KRSA Urges Anglers to Release Big Kings

Soldotna— Kenai River Sportfishing Association is encouraging all anglers on the Kenai River to limit their harvest of king salmon during July to fish under 34 inches and allow larger fish to reach the spawning grounds. Fishing is governed by the Late Run Kenai River King Salmon Management Plan, which requires a minimum spawning escapement of 15,000 kings greater than 34 inches in length.

“We are encouraging all anglers, tourists and Alaskans alike, to come enjoy the beautiful Kenai River,” said Ben Mohr, KRSA Executive Director. “Whether you fish with a professional fishing guide or by private watercraft, we are urging anglers to release large kings and limit your harvest to smaller fish.”

Effective July 1, 2021, the Kenai River is open to harvest king salmon of all sizes, while restricted to the use of a single, unbaited hook. The late-run of Kenai River king salmon is projected to be in the lower end of the range of abundance observed over the last 20 years, and it will likely be a challenge to meet the low end of the optimum escapement goal. The current regulations are viewed by many users as being too liberal. While current regulations are within the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, KRSA believes these regulations are unlikely to ensure enough large fish reach the spawning grounds.  

“The message at the last Board of Fish meeting was clear – it’s time to conserve and rebuild the stocks of the world-famous Kenai River king salmon. We hope that by encouraging all anglers to make conservation personal and help the king run get the escapement numbers it needs to rebuild. These cooperative actions are essential to protect the sustainability of these prized fish.“

Returns of king salmon have been depressed across the state of Alaska in 2021, prompting the closure or restriction of fishing opportunity for sport, personal use, and subsistence fishermen including the Yukon River, the Nushagak River, the Copper River, and the Kenai River.

Kenai River Sportfishing Association is a nonpartisan, nonprofit fishery-conservation organization that works to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of fish resources in the Kenai River and elsewhere in Alaska, through advocacy of sport and personal-use fisheries and the promotion of science-based fish management.

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