Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Dipnetting wraps up; Kenai late-run kings still off limits

Northern Kenai fishing report

As the Kenai Peninsula’s personal use dipnet fisheries wind down, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game continues to take steps to protect late-run king salmon returns.

Dipnetting

The Kenai River dipnet fishery, reported as “fair” on Friday, is open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. Until then, salmon can be harvested 24 hours per day.

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery, also reported as “fair” on Friday, is open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7. Until then, salmon can be harvested 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

From the shore, participants in the Kasilof River personal use dipnet fishery can take salmon between Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers on Cook Inlet beaches where the river ends and the Sterling Highway Bridge. From a boat, anglers can harvest salmon between department markers on Cook Inlet beaches where the river ends and markers placed at about River Mile 3.

In both the Kenai River and Kasilof River personal use dipnet fisheries, retention of king salmon, rainbow/steelhead trout and Dolly Varden is prohibited.

Only Alaska residents can participate in personal use dipnet fisheries. Participants are required to have an Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit as well as a sport fishing license. Harvest and participation in this fishery must be reported online through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game no later than Aug. 15.

Freshwater fishing

Kenai River

The late-run Kenai River king salmon sport fishery remains closed.

Beginning Aug. 1, sport fishing gear in the Kenai River is limited to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure while sport fishing. Bait is prohibited in the river from the mouth to Skilak Lake. Any king salmon caught incidentally cannot be removed from the water and must be immediately released.

Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing was reported as being “fair to good,” as was lower Kenai River sockeye salmon fishing. For sockeye salmon, the bag limit is six per day and 12 in possession.

Kasilof River

The Kasilof River king salmon sport fishery remains closed.

Anglers are limited to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure when sport fishing from the mouth of the Kasilof River to Tustumena Lake. Any king salmon caught incidentally cannot be removed from the water and must be immediately released.

The Kasilof River sockeye salmon fishing is “fair to good” per the Division of Sport Fish, which encouraged anglers to try fishing from the shore at Crooked Creek State Recreation site. Crooked Creek is closed to fishing. Bag and possession limits are six per day and 12 in possession.

Other

The Division of Sport Fish reported that fishing is “good to excellent” at Resurrection Creek in Hope, where pink salmon are beginning to arrive. Sockeye salmon fishing is “improving and should be very good by the weekend” on the Upper Kenai and Russian Rivers, where the bag and possession limit is three fish per day and six fish in possession.

Local lakes

John Hedberg Lake in Nikiski is reporting “excellent” fishing, while fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and landlocked salmon “should be good to excellent.” It is suggested by the Division of Sport Fish that anglers try fishing with dry or wet flies, like an egg sucking leech, bead head nymph or mosquito pattern. Small spoons and spinners size #0 or #2 as well as small bait under a bobber, are recommended.

Emergency orders

Kenai River and Russian River

Emergency Order 2-KS-61-22 prohibits the use of bait and limits sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure while sport fishing in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake effective 12:01 Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-60-22 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, other than king, pink and coho salmon, from three per day and six in possession to six per day and 12 in possession, in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. No more than two salmon, 16 inches or longer, per day and in possession may be coho salmon. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 2022 through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Emergency order 2-RS-1-59-22 increases the hours salmon may be taken by dipnet in the personal use fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River. Effective 11 p.m. Friday, July 2022, salmon may be harvested by dipnetting 24 hours per day through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-53-22 supersedes prior emergency orders and closes the Kenai River to fishing for king salmon and prohibits the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to ADF&G markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch and release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. These regulatory changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17, 2022, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-46-22 prohibits the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery. Any king salmon caught incidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed. This regulatory change is effective through 11 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Kasilof River

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-54-22 supersedes previous emergency orders and closes king salmon sport fishing in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge to the river mouth from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022. Additionally, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing from the river mouth upstream to the outlet of Tustumena Lake from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch and release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

Emergency order 2-RS-1-45-22 expands the personal use salmon dipnet fishing area on the Kasilof River. Salmon may be harvested from the shore from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Salmon may be harvested from a boat from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to ADF&G markers placed at approximately River Mile 3. This regulatory change is effective through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-44-22 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, to six fish per and 12 in possession in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing. No more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon. This regulatory change is effective through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Dece. 31, 2022.

Local Lakes

Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-22 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey, Sevena, Union, and Derks lakes for the 2022 season.

Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-22 establishes a bag and possession limit of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish, less than 16 inches in length for the 2022 season.

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