KENAI (AP) -- Beginning Tuesday at noon, the Russian River ''sanctuary'' area was open to sockeye salmon sport fishing.
The portion of the river, which extends from a marker below the ferry crossing to a point 700 yards upstream, was previously closed to fishing.
The Department of Fish and Game took the action after the escapement at the Lower Russian Lake Weir exceeded 11,000 fish. It now is expected to top the early run escapement goal of 16,000, justifying the emergency opening.
''This run started with a whimper, but it's picked up in the last few days, and they're running strong now,'' said Robert Siter, owner of Gwin's Lodge in Cooper Landing, at the epicenter of this extremely popular fishery. ''The run's been building over the years. We had 30,000 fish last year. I don't think there'll be that many this year, but it looks good, and we're glad to see it.''
The Russian River sockeye, which spawn in Lower Russian Lake, have been helped along in recent years by U.S. Forest Service projects to reduce bank erosion.
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