There’s experiencing the outdoors, but then there’s experiencing the Alaskan wilderness. One of the main attractions of outdoor enthusiasts is the Kenai River, located in South Central Alaska.
The Kenai River is one of the most popular sport fishing destinations in the state because it is full of native Alaska fish species. As well as having plenty of types of fish in Alaska, the Kenair River basin is home to other wildlife, such as moose, bears, birds, and in the spring Beluga whales have even been found to travel six miles upstream to feed.
Kenai River fishing is a popular tourist attraction that brings people from all over the state and nation together for a common belief: that there’s nothing better than fishing. But if you’re new to the fishing scene, you may want to hang back and take a few guided fishing trips in Alaska before you set out to catch a big one.
The world record king salmon weighed about 97 pounds was caught in the Kenai River in 1985, and there are bound to be more like that monster waiting to take the bait line. Salmon fishing tours are some of the most popular fishing tours, mostly because there are more than five native Alaska fish species of salmon.
An estimated 72% of early-run fish spawn in tributary streams, most from the Kenai River, with peak spawning occurring mid-July. But before you head out on your fishing tour adventure, look through these five types of fish in Alaska you’re bound to come across while Kenai River fishing.
- Arctic Char: Normally found in freshwater lakes, Arctic char is an anadromous fish (they live in the sea and migrate upriver to spawn). This popular native fish boasts the largest population near the Kenai River. This Alaska fish species boasts colors ranging from red to gold depending on diet and season.
- Arctic Grayling: This sport fish is found nearly anywhere within Alaska’s freshwater systems and is easily identifiable because of it’s oversized dorsal fin. Unlike the Arctic char, the grayling will not always return to the same spawning ground as the previous year and instead looks for a better quality spawning habitat.
- Chinook Salmon: Alaska’s prized possession, this is Alaska’s state fish, and is the largest of all the salmon species. Mostly found in southeastern Alaskan waters, this freshwater fish spawns between May and July once a year and it is quite a spectacle to watch if you decide to hop on a salmon tour.
- Coho Salmon: Also known as the Silver salmon, this fish is often difficult to catch, making it a fun challenge for those visiting the Kenai River. This species is the most prevalent salmon found in Alaska and boats a blue-green back with a white or silver belly when found in a saltwater habitat.
- Halibut: One of the most expensive and cherished fish among foodies, this fish is known for it’s delicious white meat and non-intense fishy flavor. This Alaska fish species is fished all year round because of the popular demand and is easily distinguishable because of it’s one white side and one brown side.