Drift Boat

Fishing Guides

Drift Boat Fishing

The Kenai Peninsula

Cooper Landing and Kenai Lake

Within an easy days drive from Anchorage lies Cooper Landing and Kenai Lake, the headwaters of the Kenai River.  The Upper Kenai River provides an easy day trip from the big city to world class fishing and scenery.  Cooper Landing is a sleepy little fishing village and former mining town nestled in the Chugach National Forest. 

The Kenai River starts its journey to Cook Inlet from Kenai Lake.  The clear tribuaties and glacial runoff mix together in the lake to create the most beautiful glacial blue waters.

local steelhead

Fishing The Upper Kenai River 

The fabled waters of the Upper Kenai River are located in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula.  This world renowned fishing destination is less than two hours from Anchorage and boasts some of the best scenery on the whole river.  Fishing from a drift boat on the Upper Kenai River is the best way to target fish and take in the breathtaking mountain scenes.  The upper river is drift boat only all the way down to Skilak Lake and has four major access points.

The Upper Kenai River is well known for its resident dolley varden and rainbow trout that come in and out of Kenai lake into the river.  While numbers of fish fluctuate seasonally there are always impressive numbers of trout and char in the Upper Kenai.

local steelhead

Upper Kenai River Salmon

The upper Kenai receives an incredible run of sockeye salmon each year that will both continue into Kenai Lake, its tributaries and also spawn in the main river itself.  The upper river also receives silver salmon that will mostly spawn in the main-stem Kenai.  Both sockeye (red salmon) and silver salmon (coho) are able to make it to the upper river more than fresh enough to eat, though the fish that linger on their way up may not be great table fare.    

Salmon that stay in the Upper River will stage adjacent to their spawning ground until it’s time to reproduce.  Most of the salmon that spawn in the upper river are sockeye or reds, with others mixed in at a low percentage.  The Kenai River’s water is at its clearest in Cooper Landing and salmon can be observed on their natal spawning beds with the naked eye.    

Sockeye salmon limits
Kenai river

The Russian River Area

The Russian River can be synonymous with both salmon fishing and crowds.  While the salmon are incredibly prevalent in the Russian River so can be people.  Accessibility is great along the Russian River which leads to potentially crowded fishing.  The use of a drift boat allows us to leave most of the bank access anglers behind and find our own chunk of scenery to fish.    

The Russian River lies within the Chugach National Forest, America’s largest National Forest.  Given the small size of the stream and abundance of salmon, accessibility is also great for wildlife, specifically bears!  Bear viewing along the Russian river is at its best on all of the Kenai Peninsula and provides the most economical do-it-yourself bear viewing in the whole state of Alaska.  Though these charismatic bears seem almost domesticated they are wild animals, should be treated with respect and always approached with caution.

kenai river bear viewing
sockeye salmon pool

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR)

Downstream of the Russian River and Chugach National Forest is the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  This 1.92 million acre wildlife habitat was set aside as a preserve in 1941 and has halted all development within its boundaries since.

The Kenai River Canyon is by far the most iconic section of the upper river, with many different beautiful cliff faces and other geomorphological features.  The scenery can be a true distraction from the fishing!  The canyon float ends with a several mile “motor out” across Skilak Lake, which is also entirely encompassed in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  As users of the “KNWR” we have to have special permits for commercial use as well as pay a day use fee for all guests we bring into the refuge, worth it!

An image of the Anchorage Fishing Guides at Outgoing Angling at a salmon camp outside Anchorage.
An image of the Anchorage Fishing Guides at Outgoing Angling at a salmon camp outside Anchorage.

Drift Boat Fishing The Kasilof River

The Kasilof River provides us our starting point each season, May 16th is the annual bait opener for the Kasilof River hatchery king fishery.  The Lower Kasilof River is one of the few remaining king salmon fisheries in Central Alaska.

The Upper Kasilof River receives the first big push of sockeye salmon (reds) late June, usually a full two weeks before the Kenai River.  The Upper Kasilof consists of the drift boat float from Tustumena Lake to the Sterling Highway bridge and is also party in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.    

An image of the Anchorage Fishing Guides at Outgoing Angling at a salmon camp outside Anchorage.

-Cooper Landing Fishing Guide-

-Kasilof River Drift Boat Guides-

An image of a tarpon at the side of a Florida Keys Fishing Charter on-board Outgoing Angling.

Kenai River Trout Fishing

Learn more about the trophy rainbow trout fishery on the Kenai River and see why they are a coveted gamefish of Alaska.


king salmon tail

Kasilof River Salmon Fishing

The Kasilof River receives an early run of salmon annually, we target these fish first and then move to the Kenai River as the season progresses.


Photos from our Drift Boat Fishing Trips

anchorage salmon fishing
dolly varden on fly rod
blushed king