Northwest Kenai Locations:

Crooked Creek Weir

Crooked Creek Weird facility Spawning salmon Educational displays

Notable Species

  • Chinook salmon
  • Coho salmon
  • Dolly Varden
  • Rainbow/Steelhead trout
  • Bald eagle
  • Gulls
  • Belted kingfisher
  • American dipper
  • River otter
  • Beaver

Tea-colored Crooked Creek meanders from the Caribou Hills and empties into the silty glacial waters of the Kasilof River near the Sterling Highway in Kasilof. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kenai Peninsula Maintenance Facility and weir are located on the creek off Johnson Lake Road. On the other side of the creek from the facility is a paved pullout at milepost 111 of the Sterling Highway which includes viewing platforms and educational kiosks. This pull out is located across the road from North Cohoe Loop Road.

More than 140,000 Chinook salmon smolt are imprinted a week to 10 days at the facility before being released each June into Crooked Creek. These hatchery-produced Chinook salmon augment wild runs on the Kasilof River for sport anglers. When adult Chinook salmon return to spawn in June and July, they swim up the fish ladder adjacent to the weir where they are then passed through an underwater passage chute connected to a box containing an underwater video camera and lights.

The video footage is recorded on a digital video recorder and fish are allowed unobstructed passage upstream. Digital video recordings are watched the next day providing counts of both naturally- and hatchery-produced fish, jack Chinook salmon and other species. Fish are sampled for age, sex, length data as well tissue samples are collected for inclusion in a genetic stock database of Cook Inlet Chinook salmon. On other days some fish may be collected for brood stock where they will be held until an egg take is conducted.

Gametes collected during egg takes are sent to the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery in Anchorage where they are fertilized, incubated and reared until they grow to be smolt the following year. Smolt will be returned to Crooked Creek for stocking in June.

There is a spring run of Steelhead trout in Crooked Creek and a run of coho that reaches the river in early fall. The small creek offers an intimate glimpse of returning salmon and the stirring sight of swirling fish. Dolly Varden and rainbow trout also inhabit the creek. Two viewing platforms are installed on the creek's shoreline to allow bystanders a glimpse of fish in spawning colors holding at the weir or in a slow moving, pool downstream of the weir. The best salmon viewing is between mid-June and mid-July. Many species of birds are also abundantly seen in the area as well.


Crooked Creek is rimmed by dense alder brush, and surrounded by spruce forest. A habitat rehabilitation project was done in 2010 to stabilize the bank where the culvert was washed out a number of years before. Native vegetation, including willows and other transitional vegetation were planted to protect the streambank and prevent erosion.

Research Connection

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game developed Crooked Creek Hatchery in the early 1970’s to augment commercial and sport fishing in the Kasilof River system including Tustumena Lake. The Department now uses the facility for maintenance as well as fisheries research and monitoring of Crooked Creek Chinook salmon, and as a smolt imprinting and brood stock collection facility.

Viewing Tip

Visit June and July to catch sight of Chinook salmon working their way toward the weir. Late July and August will offer views of coho salmon swirling in the creek. Two viewing platforms on the shores of Crooked Creek provide excellent viewing opportunities and a number of educational kiosks are on the trail system between the parking lot and weir.

Helpful Hints

There is a large, paved parking lot on the west side of Crooked Creek accessible from the Sterling Highway at mile 111. The parking lot is suitable for large RV’s to turn around. Although fishing is allowed in the Kasilof River, Crooked Creek is closed to all fishing until August 1st. Waters are closed to sport fishing within 300 feet upstream and downstream of the fish ladder and the weir when in operation. Rainbow/Steelhead trout may not be retained or removed from the water. Please refer to the current Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations booklet for other bag and possession limits.

Getting There

Sterling Highway milepost 111. A paved pull-out is directly across from the junction with North Cohoe Loop Road. The weir lies just upstream of the pull-out. A trail leads from the parking lot down to a viewing platform at Crooked Creek and provides excellent opportunities for viewing salmon in June and July. The trail also leads upstream to another viewing platform for views of the weir and salmon moving through the facility.