Fish and Game lifts bait restriction for Kenai River kings

  • Friday, July 24, 2015 12:20pm
  • News

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has lifted the bait restriction in the Kenai River sport king salmon fishery.

According to a press release from Fish and Game, starting on 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the use of bait/scent in the Kenai River will be allowed from its mouth, upstream to regulatory markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake.

King salmon fishing will remain restricted to those waters downstream of the Fish and Game markers located approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek.

According to Fish and Game, inseason run projections are stronger than expected and indicate a run larger than the pre-season forecast. Through July 22, the estimated total passage of late-run king salmon at the river mile 14 sonar was 11,079 fish. In the previous two years using the ARIS sonar, 38 percent and 41 percent of the run passed the sonar site at river mile 14 through July 22.

Through July 22 the projected inriver run of late-run Kenai River king salmon (which includes the projected season total inriver harvest of king salmon downstream of the sonar) is 23,500 to 31,000 fish.

Projections of the sport harvest from July 25 through July 31 indicate an additional harvest of 1,200 to 3,500 fish with the use of bait will result in a projected end of season escapement of 20,500 to 25,600 fish.

Fish and Game says that although the 2015 run is improved, inseason run projections remain below the historical average total run size. Therefore the sport fishery will remain closed to king salmon fishing upstream of the Fish and Game markers located approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek.

By regulation, the king salmon fishing season ends July 31.

Personal-use dipnetters on the Kenai River also may now retain one king salmon per household permit.

Fish and Game has also restored the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge, effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday through 11:59 p.m. July 31. Anglers are reminded to review the regulations for the Kasilof River in the 2015 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet.

— Staff report

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