Beginning July 21, king salmon fisheries on the Kenai River, Kasilof River, and upper Cook Inlet Saltwater, as well as commercial setnet fisheries, are closing due to the alarmingly low rate of late-run kings that have passed the Kenai sonar. As of July 18th, just 2,872 king salmon have passed the counter, which is the second lowest return since 2013 – when the current system was implemented. This rate of return projects a total return of only 9,792 fish, far short of the management objective of 15,000 large fish.
KRSA is committed to supporting conservation efforts to help rebuild the stocks of Kenai River king salmon, and we appreciate your support as we work towards that goal. The July 21st closure is the second-earliest full closure of the sport and commercial setnet fisheries to protect Kenai River king salmon.
Kenai River sockeye salmon numbers for sport and personal use fishermen are encouraging. The forecasted return is 2.3 million fish and data are suggesting that the sockeye run is just now showing up in significant numbers. The rate of sockeye currently entering the river, as well as positive off-shore test fishery data, likely means that personal use and sport fishing on the Kenai will improve over the coming days.