Alaska Adventure Journal



1 2 3 > Next Page

Kenai River Float Trip

The WHOLE River - From Kenai Lake to Cook Inlet

Young brown bear with a red salmon at the mouth at the confuence of the Kenai and Russian Rivers.

Lots of people have floated the Kenai River, the upper river can even get crowded on a summer weekend. 

 I wanted to do something different; I wanted to float the entire Kenai River from start to finish!  Starting at the outlet of Kenai Lake, thru the upper river and the Kenai Canyon, motoring thru 15 miles of Skilak Lake and then back into the lower portion of the Kenai River, thru the Naptown Rapids and all the way to the mouth of the river at Cook Inlet.  At first, Shanna was a little reluctant, but then she started to get her a little excited about a 3-day float down the 85 miles of the entire Kenai River.  She decided this was a notch she wanted in her belt and the plans were made.  My hand  was still recovering from surgery required after the bear hunting adventure.  I decided my hand was strong enough to make this trip using oars and we could trade off the "raft commander" job as necessary to give it a break.  We knew we might even get to see some bears.  We NEVER imagined bears would be a daily and nightly occurrence for the entire trip!

August 7, 2005 - Day 1

The weather was perfect, sunny and warm; not a cloud in the sky.  

We loaded up our red salmon fishing gear and the ultra lights, for trout fishing with beads.  Loren, our neighbor, picked us and our equipment up at 1:00 PM, as planned. 

We made the 40 minute drive to Cooper Landing and soon we were waving good-bye.  We fired up the 8 HP Honda outboard to give it a test. So far it was looking good; about 4 MPH was the best we could get without torquing the raft too much. We stopped at the Russian and Kenai River confluence to fish a bit.  We couldn’t see a SINGLE red salmon in the mouth of the Russian.  I fished just below the confluence and hooked into quite a few, but I didn’t get any to the shore. While I was fishing one of the resident brown bear cubs showed up at the confluence. When I saw it, it had a whole red salmon in it’s mouth. Shanna told me later that a guy had said, “Watch this,” to his family and threw the salmon to the bear. Nice……now this bear will know EXACTLY where to go for her next meal.  

Our first nights camp we set up on the perceived safety of a gravel island, it stop us from gettng a visitor in the night.

We departed the confluence and worked our way thru the Kenai Canyon. It was more exciting than we remembered. The motor creaked the entire way thru the rapids as the raft was bouncing up and down. We were approaching Skilak Lake and started getting REALLY serious about finding a campsite. Shanna finally identified a gravel bar island that she liked, we walked it and checked it out.  It looked good, so we set up camp and found firewood.  I tried casting my bead for trout, but didn’t do any good. We drank some beers around the campfire and went off to bed around 11:30.

 Finishing off loading the raft so that we can start off into our morning ride thru Skilak Lake.



1 2 3 > Next Page