Fishing on the Kenai Peninsula
Alaska is one of the premier fishing destinations of the world. With annual salmon runs totaling in the millions, our rivers offer some of the most dynamic and productive fishing to be found.
The Kenai Peninsula is often referred to as “Alaska’s Playground”. Centrally located in the stunning Chugach National Forest, Cooper Landing is an excellent place to set up your home base. We are an easy drive away from the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park out of Seward or Halibut Fishing in the Cook Inlet. Best of all, we are right in the middle of some of the best trout and salmon fishing waters in the world. The Mighty Kenai River, the Russian River, Quartz Creek and the Kasilof River are all easily accessed from our location.
Our season begins in mid-May when the King Salmon begin to arrive. The season ends in Mid-October when the snow begins to fall and the Rainbow Trout are fat and happy. We have assembled some of the best and most passionate guides on the river to cater to all of your fishing needs. Our primary goal is to ensure that every guest, from first timers to clients who return every year, have the trip of a lifetime. We are not satisfied with anything less than greatness and that philosophy echoes throughout our organization. Our fishing guides are fishing fanatics and are on the water the entire year, rain or shine. So, rest assured that when you book a trip with us, you are getting someone who is not only great with people, but knows where the fish are, and will also give you the best chance at hooking into that fish of a lifetime.
Fishing Trips Offered
The options are truly endless when it comes to fishing in Alaska. We pride ourselves on offering our guests some of the most incredible guided fishing opportunities in Alaska. The guides we employee and hire are some of the best in Alaska. The knowledge, enthusiasm and passion that our guides have for fishing and guiding is rarely matched. From the first call, our goal is to get you lined up with the perfect guide on the perfect stretch of water for you.
Trophy Rainbow Trout
Many anglers come to Alaska for the first time with salmon in mind, but after a few visits they quickly realize that the Kenai River is home to some of the best Trophy Rainbow Trout fishing in the world. Most of the Rainbow Trout are native to the Kenai River and most of the rainbows are resident fish (they never leave the Kenai River). Due to the fish being native and growing to impressive sizes, our guides practice catch and release to ensure there are big fish for years to come.
With over a million salmon entering the Kenai River every year, the Native Rainbow Trout are provided with a never ending supply of food. This enables the Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River to reach epic sizes and proportions. For anglers dreaming of catching a prized 30” trout, this is the river for you. The Kenai River is one of the few watersheds in the world where 30” + Rainbow Trout can be found regularly and are hooked into! In Alaska, it is certainly one of the most easily accessible Trophy Rainbow fisheries. Right on the road system, there are spots you can still pull over and throw a line in or you can hire a guide to get you to the tried and true “honey holes” by boat.
The Kenai River provides anglers with 82 miles of river to fish; creating endless opportunities for beginners, families, and experts. No matter what your time constraints, we have the trip for you. Our professional guides are some of the very best and will work tirelessly to ensure your fishing trip is that of a lifetime. We will customize your trip to fit your experience and needs to make a trip like no other!
Why Do They Come? They Come For The Salmon Fishing!
People come to Kenai River Drifter’s Lodge for many reasons. The pristine Alaskan outdoors is always a great factor but by and large, the biggest reason people come to this area is for the fishing—and to be even more specific, they come for the Alaska salmon fishing!
Salmon Fishing In Alaska—It’s All Here
For salmon fishing, the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska is hard to beat. The reason is simple: the Kenai Peninsula has Native Wild Alaska Salmon in abundance. We believe the great variety, larger fish size, plentifulness and easy accessibility makes it the best place in the world to fish for salmon.
If you want to make the most of salmon fishing in Alaska then Drifters Lodge on the Kenai River has to be on the top of your list.
The Kenai Peninsula, the place Kenai River Drifters Lodge lovingly calls home, is home to major salmon rivers. Perhaps you recognize some of these famous names (and if not, you soon will!):
- Our home, the Kenai River
- The Russian River (just down the road)
- The Kasilof River
- The Anchor River
- The Ninilchik River
- Deep Creek
We operate on all of these rivers at various times of the year to bring you the best Alaskan salmon fishing anywhere; we’re sure you’ll find that there are more fish here than you could ever dream of catching!
Alaska Salmon Fishing Charters At Kenai River Drifters Lodge
Our main attraction in the summer is Alaska salmon fishing (the Kenai River is just so well suited to it!). We operate our Alaska salmon fishing charters to maximize the area’s resources. Depending on the time of year, we run these Alaska salmon fishing charters on a near daily basis:
- Kenai River Salmon Fishing
- Russian River Salmon Fishing
- Kasilof River Salmon Fishing
Most years, Six Mile Creek, Anchor River, Ninilchik River, and Deep Creek also have great salmon runs but because our main “Home” rivers are so productive, we reserve the other four rivers primarily for steelhead and trout in the spring and fall. At the request of our guests, the guides are always ready to fish these rivers.
For those of you out there looking for the best options in Alaska salmon fishing, this is your place. You will not find another lodge that has the ability to combine beautiful natural habitat with skilled fishing charters and a multitude of recreational activities.
Our ultimate goal at Kenai River Drifters Lodge is to provide you with the Alaska salmon fishing experience of a lifetime. Help us fulfill our goals as we bring you ever closer to yours! Come and enjoy the best all-around salmon fishing Alaska has to offer.
Meet Our Fishing Guides
Evan Smith originally from Southern WV. Grew up fishing native Brooke trout, rainbows, and browns in the Appalachian Mountains. Recent Wildlife and Fisheries resources Grad from WVU. Absolutely love being outdoors and on the water.
Jon grew up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina fishing for bass and warm-water species until he was introduced to fly fishing by a fifth grade teacher. He immediately fell in love with the sport, fishing for everything from Trout to Tarpon and constantly searching for the next new adventure.
As an avid outdoorsman who is passionate about wildlife conservation; Jon enjoys every aspect of guiding fishermen, new and old. He attended Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he obtained a B.S. in Sustainable Development and Biology. When he isn’t fishing; you can find Jon out hiking, traveling, tying flies or planning the next fishing destination for the off season.
Jon has guided in the mountains of North Carolina for four years, and Colorado two seasons as well. This is Jon’s fourth season as a fishing guide here at Drifters’ Lodge. He also holds a U.S. Coast Guard Masters License. He has the experience to put you on any Alaskan fish you would like to target, from powerful King Salmon to the Kenai’s famous Rainbow Trout!
Shawn Coe was born and raised in Bedford, Virginia. He grew up fishing for bass and crappie with his father in Virginia whenever it was possible, but was not introduced to fly fishing until years later. Shawn joined the Army and during his second tour in Afghanistan he was injured by a suicide bomber. Rehabilitation ensued and he was medically separated from the Army on July 28, 2014. As his rehabilitation continued, he joined “Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing” program at the Martinez Clinic. Shawn quickly took to fly fishing and soon was fishing as much as he possibly could at local rivers and lakes in Northern California. With the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program he has received national awards for his fly fishing abilities. He loves to fish for steelhead and salmon all along the West coast on rivers like the Lower Sacramento, the Rogue, and the American. His desire has taken him to the North, fishing for smallmouth bass in Michigan and to the South, to the Caribbean catching bonefish. His adventure is now taking him just a little farther North ……to Alaska.
Drifters Lodge is privileged to have Shawn as one of our enthusiastic fly fishing guides. We are proud that Shawn has helped defend our values as Americans and we will be forever grateful to him for that. We are also proud to support Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program and grateful that we were introduced to Shawn through this awesome program. His passion for fly fishing makes Shawn an awesome addition to our team here at Drifters and we know you will enjoy his enthusiasm while on the water with him.
Tyler began working with us in 2016 and has received some great reviews ever since. Tyler was born in Montana and grew up hunting and fishing. He came to Alaska in 2014 and began his career fishing out of Ketchikan for King salmon. He then spent 3 years working out of Seward as a mate on a halibut and salmon charter. It was last year he decided to move back to the fresh water and boy are we glad to have him. He has a strong work ethic and is very passionate about fishing. Guests love his passion and willingness to teach new anglers the skills needed to haul in their catch. Fishing with Tyler is an experience not to be missed. We at drifters are proud to welcome Tyler to our collection of world class guides.
Matty has been with us since the beginning of our guide program. Originally from Wyoming, Matty came up 13 years ago and immediately fell in love with Alaska. He left behind the bountiful waters of the North Platte and has been here ever since. One of his greatest joys is sharing his knowledge and skill with all that fish with him.
Fishing with Matty is an experience that will leave you wanting to return year after year. His knowledge, passion, patience, and skill make Matty in high demand from anglers of all skill levels. When he is not fishing the Kenai or Kasilof rivers, Matty travels the globe, honing his skills and chasing new and exotic species with a fly rod. Although he now lives off campus, we are proud to have Matty among the top of our prized guides here at Drifters.
Bio Coming Soon!
Jason has fished his entire life and is one of the most talented fishing guides on the Kenai Peninsula. He has fished the waters of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers for over nine years and teaches better than anyone. Jason loves for his clients to catch lots of fish and does everything possible to make it happen. At the end of the day, anglers have not only had a lot of fun, they have developed their fishing skills. Jason has a knack for finding the best fishing spots and he says that fishing from his drift boat is the most relaxing, yet exhilarating way to spend a day in this incredible wilderness area. When you fish with Jason, you can count on catching fish and having an unforgettable Alaskan adventure. This is Jason’s ninth year working with Drifter’s Lodge and we are fortunate to continue our association with him.
Alaskan grown, Alex is no stranger to the waters of the Kenai Peninsula. He has been fishing these very waters since he was a child. He is very passionate about fishing and has been adapting his techniques over the past two and a half decades. His energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm will ensure a trip you won’t soon forget. In the off season Alex spends his time roaming South America, honing his fishing skills. His travels have taken him from Mexico to Argentina, always with fly rod in hand. He is very dedicated to his profession and is more than happy to spend that extra time on the water, searching for “just one more fish.” Drifters Lodge is proud to have him among our guide staff and if you get the privilege to fish with Alex, you will see why.
This North Carolina native has fishing in his blood. Josh grew up fishing the rivers of North Carolina and surrounding states. When he wasn’t out fishing, he was out in the yard perfecting his fly casting techniques. Three years ago, he made his way up to Alaska and hasn’t looked back since. He has been hailed by many in the industry as one of the best sticks in Alaska. His skill and knowledge of fishing is matched by few providing both novice and advanced anglers with great insight into the game of fishing. Josh sleeps, eats and breaths fishing and his love for the sport is contagious. His easy going attitude and friendly personality make fishing with Josh a pleasure. Drifters Lodge is very fortunate to have Josh among our prized collections of guides.
John is 27 years old, born and raised in South Carolina. He grew up chasing whitetail bucks, long beard turkeys, and all different species of fresh and saltwater fish. While attending Appalachian State University in Boone, NC he picked up a fly rod and spent the rest of his school days chasing trout in the Appalachian Mountains with Jon Hulcher, also a Drifters guide.
After college, John traded in the fly rod for a backpack and spent the next four years hiking across the country, notching several hallowed treks into his belt. In 2014, the Appalachian trail from Georgia to Maine, in 2015, across Arizona on the Arizona Trail, in 2016, the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and in 2017, from Mexico to Canada again on the Continental Divide Trail. In total: close to 10,000 miles of steely adventure!
When you fish with John, you’ll share his sense of pure joy at being in the outdoors, and enjoy his stories from long miles logged on the trail and the river.
Bio Coming Soon.
Jack Mister was born and raised in southern Maryland. He grew up spin fishing with local legends Captains Cornette and Bartgis for striped bass, croaker, perch, large mouth bass and just about any other fish found in the Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River and their tributaries. His love for fishing expanded to the fly rod as he moved west to the mountains of Colorado. From there, he made his way north to the Kenai Peninsula where his dedication, knowledge, patience and easy-going attitude all added up to becoming a fishing guide here with us at Drifters. Jack loves what he does, and it’s easy to see as soon as you get out on the water with him.
Bio coming soon.
Fishing in and Around Cooper Landing
Make Cooper Landing and Drifters Lodge your home-base for exploring Alaska’s amazing Kenai Peninsula. This incredible spot in nature offers some of the best salmon and trout fishing you’ll ever experience, and we offer plenty of help to make sure of it!
Drifters Lodge provides you with fishing reports on a weekly basis for our area of Alaska. These reports are prepared by the guides most familiar with each location on the Kenai Peninsula. Guides provide reports throughout the busy summer season more often than in the off seasons. During winter, they will give reports as conditions change. Check our site for the most current, available information on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska fishing.
Please feel free to email or call with any questions about year-round fishing conditions in our area. We are always more than happy to help!
Kenai River Drifters Lodge offers many guided fishing trips. Drifters Lodge at Cooper Landing is sure to be a favorite destination for you, your family and your friends. We always have an adventure for you to embark on. Whether you want to fish for salmon during their peak season, tour the mountains, fjords and lakes by sea, land or air, Drifters Lodge always has something to offer. We would love to help you plan the trip of a lifetime. So, give us a call today and let’s make arrangements for your stay at Kenai River Drifters Lodge.
Drifters Lodge is located between two of the best salt water fisheries available in Alaska: The Cook Inlet (Ninilchik & Homer) and The Gulf of Alaska (Seward). We work with a few of the very best charter companies in each area. Whether you want to fish for halibut from your private chartered boat or you want to fish on a large 45-65 foot boat with 10-15 fishermen, we can help you plan your trip.
A boat for up to six people is usually 28-32 feet long and can have two or three different groups on them at the same time. These trips can either target strictly halibut, or a combination of halibut, salmon, rockfish and ling-cod. (The captain will advise us as to what is best at the time of your trip). The captain serves as your deckhand as well on these smaller trips.
Should you like a private fishing excursion for your group, you can rent the boat for the day. With this option, the captain will leave the itinerary up to you. They will explain the best options and allow you to choose what you prefer. By chartering the whole boat, the captain is better able to accommodate your preferences and cater exclusively to you.
The larger fishing vessels tend to be more stable on the water. Many people prefer them in the sometimes rocky, Alaskan waters. You buy a seat on the boat, along with up to 16 others. Each boat has one or two deckhands and a captain to help you throughout the day, making sure you are well taken care of.
The summer season provides great halibut fishing from mid-May through the end of August. Salmon are the freshest from the ocean and available for a limited time each summer Ling Cod season opens July 1, these are possibly the ugliest fish in the water, but also some of the tastiest! Yellow-eyed rockfish, black cod and yellow cod are also available year round.
Another great thing about fishing on the ocean is that these boats often take part of the same routes that the sight-seeing boats take, giving you the opportunity to see incredible scenery and wildlife through the day.
So, ask about our ocean fishing opportunities and we will help to make your Alaska fishing trip into the fullest and most gratifying experience possible.
Fly fishing lodges and fly fishing trips in Alaska are a dime a dozen. If you truly seek the ultimate fly fishing leader in Alaska, Drifter’s Lodge is your best bet for excellent trophy trout fly fishing trips, not to mention Dolly Varden and the always popular salmon.
The world famous Kenai River is known for its record Alaska salmon fishing, and it is the fall season when the hardest of hardcore anglers divert their attention to finding the best trout in Alaska. Drifter’s Lodge fishing guides in Cooper Landing have the experience and the least-known trout fishing secrets on the Kenai and Russian Rivers to help you land that trophy fish, so you can leave Alaska with a fish story that will blow away anything your buddies did down in Mexico, fishing for Marlin.
Fly fishing on the Kenai River is not like typical fly fishing streams because our expert fishing guides will help you understand how fish navigate in the River. For example, they can explain why fish in the Kenai River swim at the bottom, opposed to the top like most streams.
You better bring a camera because fly fishing in Alaska is as good as it gets and you don’t want to miss the moment you land a trophy fish! Moreover, our expert fishing guides know some awesome holes for those coveted trophy rainbow trout, including some great coaching techniques to get your dream fish into the net.
We offer numerous fly-fishing trips for all skill levels of fishermen. All of our guides are serious fly-fishermen, so they can fish with the best of them. They thrive on learning new things, fishing new streams, tying new flies and catching any type of fish. They are also very patient and helpful with more inexperienced and aspiring fly-fishermen.
Let our Kenai River Drifter’s Lodge certified Alaska fishing guides instruct you with a quick fly fishing lesson and fly fishing tips to help you enjoy the ultimate Alaska fishing adventure! We can provide you with the knowledge to catch trophy rainbow trout, Dolly Varden trout and Alaska salmon. You will be an able fly fisherman in no time! The young and inexperienced fishermen are the fastest to catch on, since they come without bad habits. Alaska fly fishing really is a wonderful experience for everyone.
Make sure to check out our comfortable fishing cabins during your stay on the Kenai River, in beautiful Cooper Landing Alaska.
Fly Out Fishing
If you want to get away from the crowds and experience the vast Alaskan back country with a world class guide, then this is the trip for you. Kenai River Drifters Lodge has teamed up with some of the best back country pilots on the Kenai Peninsula for a spectacular Alaskan experience. You will fly with your guide, over the breathtaking Chugach Mountain range, getting up close and personal with Alaska’s vast glacier fields. Your guide will chose one of the many secluded lakes for your adventure. Depending on the time of year, we can fish for Reds, Silvers, Rainbow Trout, Arctic Graying, or Arctic Char. Moose, Dall Sheep, Brown Bears, Black Bears, and Eagles are often seen. This is truly an experience like no other on earth!
Drifter’s Lodge will hook you up with the Alaska fly-out fishing trip you always dreamed of. Most Alaskans have not even seen the beauty that you will see on these trips. The pilots say that they never get bored with the beauty. It is really amazing to think that it doesn’t matter which trip you choose, you will experience much of what Alaska has to offer in just one trip. The flight alone gives you a bird’s eye view of Alaska’s wilderness from the time you take off to your lake or stream landing. You’ll spot glaciers, wildlife, alpine lakes and streams all from your window seat on the float plane. The takeoff and landing are a thrill in and of themselves. Alaska fly-out fishing gives you an opportunity to fish without crowds and only the sounds of the surrounding wilderness. In the remote, you can catch several species, including: grayling, rainbow trout, silver salmon, red salmon and Kings.
We start running fly out trips in mid-May. Due to the wide range of custom trips available, please give us a call and we will help price out a trip for you! There are many options for the fly out experience of a lifetime, and we are happy to answer any questions. Space is limited and do fill in fast so don’t hesitate call today!
Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula is one of the premier fishing destinations in the world. With annual salmon runs totaling in the millions, our rivers offer some of the most dynamic and productive fishing opportunities anywhere.
Fishing lodges and fishing trips are a dime a dozen on the Kenai Peninsula. If you truly seek the ultimate fishing experience, come to Drifters Lodge. Our staff and fishing guides specialize in providing a fishing experience of a lifetime.
We offer a variety of guided fishing trips that take advantage of the incredible opportunities of the Kenai River, Kasilof River, Russian River and many other local streams and alpine lakes.
Trophy Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, King, Silver, Sockeye Salmon. It’s all here!
We are dedicated to getting you on the right trips to suit your fishing dreams, and you’ll benefit from our local knowledge and years on the river.
Drifters Lodge is permitted to operate in public lands under special use permits from the Chugach National Forest, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Alaska State Parks. Drifters Lodge is an equal opportunity provider.
There are many trips available, so you’ll need to decide:
Salmon or Trout?
Do you want to keep fish? Then a salmon a trip is what you need. All of our Rainbow Trout trips are catch and release only.
When are you coming to the Kenai Peninsula?
This is Alaska, and fishing is always great. However, there are certain peak times for salmon runs. Take a look over our run chart or give us a call to discuss dates.
How many of in your group want to fish?
We can accommodate everyone from singles to large groups. We fish four in a boat or three people per guide for a walk-in trip. Private trips are available.
Do you know how to fly fish?
Much of the fishing we do is fly fishing, however spin fishing is also available. If you feel strongly about the techniques and gear you want to use, please let us know.
Whether you are a novice or a well-seasoned angler, you will find fishing opportunities to match your skill level. Our guides are excellent teachers and they are well prepared to help beginners learn the basics and catch their first fish on a fly rod if that is what you desire. If you’re an expert, you still may pick up a few things too. Depending on the weather and species, your guide may recommend a certain type of fishing technique over another, it is still up to you but your guide will make these recommendations based on the most up to date information about your fishing day.
Half or Full day?
How much time do you have for fishing? A half day trout trip is perfect for beginners, kids, and people who don’t have a full day to devote to fishing on their Alaska trip. A full day is great for salmon fishing (gives you a better chance at a limit) and folks who are a little more serious about their fishing.
Drift boat or walk-in?
Depending on the location and what you want to fish for, we either fish from a boat or we walk to the fishing location and wade fish. If you have any concerns about mobility, let us know. Power boats may also be an option. When you call, we will make a recommendation for the best opportunities for you for the day you are inquiring about. It may be that a walk in trip has been most productive or fishing from a drift boat has been the best lately, again, it is completely up to you but we will present you with all options.