How To Catch Red Salmon (Sockeye) in Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

How to catch Red Salmon in Alaska – the best way to catch red salmon is to know about the fish. Here we have lots of information about how to catch Red Salmon.


  • May 20-August 20
  • Kenai, Kasilof and Russian Rivers

How to identify Sockeye or Red Salmon

How to Identify Red Sockeye Salmon:

  • Dark blue-black back with silvery sides
  • No distinct spots on back, dorsal fin or tail
  • Spawning adults develop dull green heads and red bodies.

Basic Red Salmon “Sockeye” Information & Description

You’ll know you’ve hooked a Sockeye Salmon when you catch sight of a dark blue-black back with silvery sides. Unlike some other salmon, the Sockeye doesn’t wear any spots, and the spawning adults develop dull green heads and red bodies. Hence the name, Red Salmon.Catch Red Salmon on the Kenai

The King Salmon might be the largest species on the Kenai, but the Sockeye Salmon is, pound for pound, the strongest and most demanding sport fish in Alaska. This little guy really packs a wallop to the taste buds. Even with the State of Alaska sport-fishing record for this salmon at 16 pounds, many will swear that this is the best tasting salmon on the planet. Because the Sockeye is such a force to be reckoned with, it is recommended that you use one of our trained guides to provide one-on-one coaching.

If you’re determined to hike it out alone, please make sure to continue reading to find out exactly how our guides go about hunting down these fish. You’ll also want to stop by our tackle section and maps section before leaving the website.

Alaska Discount Adventures’ Sockeye Fishing Technique:

Sockeye will splash and roll on the journey so keep an eye out for those splashes. The red salmon swims with its mouth in continual open and close motion, so get the attractor as close to the mouth of the fish as possible. In shallow water and particularly over gravel bars a pair of polarized sunglasses is very helpful. Whether you use a spin fishing or conventional tackle or a fly rod the most effective attractors are a Coho, Streamer or Russian River fly or some variation of these patterns with a #3 or #4 hook with just enough weight ahead of the fly to get to fish depth. When casting, begin at an angle upstream of the spot you are fishing and try to keep the attractor broadside to the fish. When you feel a slight hesitation or bump you must set the hook immediately or you will miss. Sockeye generally lightly mouth the fly and let go. Once you begin to perfect this technique and hook one of these beauties, you are in for a wild battle of wild leaps and reel smoking up and downstream runs.

Alaska Red Salmon (Sockeye) General Information:

Red salmon or sockeye are one of the most numerous species of salmon to populate streams and rivers on the Kenai Peninsula and many will swear that for eating no salmon tops the Alaska red salmon. The red salmon is by far the State of Alaska’s most valuable commercial salmon species. The sockeye salmon is a plankton feeder which is unlike the other Alaska salmon species and they are very passive toward lures. This salmon generally spends 2-3 years in the ocean before it returns  to its spawning waterways in large schools. The driving force that brings the sockeye salmon to migrate to its spawning bed is legendary. You need only watch them leap waterfalls and speed through fast currents to see the force and will to survive that the red salmon possesses.