State brings new gear restrictions, lifts annual limit on hatchery Kings, on the Ninilchik

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) today announced that it is restricting legal sportfishing gear to a single hook with no bait on the Ninilchik River king salmon fishery. At the same time, any hatchery king salmon harvested in the Ninilchik River will not count against the Kenai Peninsula/Cook Inlet annual king salmon harvest limit, and does not need to be recorded. The daily bag/possession limit of one hatchery king remains in place.

Hatchery kings on the Ninilchik River can be identified by the lack of an adipose fin – a small fin typically located along the spine, between the dorsal fin and the tail.

As of June 10, 2020, there have been 367 wild and 393 hatchery king salmon counted at the lower Ninilchik River weir and escaped above the sport fishery. Based on 2019 run timing at this counting location, these counts should represent approximately 35% of this years’ run. It is likely the wild run will meet the sustainable escapement goal of 750 wild fish at the upper weir but may not be sufficient to support broodstock collection for the 2021 Ninilchik River stocking. The hatchery escapement above the lower weir is projected to exceed broodstock collection needs for the 2021 stockings at the Kachemak Bay terminal fishery locations.

For more information, please see ADF&G’s Advisory Announcement here.

Photo credit: Alaska Department of Fish and Game – Alaska Salmon Identification and Fishing Guide