A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Fish and Game imposes lure restriction on Kenai River

King salmon projected to not meet minimum escapement

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released an advisory announcement Thursday about the lures that are acceptable for use in the Kenai River.

The river is currently closed by emergency order to king salmon fishing, as data projects that with continued harvest the species won’t make its escapement goals.

Fish and Game is prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, effective 12:01 a.m. Aug. 1 through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15. Anglers are only permitted to use one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure in these waters.

The department also stated in the advisory announcement that king salmon fishing closes by regulation on Aug. 1, which includes catch and release fishing. Anglers are also advised to avoid fishing for coho salmon in areas of the river where kings are concentrated, and to cut leaders or lines to avoid accidentally hooking a king.

Through July 28, Fish and Game reported approximately 5,296 kings over 75 centimeters had passed through the Mile 13.7 sonar in the Kenai River.

The agency projects around 9,800 large kings will reach escapement. The goal range is in between 15,000 and 30,000.

Fish and Game has also closed the east side setnet commercial fishery because of king salmon restrictions.

For more information, contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at 907-262-9368 or Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at 907-267-2415.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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