The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced emergency closures to King salmon fishing in the Kenai River, Kasilof River, and Upper Cook Inlet effective 12:01am on July 21, 2021. These fisheries have experienced long-term struggles in meeting the optimal escapement goals (OEG); the Kenai River’s OEG is 15,000 to 30,000 large king salmon, and as of July 18 only 2,872 kings have passed the king salmon sonar.
Based on current returns, ADF&G’s projection for total escapement stands at 10,068 large king-salmon, triggering the sport and commercial closures outlined in the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan. Closure of the Upper Cook Inlet (north of Bluff Point latitude 59° 40.00’ N.) is also warranted, to reduce the interception of king salmon bound to the Kenai or Kasilof rivers. The Kasilof River king salmon fishery is also being closed to help increase the chances that the Kasilof River’s late-run king salmon meets adequate escapement.
While king salmon fishing on the Kenai River and Kasilof River is closed, sport and personal use fishing for sockeye remains open.
More information about each closure can be found at the following links: