Float fishing in the Kenai River

My earliest memories of fishing are when I was a young child, knee high to a grasshopper.  I remember going to the reservoirs and lakes in Iowa with my Dad, uncles and grandparents. My grandmas were great anglers in their own right.  We would fish together as a family and I would sit next to one of my grandparents or dad and cast a nightcrawler on a hook under a red and white bobber with my Zebco 202 and fiberglass rod laying that bait into the still waters that were loaded with fish.  We would catch panfish, bass, bullheads, catfish, carp, anything that bit, and keep most everything we caught.  When I was a little older I was allowed to fish the rivers with faster currents with my uncles where I would cast the same bobber rigs out for anything that bit.  

Forty plus years years later I still fish bobbers, but now I call them floats, or indicators, and do it with ten-and-a-half and eleven-and-a-half foot GLoomis float rods with Shimano spinning reels spooled with floating line designed for float fishing on the Kenai River and other various rivers in Alaska.  The long rods and floating line allow for longer drifts with less drag from the current so we can get a dead drift with out the drift speeding up due to submerged line in the current.  Though all this sounds a little technical, it’s actually very easy and fun.

Not every angler that fishes with Jason’s Guide Service wants to try fly fishing so we have these float rods set up for dead drifting flesh flies, egg patterns, nymphs, and leeches, all techniques that are deadly on the Kenai River.  Long float rods and floating line paired with a slip or fixed float makes it easy to present your chosen fly to the hungry rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and silver salmon.

Float rods fished out of the drift boat require short casts and very little mending of line because the boat and the float are moving the same speed down the Kenai.  When we fish float rods from shore we can cast to all the different water columns in the river and run long drifts or short depending on your preference and the water fished.  The versatile technique of float fishing allows you to run drifts in deeper water with a slip float or you can fish a fixed float in the shallower water with a shorter leader.  There are many ways to fish the float rod for all the species of salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char on the Kenai River and the fishing guides at Jason’s Guide Service fishes them all.

I’ve come a long way on my journey as an angler and feel blessed to have a great family that took the time to get me outdoors and fishing every waking moment we could find when I was growing up in Iowa and Minnesota.  The journey has lead me down many rabbit holes in my quest to be a great angler and guide, and float fishing is one of my favorite most effective ways to fish for salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char there is. I may call a bobber a float, or an indicator, and sometimes I call an indicator or float a bobber, but at the end of the day no matter what you call it or what rod and reel you attach it to, the bobber, or float, is a great tool or technique to put up numbers of trophy rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and silver salmon on the Kenai River and is a real fun way to fish.  Watching that float get tugged down into the aqua blue waters of the Kenai River and then setting the hook with a long float rod and feeling the tug of that monster fish as they run into the currents of the might Kenai is an experience everyone should enjoy once in their lifetime.

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