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by Klondike Kid
Reference Books
AOJ Reference

Secret Fishing Holes on the
Kenai Peninsula

Well, OK, maybe some of them aren't so secret. But the majority of the lakes and streams listed here are definitely overlooked and can provide the angler with some lively action or perhaps dinner for the evening table.

Those streams which also provide salmon runs will have very specific windows of opportunity for those species. Be sure to consult the latest fishing regulations for any stream you intend to fish. The Alaska Outdoor Journal contains many Reference articles which provide pertinent information on the arrival of salmon in various drainages.

If you know the region that you will be traveling to and fishing, you can order the specific regulation book (free of charge) directly from the Department of Fish & Game Regulations page and also purchase your license and stamps online at Department of Fish & Game License Online Purchase.

All the waters found in this article are located on the Kenai Peninsula. You can locate them by following the highway Mile Post marker.

Drainages are grouped according to the road system they are on. Those road systems are as follows:

Seward Highway Fisheries

Ingram Creek- Mile 51. Campground present. This is a summer fishery with pink salmon and dolly varden present. Best pink fishing is at the mouth during incoming tide.

Granite Creek- Mile 60.1-64. This creek parallels the highway. This is a summer fishery for dolly varden and there are numerous pullouts along this stretch. Salmon eggs or small spinners work best.

Summit Lakes- Mile 81 and 83. Forest Service campground on the back side of the lake and parking areas. This lake is loaded with many small dolly varden although there are fish that will run to 3 lbs. if you have a boat. The shallow end of the lake can provide fine float-tube fly fishing in the evening on calm days.

Jerome Lake- Mile 89.5 at the junction of the Seward Highway and the Sterling Highway. A small lake that parallels the road with wide parking areas. This lake has dolly varden and rainbow trout and can be a good producer in the evening with a fly rod. If fishing salmon eggs or shrimp, fish it right on the bottom as the larger fish will travel in schools parallel to shore in search of food. A small cartop boat or raft is easy to launch down the bank. Try dragging a fly 50 feet behind your boat as you slowly follow along the shoreline.

Trail River- Mile 103. A campground area is present. This is a summer and fall fishery for rainbows, dolly varden and lake trout.

Ptarmigan Creek- Mile 105. This creek has a campground also. Rainbows and dolly varden are present during the summer and fall. The fishing gets better the farther upstream you go.

Grouse Lake- Mile 120. Limited parking area. Spring and fall fishery for dolly varden.

Salmon Creek- Mile 121. This has limited parking and is a late summer and fall fishery for dolly varden.

Grayling Lake- Mile 124. This lake is at the end of a one mile hike. One of the few lakes on the Peninsula containing grayling. Float-tubing and a fly rod can be very effective.

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Sterling Highway Fisheries

Quartz Creek- Mile 41.5. A campground is present. This stream contains rainbows and dolly varden with a late summer run of silver salmon extending into September.

Crescent Creek- Mile 45.8. A campground is present. This stream contains grayling in its upper reaches near the lake. A well-maintained trail allows for a easy 6.5 mile hike to the lake. This fishery does not open until after July 1st but is good fishing until freeze-up. Single salmon eggs or tiny spinners as well as flies will produce fish.

Crescent Lake- This is a summer and fall fishery for grayling which doesn't open until after July 1st. The lake is a 6.5 mile hike but the elevation change is gradual and the trail is in good condition. You can do a round trip in a single day with the extended daylight hours of summer. Take a float-tube and waders and try flyfishing along the shoreline away from the foot traffic fishing areas.

Cooper Lake- Mile 49 turnoff (just passed the Kenai River bridge). Travel 12 miles up Snug Harbor Road to the lake. This is a summer and fall fishery for small dolly varden.

Juneau Lake- Mile 49. A 6 mile trail leads to the lake where a campground is present. This is a summer fishery providing rainbows, lake trout and whitefish and is located along the Resurrection Pass Trail. Forest Service cabins are available at Trout Lake and Juneau Lake.

Swan Lake- Mile 49. This lake is 9 miles up the Resurrection Pass Trail (3 miles beyond Juneau Lake). This summer fishery provides rainbows, lake trout and dolly varden.

Russian Lakes- Mile 53 turnoff to Russian River Campground. Trailhead is inside campground boundary (fee area). Two lakes are in this system. Lower Russian Lake is an easy 3 mile hike while Upper Russian Lake is 12 miles up the trail. There are camping areas at both lakes. Excellent summer and fall fishery for rainbow and dolly varden. Red salmon fishing is closed since this is a spawning area.

Russian River- Mile 55. A very popular sockeye salmon fishery during June, July and August. Many restrictions apply to fishing these waters so consult the regulations carefully. This stream contains nice rainbows to 24" (catch and release) and dolly varden in the fall to 7 pounds. A late summer silver salmon run is also present. Tackle restrictions change after August 15. Best trout fishing with a fly rod is early in the morning at first light. Use a light pattern dry fly and fish likely riffles. Once the salmon anglers arrive most fish are "put down" until late evening.

South Fuller Lake- Mile 57.5. This lake is near the top of the Kenai Mountain Range and is a strenous 4.5 mile hike straight up. The lake is loaded with grayling to 12" and fishing with a fly is the most productive method. Small spinners can take fish too.

Jean Lake- Mile 61. Campground with limited sites. Summer and fall fishery for small rainbows and dolly varden.

Kelly & Peterson Lakes- Mile 70 turnoff at Skilak Loop Road then 1 mile drive to lakes (follow signs). Camping areas at both lakes. Gravel boat launch area. Summer and fall fishery for rainbow trout. Salmon eggs work best.

Watson Lake- Mile 72 turnoff and quarter mile drive to lake. Campground and gravel boat launch. Summer and fall fishery for rainbow trout. Flies work good on calm evening. Try 3" rapala diving minnow for larger trout. Stream is closed to fishing during spawning.

East Fork, Moose River- Mile 72. A parking area is on both sides of highway. This stream is closed during spawning until June 15th. Rainbow trout are available throughout the summer and fall.

Moose River- Mile 82. Parking area and campground are available. Boat and canoe rentals available. A popular fishing area for sockeye salmon during the summer. Waters upstream of the highway bridge closed to the use of motors. Illegal introduction of Northern Pike to the Kenai Peninsula may have resulted in this drainage containing pike. PLEASE KEEP ALL PIKE! These fish should be retained as they will eventually have a very detrimental impact upon all salmon fisheries of the Kenai River.

Scout Lake- Mile 85.7 and short drive to public access. Fishing for landlocked silver salmon to 11 inches. Salmon eggs most effective.

Arc Lake- Mile 100 Sterling Highway. Parking area. Fishing for landlocked silver salmon to 10". Flies in the evening very productive.

Centennial Lake- Mile 110 turnoff onto Tustumena Lake Road. Travel 3 miles to lake. Parking area and 100 yard walk-in. Fishery provides landlocked silver salmon.

Kasilof River at Tustumena Lake- Mile 110 turnoff and travel 5 miles up Tustumena Road. Campground and boat launch present. Spring fishery for lake trout and dolly varden. Use small cuts of herring for lakers. Silver salmon available in August.

Ninilchik River- Mile 136. Parking and campground areas as well as commercial establishments. Spring, summer and fall fishery. Steelhead, dolly varden, silvers and king salmon are available. This is NOT a secret spot and gets a lot of attention. But the fisheries can provide much action. Best fishing is during the incoming tide when new fish begin entering the river system. During low water many anglers fish the boat harbor with bobbers and salmon roe for schooling kings.

Deep Creek- Mile 138. Parking and campground areas along the highway and down at the mouth along the beach. A very popular area providing saltwater fishing for kings, silvers and halibut as well as the freshwater fishery for kings, silvers and dolly varden. Steelhead during the late summer and fall. Tractor launch for saltwater boats.

Stariski Creek- Mile 151. Parking area at road crossing and campground 1 mile south. This is a king salmon spawning stream and is closed to those fish. Dolly varden, steelhead and silvers are present during late summer and early fall.

Anchor River- Mile 157. Camping areas and commercial establishments. Spring, summer and fall fisheries for king salmon, silvers, dolly varden and steelhead.

The Fishing Hole, Homer Spit- An Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game enhanced fisheries program. This lagoon has ample parking and camping areas. Beginning in early June king salmon arrive in large numbers. Silver salmon arrive after the kings are gone and pink salmon follow the silvers. These fish return to this lagoon as their "birthplace" and have no where to spawn in freshwater. This is called a terminal fishery program and designed to provide a great many anglers an opportunity to catch these fish in an easily accessible area. Lures, spoons, spinners, salmon roe and herring are used.

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Skilak Loop Road Fisheries

Hidden Lake- Mile 59 Sterling Highway turnoff; travel 3.5 miles down Skilak Loop Road. A campground is present along with a boat launch. This is a year-round fishery providing rainbows, lake trout, Dolly Varden and kokanee. Ice fishing for lakers throughout the winter. Lake can be hazardous for boats during high winds which come up suddenly. Lake freezes later than other lakes and safe ice thickness is later than most lakes. Use caution and test the ice as you go.

Upper & Lower Ohmer Lakes- Mile 7.5 & 8.5 on Skilak Loop Rd. Campground and boat launch facilities on lower lake. This is a summer and fall fishery for rainbows and Dolly Varden.

Engineer Lake- Mile 9 Skilak Loop Rd. Camping area and parking. Rainbows, Dolly Varden and landlocked silvers are present in this lake. Ice fishing is available and good throughout the winter.

Skilak Lake-Upper and Lower Campgrounds. Campgrounds and boat launches at both sites. Winter and spring lake trout fishing at lower campground near river outlet. Use salmon roe or cut herring. Dolly Varden, rainbows, sockeye salmon, silvers and whitefish present in the lake system from June through late fall. Lake can be very dangerous for boats due to sudden high winds.

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Swanson River Road Fisheries

Forest Lakes- Mile 9.5 Swanson River Road. Parking area provided. Summer and fall fishery for rainbow trout.

Dolly Varden Lake- Mile 14 Swanson River Road. A campground is present. Good fishing year-round for rainbows and arctic char. Easy launch for canoes.

Rainbow Trout Lake- Mile 16 Swanson River Road. Rainbows and arctic char are available year-round. A good fishery for winter ice fishing.

Swanson River- Mile 18 Swanson River Road. Campground is present. This stream contains Dolly Varden and rainbows with a late summer run of silver salmon arriving in August. The stream is closed to fishing until after June 15th due to spawning trout.

Swan Lake Canoe Portage System- Mile 22 Swanson River Road. Parking area available. An excellent canoeing adventure with many lakes containing rainbow trout and arctic char. While canoeing to the next portage, try dragging a fly about 50 feet behind the canoe. Dinner is almost always assured. Also see our section on the Swanson River Canoe Trails for further details.

Swanson River Canoe Portage System- Mile 29 Swanson River Road. Parking is available. The starting point for another excellent canoeing system. Excellent fishing for rainbows and arctic char once you get a couple lakes back into the system. Lots of wildlife and serenity. Also see our section on the Swanson River Canoe Trails for further details.

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North Kenai Road Fisheries

Cabin Lake- Mile 21.5 North Kenai Road turnoff then 3 miles down Miller Loop Road. Parking area with year-round fishing for rainbow trout. Fish single salmon eggs or small pieces of salmon roe on the bottom. Fish move in schools around the lake shore. Fish to 2+ lbs.

Daniels Lake- Mile 30.3 North Kenai Road. Parking area available. Rainbow trout and dolly varden are present year-round.

Stormy Lake- Mile 36.5 North Kenai Road. Campgrounds, picnic area, swimming area and boat launch. Year-round fishery for Dolly Varden. Good winter ice fishing. Northern Pike have been illegally introduced in this lake and have severely reduced the Dolly Varden and other native fish species populations. ADFG is considering a pike eradication program perhaps in 2012. ADFG pike netting continues each year until then.

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