The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced new restrictions to the Kenai River and Kasilof River late-run king salmon fisheries. Effective Wednesday, July 14th, anglers on the Kenai River and Kasilof River will be limited to catch and release of king salmon, and gear remains restricted to a single-hook artificial lure without bait.
King Salmon returns have been challenged throughout the State of Alaska, with restrictions being placed on many of the state’s king salmon sport and personal use fisheries. Early returns on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have been similarly disappointing, prompting these conservation measures by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The optimal escapement goal on the Kenai River is 15,000 – 30,000 large king salmon. The pre-season forecast developed by the Department of Fish and Game anticipated 18,500 early-run kings returning to the Kenai.
As of July 12th approximately 13% of the early-run has passed the sonar counter on the Kenai. While still early, KRSA’s analysis at this point in the run projects a return of approximately 10,782 large kings to the Kenai, similar to ADF&G’s projections. Restrictions of in-river harvest, paired with restrictions of Cook Inlet commercial fisheries, are warranted to protect this run.