ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state is sharply restricting sport and guided sport fishing in the Kenai River in efforts to boost escapement for the early run of king salmon.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order Monday making the Kenai River a trophy fishery, meaning that fish only 52-inches or longer can be kept.
It's catch-and-release for any kings smaller than that.
The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The restrictions will continue until the escapement goal of 7,200 king salmon is met, or until June 30, whichever comes first.
It also will be illegal to use live bait or anything but single hooks in the sport or guided sport fisheries.
Sonar estimates that only 3,860 king salmon have entered the Kenai River since May 15. Angler success has been well below average, biologists said.
The fisheries will be closed if escapement goals aren't met, officials said.
Biologists suggest that anglers carry a tape measure or some kind of measuring stick so length can be determined without removing fish from the river.
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