This jewel in the Kenai Peninsula offers rich sportfishing for anglers all summer long
Anchor River State Recreation Area is one of Alaska's premier fishing destinations. The 213-acre recreation area can be reached from the Sterling Highway on the Kenai Peninsula, 16 miles north of Homer and 62 miles south of Soldotna. Anchor Point, where Anchor River State Recreation Area is located, is the most westerly point on the U.S. Highway System.
The first written descriptions of the land and people of the Kenai Peninsula are found in the 1778 journals from the British sponsored expedition of Captain James Cook. According to legend, Anchor Point got its name when Captain Cook lost an anchor near the mouth of the river.
Homesteaders began to settle in the Anchor River area in the early 1900's. They came from Homer, to the South, and Kenai and Ninilchik, to the North, and survived by hunting, fishing, and farming. They were a hardy lot and many of them and their descendants still live in the area.
The Anchor River passes through a mixed spruce-cottonwood forest with a lush riparian zone, then emerges into a broad estuary and marsh filled with salt-tolerant sedges and grasses, offering ideal habitat for the diverse species residing and migrating through the area.
Anchor River is Alaska's only major steelhead stream accessible by road with steelhead runs occurring from late August to November. King salmon is the river's most popular fishery with the run beginning in late May and peaking in the second week in June. Other species include silver salmon that move into the river from the end of July until the beginning of September and pink salmon from mid-July to early August on even numbered years.
Wildlife abounds around the Anchor River, with moose, beaver, mink, bald eagles, a variety of ducks along the river, harbor seals, sea otters and beluga whales near shore in the Cook Inlet.
Salmon runs and catch-and-release steelhead fishing are the main attractions at this recreational area. Other activities available include camping, hiking and picnicking.
Fishing holes are posted along a two-mile segment of the river and reached via the Anchor River Road between the Sterling Highway at Anchor Point and Cook Inlet. The recreation area also has five state campgrounds along Anchor River Road with a total of 116 campsites. Overlooking the river are Silver King Campground with 37 campsites, Coho with 28 campsites, Steelhead with 32 campsites and Slidehole with 17 campsites. Halibut Campground’s 24 sites overlook Cook Inlet Beach, providing campers with a scenic view of Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna across the inlet. All campgrounds have picnic areas, drinking water and day-use parking areas with the exception of Halibut Campground.
There is a day-use fee to park at Anchor River State Recreation Area and a nightly fee to stay at one of its campgrounds.
The recreation area is reached by road at Mile 156.9 Sterling Highway by turning onto Old Sterling Highway and continuing over the Anchor River Bridge. Take the first right onto Anchor River Road.
For more information contact the Alaska State Parks office (907-262-5581) in Soldotna.