Kenai River Fishing Guide
Guided Silver Salmon Fishing in Cooper Landing
The silver streak screamed out of the bubbling rapids and snatched the jig as it drifted along the current seam. When it bolted upstream it bent the rod to full arc and the fight was on.
The silver salmon, or coho salmon as they are called in the Lower 48, are the Kenai River’s fish of the fall. The early-bird silver/coho salmon show up in late July and early August to spawn in the Kenai River, and start their journey upstream making their way into the smaller tributaries that drain into the Kenai River watershed. The Kenai River has two runs of silver salmon, the first run is the tributary silver/coho salmon, and the second run of silver/coho salmon is the main stream spawners with the majority of the salmon spawning in the Kenai River itself and some of the tributaries below Skilak Lake.
Launching all of it’s ten pounds clear of the river’s surface the rod tip straightened and the line went slack. Head shaking the entire time it was a 50/50 gamble the silver was going to toss that lure.
The first run of silver/coho salmon make it up to the Middle Kenai River in mid August and to the Upper Kenai River in good numbers by August 20. The first run of silver/coho salmon slows down or is finished running by the first week of September. The guides at Jason’s Guide Service fish the silver-coho salmon on the middle and upper Kenai River. The first run of silvers average six to ten pounds per fish with some silver-coho salmon getting as big as 12 pounds. The limit is two salmon per angler per day. The prime time for the first run of silver-coho salmon is usually the last ten days of August because the fish have seen less pressure from anglers and have yet to go into their spawning mode.
The jig held and the salmon made a run so powerful the drag on the reel was pushed to the limit. At this point neither the fish or the angler was in control.
The second run of silver-coho salmon show up on the Middle and Upper Kenai River around September 1st, overlapping the first run of silvers. The second run of silver-coho salmon average 8-12 pounds with salmon getting as big or bigger than 15 pounds. The second run of silver-coho salmon is bigger in numbers than the first run of silver-coho salmon and can sustain into winter. The prime time for second run silver- coho salmon can range from September through October. The salmon runs vary from year to year so knowing exactly when the the brunt of the run will show up is anyone’s guess. Most years the fishing is good or great in the months of September and October with there being slower and hotter times throughout the run like any natural resource. Jason’s Guide Service fishes the second run of silvers until October 31. The second run of silver salmon has a two or three fish limit depending on the dates one is fishing. After several water-clearing leaps the fish began to tire and it looked like the advantage was going to the angler. Then the salmon made a run to the deep channel where the current was swift and took a turn downstream. Smart move.
The timing of the silver-coho run can change yearly due to factors in the ocean and in the river. When Jason’s Guide Service gives you dates for prime time silver/coho fishing we are playing the percentages and giving you the laws-of-average from what we have experienced year-to-year
fishing the Kenai River for silver/coho salmon. Jason’s Guide Service also studies the data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists to better our knowledge of the fish and recourse we fish daily.
When fishing silver/coho salmon you need the best gear on the planet. It was a quality drag, a precision reel and a tuned rod that was the decisive factor in turning a tired fish towards the boat and guiding it into lesser current.
Fishing for silver/coho salmon can be some of the most fun an angler can have salmon fishing. The silver salmon are the most athletic of all the salmon species with fast runs and explosive launches often completely clearing the water. Jason’s Guide Service uses all the tools in the tool box to fish for silver/coho salmon. Fly fishing with big and small streamers is a favorite of many anglers as well as drifting smaller flies under an indicator in the slower currents, pools and eddies the silver/coho salmon inhabit. Back-trolling plugs, casting spinners, spoons, and jigs in the slower waters of the Kenai River and running drifts with the float rods are all some of the techniques used when fishing the silver-coho salmon on the Kenai.
The fish was led to the net and landed. The smile on the angler’s face was a fitting end to a perfectly executed battle with a premier opponent. After a half dozen photos the fish found it’s final resting place in the cooler.
Whether caught on fly rod or spinning gear, silver/coho salmon are the perfect choice for the angler looking for great sport or table fare. The guides at Jason’s Guide Service fillet all the salmon retained on your guided silver salmon fishing trip and direct you to the best salmon processors in Cooper Landing or Soldotna. Silver/coho salmon are a great fish to target solely or to combo up with rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char. It’s fall fishing on the Kenai River, and this is a wonderful time to be there. You’ll find fewer people and enjoy the splendid colors of fall and all that Alaska offers that time of year.