Chasing Rainbows and a Personal Best on the Kenai

This was a trip more than a year in the making. I first contacted Cooper Landing Fishing Guide owner Dave via e-mail about fishing in Alaska, a place I never visited or fished during the winter of 2021 about June 2022!

Through months of correspondence, Dave “guided” me on planning my fishing trip not only with him but also for Halibut in Homer (see post here) and later trout in Talkeetna (future post).

Opening Day June 11, 2022

Finally. Months of planning and hours of daydreaming are now a reality. After a few minutes of small talk, it was time to hit the water with Mike, my guide for the next three days. As I booked the whole boat, it was just the two of us, meaning Mike had time to actually guide me and learn my strengths and weaknesses and put me on fish!

First day we fished 3 stretches of the river from 7:00 to late afternoon (back at the boat landing after 5). As I forget my wrist brace for my casting arm it was a painful start to this trip.

Mike showing how big rainbows get in Alaska

Tough Start

Between opening day nerves and rusty with a trout rod I had a tough start slinging flies without my wrist brace for my casting arm, and then dropped the first few fish. By mid morning I got my groove back and it was game on for the next three days.

Strong Finish – Awesome First Day

The Kenai is an extremely beautiful river, wild, clean cold water, amazing scenery all around and very few people fishing it, even though it was opening day.

All in all landed about a dozen rainbows, including a personal best 25-inch Kenai Rainbow and 2 nice Dollys, a new species for me!

The big rainbow was taken on the last drift of the day, and after that epic fish and fight we called it a day, like a boss.

We ended the day out-fishing all the other boats (guides) and also landed the biggest fish of the day, my 25-inch rainbow!

Days 2-3

Remembered the wrist brace and getting better at reading this river and have it dialed in now. Mike is an awesome guide and when I follow his directions I get fish!

Day 2 – we once again out-fished every other guide boat with Dollys and leopard-bows (rainbow hybrids, unique to this river system)

Day 3 – slowest of the three and the weather turned, river got choppy and wind made some places un-fishable. However we once again out-fished all other guides landing 12 small trout but no Dollys.

Our success was due to teamwork between the guide and client. Also I was able to make many tight casts close to shore and under the trees / shrubs, just like I do with mangroves back home — a big advantage over others that are afraid to cast into structure where the fish were.

Gotta go Back to Kenai Peninsula

Can’t wait to fish with Cooper landing and with Mike again, fall run 2024.

Alec Rosen, Adventurer and Raconteur

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