Russian River Fishing: Where the Red Salmon Run

By Debbie Hanson

Jun 05, 2018

Learn about Russian River fishing for red salmon in Alaska. Which fishing gear, techniques to use, tips to help you plan a Russian River Alaska fishing trip

Photo Credit Brittney Novalsky

While some anglers may correlate Russian River fishing experiences to California, it's actually the crystal clear waters of the Russian River in Alaska that are regarded as one of the top sockeye or red salmon fisheries in the world. How much do you know about Russian River, Alaska fishing? Learn more about Russian River salmon fishing by reading these facts and tips.

Russian River, Alaska Fishing Facts & Tips

  • The Russian River is a tributary of the Kenai River that is located 110 miles south of Anchorage. The river flows 12 miles from Upper Russian Lake, through Lower Russian Lake, and empties into the upper Kenai River.
  • Many sections of the Russian River are considered fly fishing only. Although this rule does not refer to your fishing rod or fishing style, but to your terminal tackle. In other words, you can use a spinning or baitcasting rod, but must fish using a single hook with an attached attractor. Bucktail streamer flies tend to be a popular offering.
  • Always be sure to check the Alaska fishing regulations before you go due to the specific rules regarding type of tackle and weight that must be used. For regulation updates and reminders, it's also a good idea to check a Russian River fishing report.
  • Wondering when you're likely to experience the best fishing in Alaska for red salmon? The early run usually arrives by June 15, with the midpoint of the run occurring around June 30. The second run usually arrives in mid-July and is considered the larger of the two runs.
  • If you're wondering where to fish for sockeye or red salmon, don't stray far from the shore. Most fish will travel within just 2 to 5 feet of the shoreline.
  • Try casting your line 10 to 15 feet upstream, into the current, at about a 45-degree angle, and then allow your fly to drift with the current until reaching its furthest downstream point. Retrieve and repeat.

Since you know a little bit more about Russian River fishing in Alaska now, head on over to the Places to Fish and Boat map. You can use the map to find Russian River area license vendors or places to buy fishing gear and equipment.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.