Experience One of Nature’s Largest Salmon Migrations
Each year tens of thousands of sockeye salmon (also known as red salmon) make their migration from the Pacific Ocean to the Kenai River to return to their spawning grounds. This natural phenomenon not only attracts bears and wildlife, who feed on the salmon as they make the perilous journey up river. It’s also one of the largest gatherings of Alaskan residents to participate in the Kenai Personal Use Fishery for dipnetting.
The beautiful Kenai River is a large glacial system that flows through the north end of the Kenai Peninsula. It winds 82 miles to the City of Kenai where the river meets the Upper Cook Inlet, and the popular Kenai Personal Use Fishery takes place. This dipnet fishery is among the most visited in the entire state of Alaska, hosting a sockeye run that peaks in July.
The sockeye salmon make their migration up the Kenai River from approximately July 10th to July 31st, although the exact timing changes from year to year. The City of Kenai has their own Dipnet App to keep you informed of when the sockeye are running, facilities, weather conditions, and live stream webcams from around the fishery.
Alaskans from all over the state make the annual trip for a week of camping and stocking up their freezers for the colder months. Although the event attracts anglers from around the world, only resident Alaskans can participate in dipnetting.
Alaskans harvest, on average, somewhere between 130,000 and 540,000 sockeye salmon annually in the Kenai Personal Use Fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River.
If you decide to witness this annual migration as a nature watcher, bring your taste for Alaskan adventure, as you may be met with rain and wind, or conversely beautiful sunny skies. The City of Kenai provides lots of support to keep your needs met both in and out of the water. Some of the services supporting the fishery can be accessed for a small fee including: parking, beach camping, restrooms, trash collection, and boat launches.
For Alaskans participating in the Kenai Personal Use Fishery, you can spend your day stocking your winter freezers with salmon and spend your nights relaxing on a beach campsite with your family and friends.
(Check the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the most up to date equipment and permit regulations by clicking here)
Got everything sorted? We will “catch” you in Kenai in July!