15 Tips On How To Enjoy Alaska And The Kenai Peninsula

1. Research

Please do your homework. Our 5 websites provide a wealth of information and even an FAQ section. There are also many articles online about the Kenai Peninsula. Try to understand its nuances, history, climate, geography, the fishing and any other charters you are doing. The Kenai has its remote areas but much of it has been developed and there are superstores, restaurants, and numerous small towns. Study up to make the most of your trip!

2. Read Reviews

Read reviews…positive and negative and ask Russell management questions or voice any concerns.

3. Don’t Try to See Too Much

Don’t try to see too much. Alaska is an enormous state and what may seem like a day trip may not be. For example, it’s hard to visit Denali and the Kenai in just one week. You need a vehicle to drive to the various launch points we fish from.

4. What to Pack

Pack light but pack for cool or even cold temps. It rains in Alaska quite regularly so waterproof shoes or ankle boots are recommended. When planning a river charter dress for temps 10-15 degrees colder than the forecast. Warm socks and long underwear are a must!

5. Rest and Relax!

Rest and relax!  Most of you had hours of travel to get here.  A lack of sleep/rest and in some cases a dramatic time zone change can make you feel overwhelmed, irritable and even confused.  If you can, arrive early enough to drive to the lodge, and get a good night’s sleep before fishing.  If you arrive very late, plan to stay in Anchorage and drive the next day or in some cases simply make the first day after arrival your scheduled day off.

6. Expect Mixed Results

Be prepared for mixed fishing results.  Even though Alaska television shows thousands of salmon making the rivers “boil”, that is not commonplace. Yes, you can see spawning salmon but those are not there to catch…they are there to reproduce. With 5 varieties of salmon, the Kenai has some of the best “runs”.  But they are called “runs” for a reason.  They are anadromous fish that return in short periods to their place of birth. The king runs are June and July, Sockeye runs somewhat coincides with Kings. Coho is August and Pinks are August in every even year.  Techniques vary as well as success.  Weather, water conditions (temperature, color and flow), run timing and commercial netting influence success rates. One thing to remember is that Kenai King Salmon are a trophy fish on the most famous river in the world and is like trophy hunting where you are targeting a large king.  Sockeye are abundant when running but the ONLY way to catch them is “flossing” which is a finesse technique like snagging. Coho and pinks are also plentiful and fun to catch.  Coho are fine table fare but pinks are normally released.  One day can be stellar fishing and the next a complete bust….” its fishing, not catching”.
​You have the ability to fish on your own but we don’t encourage it unless you are familiar with Kenai techniques and big rivers. There is limited public access and big river fishing is challenging and sometime hazardous for the inexperienced. It is even called combat fishing.  Some stout gear is provided for sockeye fishing but that is a short window.  There is a reason you hired a professional guide service….TO AVOID THIS

7. Understand Different Fish

Understand the other species in the rivers. Rainbow trout and dolly varden fishing on the Kenai can be terrific starting June 15 and peaking in August/September.  But remember these are trophy, native fish and they are catch and release only.

8. Take Advantage of The Salt

Take advantage of Saltwater fishing which boasts consistent halibut fishing. Although “barn doors” of 50-150 lbs. are regularly caught, the average Alaska Halibut is about 25 lbs.  Cook Inlet has a 2-fish limit (the rest of Alaska has a 1 fish limit), and one of the fish in Cook Inlet must be 28 inches (less than 10 lbs.) and the other can be any size…. hopefully a big one. We launch from Homer so “blow offs” are at a minimum unlike the popular beach launches.  However, wind, weather and tides can affect the fishing and our ability to get to our favorite spots. On many days, we fish for (and get limits of )salmon or rockfish as well.

9. Try not to make “meat fishing” your priority. ​

Try not to make “meat fishing” your priority.  Our guests average almost 40 lbs. of fillets (that’s close to 90 lbs. of fish caught) to take home.  We cover the cost of your first box as well.  If you catch more…great….we will help you work with our professional processor.   If you catch less, bear in mind that a pound of fish is a meal for at least 2 people.  If you are coming just for meat, it is less expensive to buy it at your local store.

10. Consider Other Alaska Adventures

Consider enjoying other adventures like fly in fishing with possible bear viewing, or Chinitna Bay Bear Viewing Cruise.

11. The Kenai Peninsula’s location and affordability

Take advantage of The Kenai Peninsula’s location and affordability. It is much more reasonable than resorts in Southeast Alaska and Bristol Bay…in many cases,  half as much.  Each area has advantages and we of course think the Kenai has the best variety and the highest probability of fishing success. The downside of affordability and convenient location is its popularity for tourists looking to enjoy the same adventures as our guests.

12. Enjoy the Wildlife

Enjoy the abundant wildlife but understand it is not a “Zoo” like atmosphere.  Moose are very common even on lodge property, caribou are seen regularly, and eagles are abundant.  You have a change to see bears but it is not a common occurrence.  Marine mammals and animals are also seen by our guests but certainly not guaranteed.  Orcas and whales are seen on many salt trips; seals are in the rivers often; sea otters are quite abundant.  There are many other species of birds, ducks, loons and significant unique vegetation

13. Listen to the Experts

Listen to the experts.  Fishing techniques are unique and many fish are larger than most people have ever caught.  Our guides are professional fishermen with training and experience on Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet waters. They all have unique personalities.  Some are entertainers…some are quiet…ALL ARE EXPERT FISHERMEN!  Our lodge managers know the Peninsula very well but may not know about other areas of Alaska.  Take their advice and take advantage of their local knowledge. Kenai and Soldotna also have excellent visitor’s centers with many tourist resources.

14. ​Have high expectations but understand that there may be glitches

Have high expectations but understand that there may be glitches.  Mistakes and changes by some guests have domino effects on others.   Weather is difficult to predict even hour to hour.  Fishing success is highly unpredictable.   We have catered to thousands of guests over the years and have experience pretty much anything that can occur.  We will always handle any situation we are made aware of in a professional., courteous and timely manner.

15. ​Don’t just visit, but “experience” the Kenai Peninsula!

Don’t just visit, but “experience” the Kenai Peninsula! Russell Fishing understands that for many guests, this is a once in a lifetime vacation.  It’s a bucket list item for many.  We will do our best to maximize your enjoyment and help you make memories!