Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion A guide boat motors along the Kenai River upstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge in Soldotna, Alaska on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion A guide boat motors along the Kenai River upstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge in Soldotna, Alaska on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Fish and Game opens Kenai late-run kings to bait

Anglers can use bait for king salmon in a section of the Kenai River starting Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced in an emergency order issued Friday that anglers could use bait in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to a marker about 300 yards downstream of the mouth of Slikok Creek. They are still limited to using one hook, according to the emergency order.

The late-run kings have been arriving in better numbers this year than in the past few years, according to Fish and Game data. Fish and Game has begun the late-run fishing season with a bait restriction for the past several years because of weaker returns, but has lifted the restriction later in the season when the run looks strong enough to meet the lower end of the optimum escapement goal.

The emergency order puts the king salmon fishery in that part of the river into the standard regulations as listed in the Sport Fishing Regulations Summary, said Jason Pawluk, the acting area management biologist for the Division of Sportfish in Soldotna.

On Thursday, Fish and Game’s counted 394 king salmon passing the sonar at river mile 14, for a cumulative total so far of 3,218 fish, he said. That’s about 1,200 more fish than on the same date in 2015, according to Fish and Game data. It looks like the kings will meet the escapement goal this season, he said.

“Based on our projections and looking at a couple days early, a couple of days late or on time, all our projections on timing are showing that we would achieve the escapement goal through this date,” Pawluk said.

Fishermen will still be prohibited from using bait upstream of the marker near Slikok Creek to the outlet of Skilak Lake. The slot limit — a ban on retention of king salmon greater than 42 inches and less than 55 inches long — also applies on that section of the river until July 14. The limit per person is one per day, with one in possession.

Sportfishing for king salmon in the Kenai River ends July 31.

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

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska House passes budget with roughly $2,275 payments to residents, bill goes to Senate

The bill also includes a roughly $175 million, one-time increase in aid to school districts that would be paid according to a funding formula

The Kenai River flows near Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. The Riverfront Redevelopment project will impact much of Soldotna’s riverside areas downstream to the bridge. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna riverfront redevelopment planning moves forward

Soldotna City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a project manager to shepherd the Riverfront Redevelopment Project

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Corey Cannon, who plays baseball as part of Soldotna Little League, speaks to the Soldotna City Council during their meeting in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Soldotna Little League receives donation for facility repairs

The city owns the fields, but the Little League leases the land and is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities

Aleutian Airways logo. Photo courtesy of Aleutian Airways
Aleutian airways to halt Homer service during runway project

Service will be suspended beginning April 15

tease
Homer pedestrian pathway project selected for federal funding

The project will create greater nonmotorized transportation access in Homer

Vendors speak to attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Job and Career Fair in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Job Fair draws employers, seekers

The Job Center has options and opportunities to connect people with training, coaching and funding

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
AK Wellness & Tanning holds grand opening for new location

The expanded location is along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai

The Kenai Senior Center’s dining space is readied for the annual March for Meals fundraiser in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Photo by Ken Aaron, provided by Kenai Senior Center)
March for Meals raises funds to support senior food service

The local event was organized by Kenai Senior Connection and hosted at the Kenai Senior Center

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna on Sunday.
Federal grant awarded for Whistle Hill solar project

The annual production of the completed system is estimated to be enough electricity to power 19 homes

Most Read