User groups calling the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to complain they’re not getting enough opportunities to fish for the large number of sockeye salmon storming the Kasilof River can put down their phones and pick up their rods and dipnets.
Due to the early and strong return of sockeyes to the Kasilof River, Fish and Game issued two emergency orders one expanding the area open to dipnetting, the other raising rod-and-reel bag and possessions limits.
Dipnetting from the shoreline is now allowed from Fish and Game markers on the Cook Inlet beaches at the mouth of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge, and dipnetting from a boat is now allowed from the inlet markers upstream to markers at river mile 3.
In addition, the rod-and-reel sport limit for sockeyes 16 inches or longer has been increased from three per day and three in possession to six per day and 12 in possession.
Both emergency orders became effective as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
According to a Fish and Game press release, these emergency orders are justified because, “The escapement of red salmon into the Kasilof River is proceeding at a rate greater than needed to assure optimum escapement levels of 150,000 to 300,000 fish.
“As of midnight, July 7, almost 97,000 red salmon passed the Kasilof River sonar station. As of July 5, the Kasilof River red salmon run historically is 35 percent complete.”
Commercial fishing times and areas also will be increased, and fishing will be allowed in the Kasilof Terminal Harvest Area to control escapement rates. Thus, Fish and Game stipulates that anglers and dipnetters should expect only fair success rates, at best.
However, to aid anglers and dipnetters, Fish and Game has established a hotline at 267-2512 to better inform these user groups about when and where commercial boats are fishing.
Fish and Game’s management strategy is also posted online at www.sf.adfg.state.ak. us/Region2/SF_R2home.cfm.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.