A late surge of sockeye salmon into the Kenai River has afforded dipnetters a week’s time to fill their freezers.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game an-nounced Thursday that dipnetting at the mouth of the Kenai River would open from 5 p.m. Thursday through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 10.
The personal-use fishery is open from the commercial fishing regulatory boundary markers in Cook Inlet north and south of the Kenai River mouth, extending up river to the downstream edge of the Warren Ames Bridge on the Kenai River flats. Fishing is open 24 hours a day.
Fishing restrictions coupled with a late surge of sockeyes raised the in-river total of reds in the Kenai to 748,773 fish Wednesday. If fish are allowed to continue to pour into the river unimpeded, Fish and Game estimates the upper end of its 650,000-850,000 target will be exceeded.
Fish and Game also loosened restrictions on sportfishing in the Kenai River. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, sportfishermen may keep six salmon per day, with six in possession that are 16 inches or more in length. This does not extend to king salmon, and only two of the six fish may be coho (or silver) salmon. The regulation applies to the portion of the river open to salmon fishing below the Fish and Game regulatory markers at river Mile 19. For the rest of the river, the bag and possession limit remains three fish per day, with no more than two being silvers. The increased limit will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31.
According to the Fish and Game emergency order, commercial fishing will be liberalized in conjunction with sport and personal-use fishing.
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