Anglers net upgraded access to Barbara Lake

Oct 7, 2021

The newly improved public access path to Barbara Lake in Nikiski.
Credit Alaska Department of Fish and Game

If you’re looking for a less-rustic approach to rainbow trout fishing on the northern Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a spot for you.

The department recently finished improving access to Barbara Lake, about 30 miles north of Kenia. Access is off Ballard Drive, off Halibouty Road.

Fish and Game has been stocking the lake since 1980. It’s not one of their highest-use fisheries, but this project might help hook some more interest.

“It’s more just improving the access and experience for anglers that either live out in Nikiski or choose to travel out there and go look for fish,” said Colton Lipka, area management biologist.

There’s a gravel parking pad, which fits three vehicles, educational signage, a path to the lake and a 12-foot shoreline fishing platform.

“It is a 300-foot path, with a slight downhill grade in it from the parking area to the boardwalk. It is an improved path, so it’s not like you need your hiking boots,” Lipka said. “I would say it’s family friendly, there’s no highly technical aspect to it or anything of that sort.”

There’s an existing unimproved boat launch on the south side of the lake, on a Kenai Peninsula Borough easement. That’s accessed off Pipeline Road.

It’s not a huge project but one that should benefit the Nikiski community.

“For these small improvement projects, these are things that we tend to identify through the public just calling us and letting us know, that’s probably the best way if folks have something in their local neighborhood at one of our stocked lakes or access sites they’d like to see improved,” Lipka said.  Just call us at the office. We always take note of these things and we address them when we can.”

Lipka says the Barbara project is part of Fish and Game’s larger efforts to upgrade access and protect habitat.

“We are constantly working to improve access throughout the Kenai Peninsula area,” he said. “We’re always working on educational signage and improving our walkway situations. We’re undergoing assessment of Kenai riverbank habitat versus access, kind of how things are shaping up now that we’ve got many years of these closed areas. We’ve been looking at the Big Eddy state rec site. So it’s an ongoing project.”

The bag and possession limit for rainbow trout in Barbara Lake is five fish, of which only one may be 20 inches or greater in length. The annual limit for rainbow trout 20 inches or longer is two. If you retain a fish greater than 20 inches, you must immediately record that harvest on your harvest card or sport fishing license. If you’re going to try fishing in Barbara Lake, Fish and Game recommends casting small spinners or using bait under a bobber while fishing from the platform.

Lipka asks that people respect private property off both sides of the parking area. And to keep the area clean — if you pack it in, pack it out. If you see any invasive elodia or pike, call the invasive species hotline at 1-877-468-2748, or Fish and Game’s Soldotna office at 262-9368.