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My son has always wanted to fish for rainbows in the Kenai and I might surprise him with a "outfit" to get him started. Not concerned about a rod for other places at this time, just the Kenai and rainbows.
What do the Kenai rainbow fisherman suggest?


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5 wt around 9 ft

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9ft 7 or 8 weight. That way he isn't stunt shooting a moose with a 223 when that 30" bow grabs his bead.


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Originally Posted by Snowwolfe
My son has always wanted to fish for rainbows in the Kenai and I might surprise him with a "outfit" to get him started. Not concerned about a rod for other places at this time, just the Kenai and rainbows.
What do the Kenai rainbow fisherman suggest?

What’s his casting ability? Is he comfortable with a two handed rod?

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Originally Posted by AKwolverine
Originally Posted by Snowwolfe
My son has always wanted to fish for rainbows in the Kenai and I might surprise him with a "outfit" to get him started. Not concerned about a rod for other places at this time, just the Kenai and rainbows.
What do the Kenai rainbow fisherman suggest?

What’s his casting ability? Is he comfortable with a two handed rod?

Not really. For all intents he is a novice as his only fly fishing experience is flossing for reds.


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Originally Posted by Snowwolfe
Originally Posted by AKwolverine
Originally Posted by Snowwolfe
My son has always wanted to fish for rainbows in the Kenai and I might surprise him with a "outfit" to get him started. Not concerned about a rod for other places at this time, just the Kenai and rainbows.
What do the Kenai rainbow fisherman suggest?

What’s his casting ability? Is he comfortable with a two handed rod?

Not really. For all intents he is a novice as his only fly fishing experience is flossing for reds.

That’s helpful. Is he primarily going to be walking in or is he going to be floating/guided? And are we talking mostly upper, or middle?

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Mostly walking, unguided, fishing from where the Russian meets the Kenai and up to start. Unless he hooks up with someone who knows more than he does about the river.


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I second the five weight at nine feet.

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Will your son be bank or boat fishing, or both?


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Wish I knew. I love fishing but I'm the worst fisherman and fly-fishing is way above my abilities.

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6 weight 10 ft

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The standard for float fishing the Kenai is a 10', 7wt to stay outside the oars. Most guides use that particular set-up for a reason. On the bank a single hand 9', 7wt is the standard.

The upper fish are usually smaller and the flies are easier to cast so you could get away with a 6wt.


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Think I’ll look at a 7wt for starters. I doubt he will find it too stiff. He can work his way downward if he prefers something lighter.
Thanks guys


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I’d be looking at a 10’ 7 wt for sure. You can definitely get by with a. 5-6 wt if you want, but not sure why you would. The first 15-20# rainbow you hook into your 6 wt is going to kill it if you manage to get it in. Plus it’s a better all around weight for sockeye and coho. I use my 15yr old Sage TCR 890 for the majority of my Kenai fishing. There’s been many times I wouldn’t have wanted a lesser rod.

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You can ask the same question on the following forum for another set of eyes/opinions ( fly rod section):

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/index.php


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I second Buttstock and have a couple of other suggestions but with this preface: You did not indicate what level experience that YOU had, so forgive me if I'm suggesting something you may already know.

1) I would make sure that you emphasize your son's age and skill level when you ask for advice there or any other source. What may be ideal for experienced adults may not necessarily be best for adultlescent or teenager. Once you've your fill of advice and have concluded what size nd line weight rod you're going to get, refer to number 2 below.

2) When you get ready to buy him and outfit (rod and reel combo), do an online search for best beginner flyrod in what line weight you end up deciding to go with. For instance, you can search on "Best Beginner 7-weight Flyrod 2021", then change the year to 2022 and search again, then 2023. That way you'll get multiple suggestions of rods that will probably be readibly available in the market plasce. If you just search without the year, you'll usually end up with the latest and greatest (and most expensive) and not all of what you see will be out and available. The objective term in the search is "beginner" as those rods for seasoned, experienced flyfisherman are more than likely going to be very fast rods (stiffer, flexing more in the top-third of the rod) and much more difficult for the novice to learn quickly on. The folks who evaluate this equipment know this and recommend rods better suited in this regard. Usually there is some overlay between best beginner and best budget rods which doesn't hurt either. As to the reel (if a combo is not suggested or evaluated), don't opt for something super-expensive, just make sure that it has a decent drag and that your guide has a chance to set it for your son beginning of each day. Last bit of advice if you have NOT yet got a guide: you might want to emphasize that you want what I call a teaching guide - those that don't mind taking the time to teach your son especially on the first day. That can make all the difference if you stress that as that takes the pressure off the guide for numbers of fish and instead places emphasis on the experience. Any professional instruction (Orvis, etc.) plus follow-on practice before the trip will pay dividens in the final experience, I assure you.

I did something similar twenty years ago and I'm relaying to you the advice I got then. Good luck on the trip - sounds like a lifetime memories experience.


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Originally Posted by Offshoreman
I second Buttstock and have a couple of other suggestions but with this preface: You did not indicate what level experience that YOU had, so forgive me if I'm suggesting something you may already know.

1) I would make sure that you emphasize your son's age and skill level when you ask for advice there or any other source. What may be ideal for experienced adults may not necessarily be best for adultlescent or teenager. Once you've your fill of advice and have concluded what size nd line weight rod you're going to get, refer to number 2 below.

2) When you get ready to buy him and outfit (rod and reel combo), do an online search for best beginner flyrod in what line weight you end up deciding to go with. For instance, you can search on "Best Beginner 7-weight Flyrod 2021", then change the year to 2022 and search again, then 2023. That way you'll get multiple suggestions of rods that will probably be readibly available in the market plasce. If you just search without the year, you'll usually end up with the latest and greatest (and most expensive) and not all of what you see will be out and available. The objective term in the search is "beginner" as those rods for seasoned, experienced flyfisherman are more than likely going to be very fast rods (stiffer, flexing more in the top-third of the rod) and much more difficult for the novice to learn quickly on. The folks who evaluate this equipment know this and recommend rods better suited in this regard. Usually there is some overlay between best beginner and best budget rods which doesn't hurt either. As to the reel (if a combo is not suggested or evaluated), don't opt for something super-expensive, just make sure that it has a decent drag and that your guide has a chance to set it for your son beginning of each day. Last bit of advice if you have NOT yet got a guide: you might want to emphasize that you want what I call a teaching guide - those that don't mind taking the time to teach your son especially on the first day. That can make all the difference if you stress that as that takes the pressure off the guide for numbers of fish and instead places emphasis on the experience. Any professional instruction (Orvis, etc.) plus follow-on practice before the trip will pay dividens in the final experience, I assure you.

I did something similar twenty years ago and I'm relaying to you the advice I got then. Good luck on the trip - sounds like a lifetime memories experience.
While fundamentally sound you missed the OP's main requirement which is a rod for a particular river, well known to many here. A softer rod on the Kenai puts you at a big disavantange with big fish and lots of current. At the same time casting is unusual here because of the size of the flies used and short casts needed. Often just a flop is plenty.


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Originally Posted by Offshoreman
I second Buttstock and have a couple of other suggestions but with this preface: You did not indicate what level experience that YOU had, so forgive me if I'm suggesting something you may already know.

1) I would make sure that you emphasize your son's age and skill level when you ask for advice there or any other source. What may be ideal for experienced adults may not necessarily be best for adultlescent or teenager. Once you've your fill of advice and have concluded what size nd line weight rod you're going to get, refer to number 2 below.

2) When you get ready to buy him and outfit (rod and reel combo), do an online search for best beginner flyrod in what line weight you end up deciding to go with. For instance, you can search on "Best Beginner 7-weight Flyrod 2021", then change the year to 2022 and search again, then 2023. That way you'll get multiple suggestions of rods that will probably be readibly available in the market plasce. If you just search without the year, you'll usually end up with the latest and greatest (and most expensive) and not all of what you see will be out and available. The objective term in the search is "beginner" as those rods for seasoned, experienced flyfisherman are more than likely going to be very fast rods (stiffer, flexing more in the top-third of the rod) and much more difficult for the novice to learn quickly on. The folks who evaluate this equipment know this and recommend rods better suited in this regard. Usually there is some overlay between best beginner and best budget rods which doesn't hurt either. As to the reel (if a combo is not suggested or evaluated), don't opt for something super-expensive, just make sure that it has a decent drag and that your guide has a chance to set it for your son beginning of each day. Last bit of advice if you have NOT yet got a guide: you might want to emphasize that you want what I call a teaching guide - those that don't mind taking the time to teach your son especially on the first day. That can make all the difference if you stress that as that takes the pressure off the guide for numbers of fish and instead places emphasis on the experience. Any professional instruction (Orvis, etc.) plus follow-on practice before the trip will pay dividens in the final experience, I assure you.

I did something similar twenty years ago and I'm relaying to you the advice I got then. Good luck on the trip - sounds like a lifetime memories experience.

Thanks, perhaps you are over thinking it. Like Sitka pointed out the rod will be used on one specific river in Alaska. Opinions of others who never fished the Kenai for rainbows are not very useful. The 7 weight seems to be a good place to start and I am sure he will end up with other rods, heavier or lighter, as time goes on.
And since you asked, he is 35 and has been fishing the Kenai and Russian for salmon for at least 25 years using a 10 wt. But I hardly considering flipping a fly rod as being a "fly fisherman".


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Sitka and Snowolfe, you are probably correct. When I first taught my daughter to use a flyrod she was 13 and there was no way she could learn to use a Euro-long rod or two-handed long rod right off the bat. A 9ft 7wt would be a stretch and anything longer or heavier would be a no-go. Also, I was not disagreeing what was best for that stretch or river and the size fish there that time of year, and not knowing the age of your son, just offering the consideration of your son's ability to use the larger gear. Down here, I went through the same problems with youngsters handling heavier 8/9wt rods and it was from that perspective that I offered advice. My apologies for the distraction.


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No harm, no foul...


Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.
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