Jim Rusk Kenai River Fishing Guide Alaska


Kenai River Fishing Guide

 Call now to reserve your fishing dates 907-398-1856

king salmon


Kenai fishing guide Jim Rusk holds up a 6 foot King Salmon

King Salmon with Jim and a happy client

 Welcome from Kenai River Fishing Guide Jim Rusk. If you are looking for a first class Kasilof River or Kenai River fishing trip in Alaska this summer, you have come to the right spot. The Kenai River is located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in the south-central region of Alaska. We are located in Soldotna, an excellent town to use as a base for your fishing trip. We’ve been guiding anglers from all over the world since 1987 on the Kenai River and Kasilof River.  We specialize in fishing for King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Halibut.

If you are looking for a fishing guide who will go the extra mile to ensure that you have the best expierience possible then you have came two the right spot! 

I am a Lifetime Alaskan, born in Soldotna Alaska. I have fished the Kenai River and other local Alaska waters my entire life.  We have top of the line boats and equipment, and First Class service.  Our rates are very competitive.  We offer Full Day and 1/2 Day Kenai River Fishing charters.

We offer fishing trips for a variety of salmon, trout on the Kenai River and the Kasilof River in Alaska.

Rainbow Trout is one of my favorite trips that I offer as a fishing guide. The Kenai River has world class trout fishing and each fall the fishing lives up to its reputation as one of the best Rainbow Trout fisheries in the world.

Kenai and Kasilof Rivers Fishing Equipment – Only the Best

  • At Jim Rusk Fishing we use top quality, proven fishing equipment.  
  • Fishing the Kenai River and the Kasilof River demands the use of High Quality Boats.
  • Fishing the Kenai River and the Kasilof River demands the very best fishing equipment.  At Jim Rusk Fishing
  • We spare no expense to ensure you fish  and with the very best!  We use Willie Boats. They are hand crafted fishing machines.

Guided Fishing Charters

We can customize a Guided Fishing Trip just for you. We can also help you get the lodging that best meets the needs of you and your party. Customer service is our number one priority when we guide anglers that visit the Kenai peninsula. We do whatever it takes to make sure you will have the best experience possible while fishing with us.

If you are not catching fish, not much else matters. With Jim Rusk Fishing Kenai Fishing Guide you are guaranteed fishing with only the best  guides that have years and years of experience.

I encourage anyone coming to Alaska Kenai Peninsula to please check references on whomever you choose to go with.  We have an extensive repeat clientele and can provide customer names and phone numbers from all over the country. 

Kasilof King Salmon Fishing

Kasilof River King Salmon fishing!

Keep on Fishin’,  Jim Rusk

 Kenai River Geography

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The Kenai River is a glacier-fed river running past the bustling town of Soldotna, in south central Alaska. The river drains the central Kenai Peninsula region. Its source is the Kenai Lake close to Cooper Landing, Alaska. Not far from Cooper Landing the lake narrows and creates the river. About 11 miles from the Kenai lake, the river rushes through Kenai Canyon. It’s maelstorm of fast-flowing white water rapids. Russian River empties into the Kenai River to the east of Cooper Landing.

About 18 miles from Kenai Lake, the river flows into Skilak Lake. Section of the river from Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake is called the Upper River. The 20 mile section from Skilak Lake to the Sterling Highway bridge at Soldotna is called the Mid-River. The final 20 miles from the Sterling Bridge to Cook Inlet is called the Lower River. The water flow in the lower river is more placid than the other two sections. The final 12 miles stretch of the Kenai river varies greatly with the tide from the Gulf of Alaska..

The Kenai River is where the world’s largest King Salmon was caught. Soldotna is on the banks for the Kenai and is famous as a center for world class fishing. We have fabulous accommodations and restaurants. Make Soldotna your home base while visiting Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, you’ll enjoy the best of our beautiful Alaska right here on the banks of the Kenai river. You’ll enjoy wildlife viewing, flightseeing, fly rod fishing, moose, bear viewing, bird watching, horseback riding, canoe trips, hiking trips, winter recreation, shopping, and gourmet dining in Soldotna, Alaska!

Stop by the Visitor Center in Soldotna for information and brochures on the Kenai Peninsula region. View a variety of animal exhibits. You can see the world record King Salmon, or you can take a pleasant walk on the walkways along the Kenai River.


The Kenai River is the most popular sport fishing destination in Alaska, particularly for King salmon, also known as Chinook salmon. Each year we have two runs each of King Salmon, Silver Salmon, red salmon, plus a run of pink salmon every second year. Occasionally there will be reports of catches of Steelhead Trout.

A typical King in the second run, beginning in mid-July, weighs 40 pounds. The “Lower Kenai” is well known for its run and sizes of its king salmon.

The silver salmon runs starts in early August and continues till sometime in october.

The red salmon runs are towards the end of June and late-July. Red salmon are considered the premier salmon for eating, canning, and smoking.

red salmon fishing

Join us this year for an exciting guided fishing charter north to the Lake Louise region of Alaska. We will be targeting Lake Trout on three different very large lakes.  I went with friends in 2012 and it was an amazing trip. Come and fish with us.

Call now to Reserve your Dates for a Guided Fishing Charter


Kenai River Fishing Season and Soldotna

The Kenai is a glacier fed river that has been undergoing a cycle of water level changes for millions of years. It’s a river that drains the glaciers of the central Kenai Peninsula region.  In Spring, the weather warms the glaciers and they begin their annual melt causing the water level of the Kenai to rise.  The levels continues to rise all summer until September when temperatures drop in the mountains.  Typically in late September, the glacier melting slows and the water levels of the river begins to drop again.  

The Kenai has a unique and amazing turquoise color especially in the upper and middle portions. Wildlife is abundant along the river as the river is home to many species of animals and birds. An advantage of fishing the Kenai is its ease of access for visitors.  You don’t need a bush plane flight to get to the Kenai.  Rent a car in Anchorage and drive on down to Soldotna.  Anglers fishing the Kenai find that the town is a very convenient place to stay.

I run a great special for early Spring King Salmon fishing charters for both the Kenai River and the Kasilof River.  Read this post on Kasilof River fishing written in early June, 2013.

The fishing season begins on the Kenai River in early May as the first King Salmon enter the river.  In May through June we see the first run of King Salmon.

Kenai Fishing Guides will continue to guide anglers to fish for the salmon all the way through the end of July.  The world record King Salmon weighed just under 100 pound and was caught in the Kenai River in 1985.

Starting August 1st we will target Silver Salmon.   Known for their fighting spirit, a  Silver Salmon can be between 5 lbs and 20 lbs. The silvers start their run around the first of August and we continue to fish until the weather turns too cold.

Drift Boat Fishing on the Kasilof River

Drift Boat fishing  in a big Willie boat is a must-do on a fishing trip to Alaska.   Anglers come to the Kenai Peninsula to catch big King Salmon and big Silver Salmon.  They will catch them with our help. We fish for them in powerboats, and the anglers get to have the exhilarating experience of having a huge King Salmon on the line.

But drift boat fishing is another experience entirely.  Anglers get to experience salmon fishing like the people of old experienced it when they fished for their food.  We drift down the river silently and peacefully.

See  the Alaskan wild life in its native environment.  Drift down the river with nothing to break the silence but the ripple of the water and the sound of birds.

Kasilof river king salmon fishing

Alaska Fly Fishing

Test your fly fishing skills against the toughest salmon in the world.  Take an Alaska fly fishing trip with me.  I was born on the Kenai river. I can guide you to the best fly fishing waters of Alaska. Together we’ll catch a  Salmon on fly fishing rods.

Alaska Wildlife

The Kenai peninsula, home to the famous Kenai River and Kasilof River, has as much Alaska wildlife as any region of Alaska. And Alaska is famous for its abundance of wild life . While fishing we have seen moose, bear,  eagles, beavers, cranes, ducks and every wild creature of Alaska.  The two rivers are most famous for salmon and trout fishing ,but you can encounter many types of wildlife while fishing and visiting this wonderful region of Alaska. 

Excerpts from Our Kenai Fishing Reports and our Customers’ Reviews

Our Kenai Fishing Reports record our personal and guided fishing charters on the Kenai River and the Kasilof River. In the reports, we include photos of our customers and their catches of salmon, trout, and halibut.

The Kenai River is easily the most popular fishing destination in Alaska, especially for King Salmon.

Kasilof and Kenai River Fishing Guide Report September 2012

Kenai Fishing guide clients on dock showing the fish they caught

Silver Salmon and Two Clients

The 2012 fishing season is coming to an end and so will our Kenai fishing reports, with just a few more trips left on the books.  We can report that we caught some very nice steelhead on the Kasilof ………….Kenai Fishing Reports

Kasilof and Kenai River Fishing Guide Report August 2012

Three clients of Kenai fishing guide holding six salmon

Six Silver Salmon

Fall salmon fishing is in full swing and all is good.  I just love this time of year here on the Kenai River. The fishing has been so good we caught the limits of Silver Salmon almost every trip. Great Rainbow Trout days catching some very nice trout.

Kenai Fishing Report July  2012

The Kenai River Sockeye Salmon run has been incredible this year and we are still getting limits every day. What a great run! Last week we did a couple of Kenai River Canyon trips for trout.

Kenai River Daily Fishing Guide Report July 17 2012

Angler clients of Kenai fishing guide Jim Rusk with a bunch of sockeye salmon laid out on the deck.

Sockeye Salmon and Anglers

We have been targeting Sockeye Salmon lately and the fishing has been very good. We reached the fishing limits every day. One more week and we’ll be chasing Silvers and Rainbows when the bait season opens on the 1st of August.

Customer Reviews

Client Don Jorgensen with a huge King Salmon he caught with Kenai Fishing Guide Jim Rusk

JIm and Don and a King Salmon

“Good fortune to be introduced to a young Kenai fishing guide in Soldotna by the name of Jim Rusk. On that summer afternoon he put us onto a large number of fish.  He had been fishing the river since he was a young child and knew of areas where fish were holding that other boats ……   READ MORE

Don Jorgensen Londonderry, NH





Jim Rusk Kenai Fishing guide with customer Don Altrowitz and a huge King salmon

Jim and Don with a King Salmon


I searched and interviewed several fishing guides.  Then I met Jim Rusk, Kenai fishing guide and hired him. Fishing with him every day he showed me that my confidence was not misplaced. Our boat consistently caught more King Salmon than other boats on the river. We caught several King Salmon that were 50 pounds or more, including mine that was 62 pounds ………. READ MORE David Altrowitz Minnetonka, MN




JIm Rusk Kenai fishing guide and Client Brian Workman with a huge pink King Salmon standing in a field

Jim and customer Brian Workman







avid Brown reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Excellent Service Excellent
I’ve fished with Jim for 16 years and he has consistently been a top guide and catches fish even with little action around. He was born and raised on the Kenai and knows every hole and trick of the trade. The 19.75 lb Silver in the pictures above is just one of many trophy size Salmon and Trout from over the years. Besides the fishing, Jim is friendly, works hard to make you happy and really wants everyone to be part of his fishing family. I have brought tons of guests over the years and everyone goes home happy after fishing for a week on the Kenai and Kasilof with Jim.

Michael Gorjanc reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Excellent Service Excellent
Before September of 2012, fishing in Alaska had been a dream of mine. I finally scheduled a trip to Alaska, found Jim on the internet, and we scheduled a week in September to fish for silvers. Jim was the first guide to return my call and I’m glad he was! I fished with Jim for a week on both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers and Jim always worked hard to put us on the fish. He was a great guide with an intimate knowledge of the rivers and had great relationships with the other local guides which was very helpful. Despite unusually slow fishing conditions – and this was the general consensus among the guides and locals – we caught our limit every day but one and did so when other guides could not. Jim was friendly, courteous, very professional and respectful, and best of all he clearly took his guiding work very seriously. When many others were not catching fish, we were! I highly recommend Jim Rusk for your Alaskan fishing adventure!!

Bob Venturin reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Excellent Service Excellent
I have had the opportunity to fish with Jim on two different 5 days trips. Jim has lived in the area his entire life and it definitely shows! At the end of the day, our boat was always one of the top boats if not the top boat of the day in regards to numbers. Jim doesn’t just take you fishing, he makes certain that he puts you on fish which I truly appreciate! I highly recommend setting up your next fishing trip with this highly competent guide!!!! I can’t wait to be back on the water with Jim!!!!

Paul L. Marrott reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Excellent Service Excellent
I met Jim through a family member that referred him. I must say that I have not been disappointed. He is a focused on fulfilling your desire to catch whatever species you happen to be targetting. I have booked with him for one species or another each year since our first charter, and will continue to do so. There is not a more passionate guide I know. You always get his best effort and as you can see by my pict, It pays to use Jim. Big Kings and Rainbows are a specialty of his and full limits of Reds and Silvers are the norm for Jim. Thanx Jim for the professional service you provide. Paul Marrott- Utah
Neville Deegan's profile photo

Neville Deegan reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Very good Service Excellent
We caught lots of big silver salmon and Lake trout. We had a wonderful time cruising the Kenai Reiver with this Alaskan born Kenai fishing guide. Jim did all the hard work and we just had to cast. He KNOWS where the fish are pasing.
Workman Brian's profile photo

Workman Brian reviewed 2 months ago

Quality Excellent Facilities Excellent Service Excellent
Jim is a great fisherman, he loves to fish and get you fish, a lot of people don’t care they just take you fishing and jim takes you to catch fish. I fished with jim since 1990 i would not go with any one else, he has caught us so many kings and silvers and everyone caught nothing, thanks Jim Brian Workman