The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Fish and Game restricts bait on Kasilof, Ninilchik Rivers

The use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof

No bait will be allowed on the Kasilof and Ninilchik Rivers, owing to continued low counts of king salmon, the State Department of Fish and Game announced Wednesday.

A pair of advisory announcements say that a restriction on the use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof.

Fishers will be restricted to the use of only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure on the two rivers.

The bag limit for hatchery king salmon on the Kasilof River, identified by their missing adipose fin, is two fish until June 30, when the limit will drop to one until July 31. Naturally produced king salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

In an advisory announcement for the Kasilof River restriction, the department says that the king salmon sport fishery is managed for a sustainable escapement goal of 700-1,400 naturally produced king salmon. Daily fish counts are not available from the department for the river.

“These restrictions will improve the chances that we achieve an escapement within the current SEG and provide for collection of naturally-produced king salmon broodstock, while still providing opportunity for anglers targeting Kasilof River hatchery-produced king salmon returning to Crooked Creek,” says Area Management Biologist Phill Stacey in the release. “Additionally, the removal of bait will reduce the catch-and-release mortality of naturally-produced king salmon.”

On the Ninilchik River, the goal is 900-1,600 king salmon, and the department says that 363 have been counted as of Tuesday. The run is not projected to meet the goal. There are enough hatchery kings being counted to “provide harvest opportunities for the remainder of the season.”

For more information about fishing regulations and opportunity, visit adfg.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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