In anticipation of low king salmon returns, Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game has prohibited the retention of kings during Kenai River dipnetting.
“The 2020 king salmon runs throughout Cook Inlet have consistently and significantly underperformed ADF&G preseason forecasts resulting in restrictions and closures of inriver and marine sport fisheries,” area management biologist Colton Lipka said in a Monday advisory from the department. “ADF&G will continue to monitor the Kenai River run as it develops and additional actions may be taken depending on the run strength.”
The prohibition of king salmon retention in the personal use fishery is in line with paired restrictions on the sport and commercial fisheries that were implemented on June 15. The Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan states that if bait is prohibited in the Kenai River sport fishery, retention is prohibited in the personal use fishery.
As of July 1, retention of king salmon 34 inches in length or greater and the use of bait are prohibited in the sport fishery from the mouth of the Kenai River to the ADF&G regulatory marker located 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. Restrictions are also in place for the commercial fishery.
The Kenai River dipnet fishery typically allows the retention of one king salmon per year per household permit, Lipka said on Tuesday, but retention was prohibited last year as well due to similar restrictions placed on the sport fishery.
The Kasilof dipnet personal use fishery is always closed to the retention of kings.
Dipnetting on the Kenai River opens Friday, July 10, and continues through July 31. Dipnetting is allowed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. Only Alaska residents can participate, and an Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use Permit is required in addition to a 2020 Alaska Sport Fishing license.
Upper Cook Inlet personal use permits are available at local ADF&G offices, vendors and online at adfg.alaska.gov/store.
A map of the allowable dipnetting areas is available on page 14 of the 2020 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations summary booklet.