Parking, restrooms and overnight camping are available.
  3. Airport Property
    Approximately River Mile 23.0. On south side of Kenai River across from Soldotna airport, approximately 4,000 feet of river bank are closed to fishing from July 1 - August 15. Please respect this closure area. On up and downstream ends of this closure area approximately 600 feet of bank are open. No amenities are provided. Area is accessed from Funny River Road.
  4. Morgan's Landing State Recreation Site
    River Mile 29.5 to River Mile 31. This recreation site is on north side of Kenai River and reached via Scout Lake Loop Road. The site has a campground, day use parking, toilets and approximately 1.5 miles of bank fishing area. There are fishing area closures within this 1.5 miles to protect bank habitat as well as associated improvements that provide access to the river. "Morgan's" is also the headquarters of Alaska State Parks.
  5. Funny River State Recreation Site
    River Mile 30.5. Located on south side of Kenai River at Mile 12 of Funny River Road. Site has a small campground and restrooms. Ladders down the bank provide access to the river. This site has bank closures to protect habitat as well as improvements that allow access to bank fishing.
  6. Izaak Walton State Recreation Site
    River Mile 36.5. This site is on north side of Kenai River at confluence of Moose and Kenai Rivers in Sterling. The site has a campground, boat launch and limited day use parking. Izaak Walton has bank closures to protect habitat.
  7. Bing's Landing State Recreation Site
    River Mile 39.5. This site on north side of Kenai River at Mile 80 of Sterling Highway (just north of Sterling). The site provides campsites, day use parking and a boat launch. This is the only public boat launch between Skilak Lake and Naptowne Rapids.
  8. Kenai Keys State Recreation Site
    River Mile 44.5 to River Mile 46. This site is located on north side of Kenai River and is accessible only boat. No facilities on site. Sockeye fishing available from gravel bars and at base of bluff.

    Bank Fishing Closure Areas

  1. Near Soldotna Airport
    South bank between River Mile 22.7 and 23.5
  2. SOUTH BANK
    Between River Mile 23.8 and 24.2
  3. SOUTH BANK/Funny River
    Between River Mile 26.4 and 30.0
  4. Near Keystone Drive
    North bank from River Mile 27.3 (upstream edge of boat ramp at the end of Keystone Drive), to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge boundary at River Mile 28 (near the Powerline).
  5. Near Byrd Drive
    South bank from River Mile 31.5 to 32.5
  6. Caymas Subdivision
    North bank from River Mile 31.8 to 32.3
  7. Nilnunqa
    South bank between River Mile 36.0 and 36.6
  8. Near Kenai Keys
    North bank between ADFG markers at River Mile 44.6
  9. Thompson's Hole
    North bank between River Miles 45.8 and 46.3

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Upper River between Skilak and Kenai Lakes

    Suggested Areas to Fish

  1. Mile 57 Pullout
    River Mile 71. This is an unimproved site at Mile 57 of the Sterling Highway between Skilak and Kenai Lakes. Site is on the north side of the River immediately north of the Fuller Lakes Trailhead. The Pullout provides parking for a small number of vehicles. Bank fishing is permitted downstream from the Pullout.
  2. Kenai & Russian River Confluence
    River Mile 73.5. This is probably the most popular sockeye salmon fishing site in Alaska. The site provides adequate parking, restrooms, a few picnic tables and some camping. Sockeye salmon are caught on both the north and south banks with the majority of anglers fishing from the south bank. Access to this bank is via ferry. (Check regulations closely as they are different from other areas of the Kenai River.)
  3. Russian River Campground
    This campground is located at Mile 52.75 of the Sterling Highway. This is a large campground on the banks of the Russian River. Camping , day use parking, restrooms and access to the Russian River are provided. Approximately 2 miles of the Russian River are open to sockeye salmon fishing. (Check fishing regulations closely as they are different from other areas of the Kenai River.) Anglers can also walk downstream and fish the south bank of the Kenai River at the confluence of the Kenai and Russian Rivers.

    Bank Fishing Closure Areas

  1. Jim's Landing
    On the north bank of the Kenai River between an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the large rock at River Mile 69.7 to an ADF&G regulatory marker located just downstream of the boat launch.
  2. Sportsman's Lodge/Russian River Ferry
    On the north bank of the Kenai River upstream of the ferry crossing between ADF&G regulatory markers located at River Mile 73.5 and River Miles 73.6.
  3. Sterling Highway Bridge/Cooper Landing Boat Ramp
    On the south bank of the Kenai River between an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the Sterling Highway bridge to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 1,000 feet downstream.


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