USGS Stream Data

Kenai Rvr @ CooperLndg

  • Water Temp: 44.24 ° F
  • Flow: 7020 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.91 ft

Middle Kenai @ Skilak

  • Flow: 9440 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.15 ft

Talkeetna Rvr

  • Water Temp: 49.82 ° F
  • Flow: 10100 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 6.46 ft

Situk Rvr

  • Water Temp: 54.5 ° F
  • Flow: 143 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 65.40 ft
Ask About Fly Fishing

Fishing Opener Trip

Kenai River Opener: June 11th – 13th

As we have for the last few years; Lance, Dennis, & I took three days at the beginning of the season opener to float fish the Kenai River. The campground is in Cooper Landing, right on the river. Actually, it’s our campsites that are right next to the river, giving us the prime location for launching our pontoon boats.

001_KenaiRvr_2013-06-11__0071Speaking of boats… I have a new one! It’s the 9’ Sportsman Warehouse special from Outcast.

I reversed the tubes as I didn’t receive any discount that warranted free advertising on the river. I’m planning on getting vinyl banners printed and attached to the tubes that will promote 2 Guys Fly Fishing (and my photography business if my lovely partner gets her way).  Anyway, the boat is solid and handled well, and considering the price point, a great deal.

The Kenai River was high, up to its banks, and we saw higher water each day, thanks to the stick marker put in by Dennis. With the high water came low water clarity. Both of these contributed to poor fishing.

Thank you Mother Nature for a late and very warm spring; all the local drainages are currently running high and off color.


On the first day’s float I suggested that we should try the first braid to the left. It was easily twice the size it has been in the past due to last fall’s flooding and the high water this spring.

Bad decision! There was no place to pull over and fish, and then, just as we got to the end, we found a little surprise; a large cottonwood that had fallen across the entire width of the braid. Fortunately I saw the line of white water far enough ahead to pull over and scout the area. We tried floating Lance’s boat (empty) over the log. That did not work very well at all. We made it, but not without a couple moments of way too much excitement. We ended up land hauling the other two boats and all our gear up and around the cottonwood. There’s a video clip of the process with my boat; it ain’t pretty! Way too much work for old guys in 70 degree temperatures and waders. We stuck to the main channel for the rest of the day.


That evening we were treated to a rain shower followed by a double rainbow and then shortly thereafter a supernumerary rainbow. (Yes – I Googled for the proper name.)

This, by the way, is the only rainbow I caught all three days.

Lance and Dennis however did better.

044_KenaiRvr_2013-06-11__0040 048_KenaiRvr_2013-06-11__0047Lance has been concentrating on his new Hevi-Bead system this season, and it served him well with several nice fish. Dennis fished a variety of patterns, but caught fish after he switched to a plain traditional bead. The best fishing was, ironically, just off our campsites where we launch. The worst fishing was in the rest of the Kenai, at least for us. We did see some fish being caught. Mostly from guided drift boats back trolling, but some from the banks. I used big (#6 & #8) stone fly nymphs under an indicator occasionally, but stayed with swinging tube flies (streamers) on the 200g sink-tip for most of my fishing. I rolled one fish towards the end of the second day.

That, added to a lone 10” Dolly Varden at the campsite Tuesday (12:05AM), led me to decide to try the canyon on the Russian River dark-thirtyThursday morning for sockeyes. 5:00AM comes early, and even then, by the time I hiked up into the canyon there were fishermen at the spot I had wanted to fish. (Welcome to the new world order.) Deciding to wade across at the bottom of the pool/run was my second bad decision for the trip. I went for a short swim half way across. The water runs heavy in the canyon, and although I usually can judge the river (and my ability), a misstep mid-river is never a good thing. However, I take some solstice in that it’s my first swim in about 12 years. Anyway, an hour later, with two lost fish and one on the bank I started to get hypothermic (the shakes) and decided that though I had already been foolish, no sense in being stupid. A different tact through the bottom of the run, and a 45 minute hike out of the canyon, warmed me up enough to get over the shakes and back to camp for dry clothes and warm coffee.

058_KenaiRvr_2013-06-11__0069Overall it was a good trip with no complaints (except maybe for the hordes of ravenous mosquitoes), especially given our water conditions this spring. We saw a big black bear on a back channel looking for dinner, got to play around with our GoPros, both drifting and underwater on sockeyes, and got to float and fish in T-shirts – a rarity in south-central Alaska.

I’m hoping to post underwater video of the sockeyes at the confluence, but video is a whole new learning curve and very time consuming. Keep checking; between Lance & me we got some really cool footage.

Thanks for visiting, and y’all come back again.





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