Early kings closed on Kenai, Russian River opening early

Sport fishing for Kenai River kings will close Wednesday for the remainder of June and be partially closed until August 1, while sockeye fishing in the Russian River Sanctuary area will open Tuesday until August 20.

For the remainder of June, the Kenai River will be closed to sportfishing for kings from its mouth to the outlet of Skilak Lake. In July the river will open for kings downstream of a marker about 300 yards downstream of the Slikok Creek mouth at approximately river mile 19, according to an emergency order the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued Monday.

The sonar at Kenai River mile 13.7 had recorded an estimated 2,116 large salmon as of Sunday. Fish and Game projects a run of 3,095 large kings if the run timing is average or 3,609 if it is three days late — in either case, not enough to meet the escapement goal of 3,900 to 6,600 fish.

“This closure is not an easy decision; however even after prohibiting harvest of king salmon in the fishery last week, we are not projecting to meet the escapement goal and need to take this next step,” Fish and Game’s Cook Inlet Coordinator Matt Miller is quoted as saying in the announcement. “King salmon stocks throughout Cook Inlet, including the Kenai River runs, are experiencing a period of low productivity and the restrictions and closures are being felt across the state.”

Fish and Game previously restricted the Kenai and Kasilof rivers to catch and release king fishing with emergency orders on June 11. At that time, an estimated 1,609 kings had passed the Kenai’s mile 13.7 sonar.

The sanctuary area around the Russian River’s confluence with the Kenai River normally opens July 15. As of Sunday, 7,759 sockeye had passed the Russian River weir, according to a Fish and Game press release announcing the early opening. Fish and Game estimates their escapement goal of 22,000 to 42,000 sockeye will be met.

“Sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River area will likely remain good to excellent for the next several days,” the release states. After July 15, the Russian River Sanctuary will fly-fishing only.

Reach Ben Boettger at bboettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 19

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)
Photos by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion 
                                Attendees of the annual apple tasting at O’Brien Garden and Trees try each of the 19 varieties that were grown this year on Saturday, in Nikiski.
Best of the bunch

Community samples apples at Nikiski orchard

Courtesy photo / Canada Border Services Agency 
                                An Alaska man will appear in Canadian court on Monday after border security officers seized the 14 firearms, pictured above, alongside loaded magazines, ammunition, and other paraphernalia, at a crossing southeast of Vancouver.
Alaska man charged in Canada for smuggling firearms

There were fourteen firearms, many illegal in Canada, seized in a July incident.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
                                Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce addresses patrons at the Funny River Solid Waste Transfer Site on Friday. More than $670,000 in improvements are being made to the site.
Officials laud Funny River transfer site upgrades

More than 20 people attended a ceremony on Friday to celebrate improvements to the site.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
DHSS: 112 new cases

DHSS announced 112 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in Alaska on Thursday.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 18

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

City of Kenai greenlights “People Counter Project”

The city will use $135,000 in federal CARES money to purchase cameras and other equipment.

Most Read