Fish and Game restricts Kenai River early run king fishery

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Thursday issued an emergency order restricting king salmon fishing on the Kenai River to catch-and-release/trophy salmon fishing only, effective May 16.

 

According to the emergency order:

■ From 12:01 a.m. May 16, through 11:59 p.m. June 30, in the Kenai River drainage, from the mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and less than 55 inches in length may not be possessed or retained, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately. Harvest of king salmon less than 20 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length is still allowed.

■ From 12:01 a.m. July 1, through 11:59 p.m. July 14, in the Kenai River drainage from Fish and Game regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and less than 55 inches in length may not be possessed or retained, may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Harvest of king salmon less than 20 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length is still allowed. Use of bait is prohibited in the Kenai River drainage from Fish and Game regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge.

According to a Fish and Game press release, the restrictions are designed to achieve the optimal escapement goal of 5,300 to 9,000 king salmon while providing sport fishing opportunity throughout the early run.

Fish and Game reports that the preseason outlook for early-run Kenai River king salmon is for a total run of approximately 5,300 fish, making it prudent to start the early run fishery as catch-and-release until inseason data indicates that some harvest can be allowed or that further restriction is necessary.

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