Russian River anglers are seeing even more red than usual not because they’re mad, but because they can keep even more sockeye salmon for the next few weeks.
Effective 6 a.m. this morning, the daily bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon increases to four sockeyes in the Russian-Kenai rivers fly-fishing only area.
This area includes the Russian River from a marker about 600 yards downstream below the falls to the confluence with the Kenai River, as well as the Kenai River from its confluence with the Russian downstream to the power line crossing.
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has authorized the Department of Fish and Game to increase the bag and possession limit when it can be projected that the Russian River early run sockeye salmon spawning escapement goal range of 14,000 to 37,000 fish will be exceeded.
“The escapement past the weir at Lower Russian Lake has exceeded 18,000 fish and it is now projected that in excess of 37,000 early run sockeye salmon will reach the spawning grounds,” stated a press release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“It is therefore appropriate to increase limits to permit anglers the additional opportunity to harvest Russian River sockeye salmon.”
This increase comes less than a week after Fish and Game issued an emergency order opening the Sanctuary Area on Tuesday, several weeks earlier than was scheduled. No less than 2,100 sockeye per day have made it past the weir on the outlet of Lower Russian Lake, and on Friday, 2,404 sockeye passed the weir for a cumulative total of 20,666 salmon so far this season.
Fish and Game reminds anglers that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing.
If a Russian River angler with more than three sockeye salmon in possession stops to fish anywhere where the possession limit is three, that angler is in violation of the possession limit and may receive a citation.
This increase expires at 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 14. After that time, the bag limit will go back to three sockeye per day, with three in possession.
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