The Kenai River is Alaska’s most popular sport and personal use fishery in Alaska. It is also the only sportfishing destination in Alaska that requires fishing guides to have mandatory instruction. To be eligible to guide on the Kenai, a person must complete the Kenai River Guide Academy (KRGA), a one week class at Kenai Peninsula College. The purpose is to educate and train all Kenai River fishing guides in regulations, safety, guide ethics and behavior, as well as habitat and fishery conservation.
“Since its inception more than ten years ago, the Guide Academy has graduated 752 students in 35 classes. Since the beginning, KRSA has provided funding to provide lunches for all students,” said Gary J. Turner, Kenai Peninsula College director and chair of the KRGA board of directors. “This has helped us keep our costs down and allows us to deliver lunch to students and teach right through the lunch hour thereby increasing the amount of material we can teach in the week long program.
“I believe KRGA has greatly increased the professionalism of the guiding industry and since the beginning, there have been less guide citations on the Kenai,” said Turner. “The guides get to know each other and therefore the class increases the camaraderie within the industry.”
In 2004, KRSA provided the initial match funding to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the Kenai River Working Group, established to review existing regulations for the Kenai River Special Management Area, the most popular park unit in the Alaska State Parks system. A top recommendation was to establish a certification program for Kenai River fishing guides.
“The Kenai River is one of Alaska’s sportfishing and recreational gems,” says Ben Ellis, director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. “With many Alaskans and our guests accessing the Kenai River Special Management Area via registered sport fish guides, it is imperative that we offer a program that trains individuals to provide professional guides services. Not only is it in regulation, it is the right thing to do.”
KRSA is proud to support this innovative program that provides contemporary training to professional fishing guides on the Kenai. Your support help us accomplish our mission of ensuring the sustainability of the Kenai as one of the world’s great sportfishing rivers.