Spotlight: Lower Kasilof River
It seems appropriate to start our spotlight series on one of the very first fisheries we tackle in the spring/summer season, the lower Kasilof! This is the first post in our spotlight series, so stay tuned for more posts featuring more of your favorite fisheries in the near future!
Close your eyes and imagine a river with a prolific run of hatchery King Salmon, the second biggest Sockeye salmon run on the Kenai Peninsula, a 2nd run of King Salmon with fish rivaling the largest salmon in the world, a great Silver Salmon run in the early fall, and the northernmost Steelhead fishery in North America…. you’re imagining the Kasilof River! Located only 12 miles south of Soldotna, the Kasilof isn’t only a productive fishery, but a tranquil and scenic one as well. Drift boat fishing is the norm here, making for a peaceful experience that’s rare in other parts of the Kenai Peninsula during the busy season. The Kasilof, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated fisheries in the world. Its proximity to the mighty Kenai is its biggest curst or blessing, depending upon how you look at it, but there’s no doubt that it gets overlooked only because it’s simply not the Kenai River….I strongly urge you to not overlook it yourself.
The Lower Kasilof is one of the earliest freshwater fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula, and we look forward to it every year to produce the first chrome Kings in the month of May. Early run King Salmon seem to have a little extra fire in their belly, and a 20 pounder has the tendency to rip drag, tail walk, and take even the savviest of anglers to school.
The early run of King Salmon on the Kasilof is hatchery supplemented, and most fish are between 12 and 25 pounds, with an occasional larger fish being caught.
Catchable numbers of Sockeye begin to show up in mid-June, and this run lasts about a month or so. We often pull over for a bit around the high tide to try and catch some of these fish sneaking through, and sometimes we get lucky 🙂
July on the Kasilof means BIG Kings! Don’t be brain washed into thinking these Kings are anything less than what they are – extremely special and unique fish that rival even those on the neighboring Kenai River, and they should be treated as such.
Silver Salmon fishing on the Kasilof is one of the most exciting fisheries around, and sometimes we catch them sitting in as little as 12 inches of water… and they have nowhere to go but UP! The lower Kasilof can have great Silver Salmon fishing throughout August and September.
Drift boat fishing is the way to get it done on this peaceful and productive river. Hooking fresh salmon from the drift boat is a challenge, and a whole lot of fun!