East side setnets, drifters closed again Thursday

Commercial fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet’s central district will stay on the beaches again Thursday to allow more sockeye to enter the Kenai River.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a closure of the east side set gillnet and Central District drift gillnet fisheries for Thursday. It’s the second commercial fishing closure of the week due to low sockeye salmon passage into the Kenai River.

Though the counts improved Monday and Tuesday and the managers’ projections are increasing again, it’s still not enough to reach the lower end of the inriver goal yet, said Pat Shields, the area management biologist for commercial fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet. Wednesday’s counts through 5 p.m. looked similar to Tuesday’s, when about 60,000 fish passed the sonar.

“That still doesn’t have us projecting that we’ll be in the inriver goal range by season’s end,” he said. “However, the projections are increasing. Each day that we get 60,000 fish or more to the sonar, the projections are increasing.”

So far, about 443,000 sockeye salmon have passed the sonar at river mile 19. The managers shoot for an inriver goal range of 900,000–1.1 million fish in years when the run is projected to be fewer than 2.3 million fish. In a typical year, the run would be about 57 complete by July 25, according to an emergency order issued Wednesday.

The decisions for the commercial fishery are day-to-day, Shields said.

Commercial fishermen in other areas of Upper Cook Inlet will fish Thursday, though the setnetters in the Northern District will operate with gear restrictions to allow for additional Susitna River sockeye salmon passage, Shields said. The weirs gauging the passage of sockeye salmon into the river system are too far upstream from the fishery to say how the run is doing yet, but the Fish Creek weir, which is closer to the fishery, had counted enough salmon to warrant the opening of the Fish Creek personal-use dipnet fishery effective Wednesday until Monday, Shields said.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Soldotna City Council members convene for a work session to discuss how the city should use federal COVID-19 recovery funds on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna council to review mini grant applications next week

Soldotna City Council members will convene earlier than usual Wednesday to mull… Continue reading

Voters cast ballots in Alaska’s special general and regular primary elections at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Division of Elections data: Primary turnout higher than previous elections

Turnout among central Kenai Peninsula voters in Tuesday’s primary election was higher… Continue reading

Elisif Harro, Mark Harro and Daniel Harro. (Photo courtesy John and Denise Harro)
‘We lost 2 first-class people’

Daniel, Mark Harro die in Idaho plane crash

Two trombone players and a saxophone perform during a KCHS Marching Band practice on Aug. 18, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
KCHS strikes up the band

Only a couple of days into the new school year, Kenai Central… Continue reading

tease
Man wanted in relation to Amber Alert arrested; missing teenager found

A Fairbanks man wanted in connection to an Amber Alert was arrested… Continue reading

tease
School district extends meal program deadline amid confusion

Credit for breakfast and lunch meals will be provided as needed to… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks at the Kenai Classic Roundtable at Kenai Peninsula College on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bycatch stirs debate at fisheries roundtable

Bycatch was the issue du jour at Wednesday’s annual Kenai Classic Roundtable… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula College Director Cheryl Siemers in her office on Aug. 18, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
KPC to welcome back community with open house

One week before the start of the fall semester, Kenai Peninsula College… Continue reading

National Weather Service radar for the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska on Aug. 17, 2022. (Screenshot)
Rain, rain and more rain

Low pressure systems drive wet conditions in Southcentral

Most Read