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  Home >> Alaska Fishing >> Kasilof River Salmon Fishing >> First-run Kasilof King Salmon







- More Info on Kasilof River, Alaska First-Run King Salmon Fishing -

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- Visit our Day on the Kasilof Page for about what you might expect on a Kasilof River trip!

Most popular of all of the Kasilof's salmon fisheries, the first-run king salmon begin making their appearance in early May. However, fishing doesn't really begin to pick up until mid-May with the river opening to the use of bait on the 16th. By the last week of the month, king fishing is in full swing with the run peaking around the 10th of June.

Alaska's most popular driftboat fishery, first-run salmon fishing on the Kasilof River provides the Kenai Peninsula's highest king salmon fishing success, many times higher than typical success rates on the nearby Kenai.

A nice chinook salmon caught in late May.

Late May Kasilof River King Salmon

The first-run Kasilof kings are primarily of hatchery origin (check the Alaska fishing regulations page for more information), returning to a small tributary named Crooked Creek about five miles upstream from the river's mouth. This is one of the only fisheries in the southcentral region in which anglers have an opportunity to harvest two king salmon daily.

These fish are similar to the highly-cherished 'spring chinook' stock of the lower 48, with the fish returning heavily laden in body fat and rich in oils, providing some of the finest eating of all the Pacific Salmon.

We generally run full-day trips for Kasilof kings, although half-day trips can be arranged. This is far and away our most popular salmon fishing trip in the months of May and June. Anglers looking for an 'action' fishery for kings should consider this trip, it's not uncommon to see a boat hook 25 (and sometimes more!) kings per day!

Mike Price brings a king aboard his boat for Larry Czonka.

Early run Kasilof kings typically average about 20 pounds and will sometimes reach 30-35 pounds. Outstanding fighters, they often leave rooster tails behind them in their sizzling runs across the early-season shallow waters of the Kasilof.

Most of our early season fishing consists of backtrolling sardine-wrapped kwikfish or jet diver/ spin 'n glo / egg combos, although in certain instances, we will backbounce eggs directly under the boat.

We typically spend the majority of our fishing trips in tidewater, looking for fish just entering the river. These fish are typically are more aggressive and provide better eating qualities when fresh out of the saltchuck. We tend to avoid some of the other anglers on the river by concentrating our efforts in the tidal water rather than the busy area at the mouth of Crooked Creek where many guides congregate to fish over kings waiting to ascend the creek.

A late June Kasilof King, early second run fish begin showing in the second half of the month.

As late June nears, we begin to see a few of the second-run kings mix in with the first-run fish, surprising anglers expecting fish of first-run size with trophy-class salmon in the 50-60 pound (or bigger) class!

On full day trips in late June, anglers may also have the opportunity to fish for sockeye salmon as well as kings on the same day!


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