Alaska Rainbow Trout Fishing Techniques

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Powerboat vs. Drift Fishing

The use of a powerboat for rainbow trout fishing on the middle Kenai River is hands-down the most effective way to have a chance at more and bigger fish. With a 50 horsepower boat outboard on the back of the boat, running multiple drifts through a hole can be done in no time. Also, a powerboat allows the opportunity to run up or down river in search of different holes, trophy rainbow trout, or to get distance from other anglers. Along with the ease of switching locations, our powerboats have more room to move about and fish. With the mandatory four-stroke requirements on the Kenai River, the noise is low and hardly noticeable while fishing. Put-ins and takeouts are always at the same location.

Drift boat fishing on the Middle Kenai River is a little more slowly paced. Our day begins at Skilak Lake; a two-mile motor across (our drift boats have 9.9 horse motors on the back for crossing Skilak and motoring back up river for another drift) has you at the headwaters of the Middle Kenai. The trip across is usually scenic and pleasant; however, if it is too windy and rough to cross the lake other plans and start points will need to be made.

The drifts are run with oars, while the motor is used to run back up river to make another pass. Unlike the powerboat, drift boats start and take out at two locations and are always moving down stream towards the takeout. Low or clear water can make the drift boat more effective since it is quieter in the drift. Drift boat fishing is a more traditional way to fish a river and produces great days on the water.

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Fly Fishing vs. Float Fishing

The concept of fly and float fishing is the same: present fly/egg pattern to trout using the dead drift technique. Both set ups require a long rod (9’ – 11’), a float, leader, and split shot. The difference lies in the cast and rod/reel.

Our style of fly fishing requires floating line, small float (corkie), long leader 12’ and shot. We use a simple roll cast to get the fly up river, where it sinks to the bottom and begins dead drifting down river.

Float fishing requires a long spin rod reel set up for easier casting, and drift management. Braided and fluorocarbon line, a Drennen 6gr float, and shot make up the rest of the float set up.

Fly and Float fishing both can effectively present a perfect dead drift. For those who have never fly fished but would like to learn, we can have you casting and catching Rainbow Trout in no time. Or if you are a diehard spin fisherman we have the most deadly set up for you. Whether young or old, novice or advanced, fishing the Kenai River for Trophy Rainbow Trout is a day on the water that everyone can enjoy!


Catch and Release

The Kenai River is one of the most renowned Trophy Rainbow Trout fisheries in the world. There are not many other places where an angler can have a chance at a Wild Rainbow Trout over 15+ lbs. This is why catch and release fishing is mandatory, we want future generations to have the same great fishing experiences that we have now.

We strive to treat our trout with care and respect. Small barbless hooks, rubber nets and safe handling practices are just a few measures Drift Away Fishing takes to ensure a safe release for the fish. We will gladly help you get a photo and accurate length and girth measurement of your Kenai rainbow trout. This way you go home with a great photo and memory while the fish stay in the river to be enjoyed by another angler another day…