King salmon sport fishing on the Anchor River has been restricted to catch-and-release for the remainder of the month, according to the Department of Fish and Game. The restriction begins 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
In statement released Thursday, Fish and Game said the fishery has been restricted because it is uncertain if the Anchor's king salmon escapement goal of 5,000 fish will be attained this year.
The escapement as of Wednesday was 2,092 fish, which is 371 salmon behind the 2008 number on that date. King salmon runs to the Anchor have been estimated by Fish and Game since 2004.
Nicky Szarzi, Homer Fish and Game biologist, said the run is past its peak time where historically 50 percent of the run is through the weir. The Department is unsure if there will be another big escapement or if the run is petering out, she said.
The Anchor was restricted to catch-and-release rather than a full fishery closure because there's still a chance escapement will be met.
"We think we still might be able to make our escapement goal," Szarzi said. "It's a little bit early and because we really don't know what the run timing is this year compared to previous years. We want to get some more days worth of escapement count to see the trends."
King salmon hooked in the Anchor may not be possessed or retained. Any king salmon caught may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.
Use of bait is still prohibited on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek through the end of the month.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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