Kenai Lake shimmers tauntingly into view from the Sterling Highway on the eastern side of Cooper Landing. It cast a spell on me in May of 1989 when I arrived at "The Landing" for my first summer of work on the Kenai River. Kenai Lake is fed by glacial flow off the Sargent Icefield via the Snow River. The Sargent Icefield sits attop the southeastern portion of the Kenai Peninsula bordering Prince William Sound and the Gulf Coast. The Sargent has numerous outflowing glaciers, including the one feeding the Snow River. The Snow River runs through the stunning Paradise Valley and is crossed by the Seward Highway where it enters the eastern side of 20 mile long Kenai Lake.
Kenai Lake tributaries of fishing significance include Quartz Creek, Ptarmigan Creek and the Trail River and Lakes. The lake itelf holds resident Lake Trout, Whitefish, Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden as well as Sockeye, King and Silver Salmon migrating through to the tributaries. Some Sockeye will use shoreline gravel for spawning. Salmon fishing is closed in the lake but some anglers fish for trout and char. Many rainbows and dollies migrate from the lake to the Kenai River or the tributaries for spawning, summer habitat or fall feeding.
Kenai Lake feeds into the Kenai River near mile 48 of the Sterling Hwy in the heart of Cooper Landing. The Cooper Landing Boat Launch is at mile 48.4 and is a popular access for boats heading down the Kenai River and for a few heading up into Kenai Lake.
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Kenai River - Cooper Landing, Alaska
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