Salmon fishing closed in Nome, catch-and-release ending on Kenai

Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2000

NOME (AP) -- Subsistence salmon fishing in the Nome area was shut down this week because a continuing shortage of chum salmon returning to the Norton Sound area.

Meanwhile, Copper River sport fishermen face a reduced bag limit for king salmon beginning Monday due to a smaller-than-expected run.

The news is better for king anglers on the Kenai River, where the state Department of Fish and Game is lifting a mandatory catch-and-release order.

Fish and Game closed Tier I subsistence fishing in the Nome subdistrict both salt and fresh water.

A more restrictive Tier II subsistence fishery is scheduled to start Tuesday, with biologists anticipating a harvestable surplus of only 1,000 chums. That number is well below the Board of Fisheries' minimum surplus of 3,400 fish needed for an unrestricted Tier I subsistence fishery.

Initially only ten Tier II permits are being issued, each for 100 fish. Fish and Game said a more extensive Tier II chum fishery could open in July if the run improves.

The Copper River king salmon run is proving to be far short of expectations, so Fish and Game is trimming the seasonal bag limit for anglers from four kings to two.

King salmon escapement on the river started strong, but has since tailed off. It is now below last year's levels, when the escapement target was not reached, Fish and Game said.

The Copper River commercial fleet has caught only 30,000 kings, about half of the projected number, according to Fish and Game.

On the Kenai River, all king salmon will be keepers again beginning next week.

Just after midnight Tuesday, Fish and Game will lift its catch-and-release order for Kenai kings smaller than 52 inches.

The catch-and-release rules went into effect last week to ensure that enough kings escaped upstream to spawn. Fish and Game said it's now confident that the minimum escapement of 7,200 early-run kings will be reached.

And the annual Homer Spit snagging season for stocked king salmon opens Saturday and will continue through July 2, Fish and Game said. Daily bag limit is two fish. Snagging will be allowed in Kachemak Bay from Saturday through Dec. 31.



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