Editor’s note: This story has been edited to correct which river hatchery kings can be fished upon. Currently the Kenai River is closed to king salmon fishing, but anglers may catch and retain one hatchery produced king on the Kasilof River.
With the opening of the Russian River on Wednesday, came the chance for successful sockeye salmon fishing, assistant management biologist with the Department of Fish and Game Jason Pawluk said. Surveys taken over the last two weeks have counted close to 7,000 sockeye, he said.
The bag limit is three per day and six in possession.
Basically anyone can retain three sockeye salmon per day, three before and three after midnight and have six unprocessed fish total, as long as three were caught one day, and three the next, he said.Sockeye salmon can only be fished between the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers placed just downstream of the Russian Ferry crossing, up to the power lines. The sanctuary is currently closed to all fishing.
Sockeye salmon can also be fished on the Kenai River mainstem and Kasilof river, but little success is likely.
“Right now it’s all about the Russian river,” Pawluk said.
Another opening Wednesday was the area between Skilak Lake and Torpedo Hole. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden trout can now be fished in that area, with a one per day bag limit and only one in possession, and the fish must be less than 18 inches long. Trout and sockeye salmon are where anglers will be putting most of their effort toward the next few days, Pawluk said.
The only option for fishing king salmon remains on the Kasilof River, Pawluk said.
Fishing for king salmon on the Kenai River is closed until June 30. Anglers may only catch one hatchery king salmon on the Kasilof river and can only keep one per day. Hatchery salmon are missing their adipose fin. A healed scar will be in its place. The annual limit for king salmon in Cook Inlet, larger than 20-inches, is five. There is no annual limit for smaller king salmon.
No treble hooks, baiting or scents are allowed. Only single hooks can be used to fish with.
Changes to the king salmon regulations on the lower Kenai Peninsula streams are in effect through June 30:
■ Crooked Creek is closed to all fishing through July 31.
■ The combined annual limit of king salmon 20-inches or greater in length has been reduced to two from May 1-June 30 in Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River.
■ The Anchor river has been closed to sport fishing, and marine waters south of the latitude line of the Ninilchik River down to the latitude line at Bluff Point are closed to king salmon fishing within one mile of shore.
■ After harvesting a king salmon 20 inches or greater from either the Deep Creek, or the Ninilchik river, anglers must stop fishing in those streams for the rest of the day.
■ Anglers may only use one unbaited, single-hook with an artificial lure on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River.
■ The Ninilchik River king salmon bag and possession limit is one wild or hatchery-reared fish during regular weekend openings in May and June but beginning July 1, it is reduced to one hatchery-reared king salmon.