Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show the area of the Kenai River closed to early run king salmon fishing. It is downstream of Skilak Lake, not Slikok Creek.
For the second year in a row the Kenai River will be closed to fishing for early run king salmon.
The river will be closed to king fishing downstream of Skilak Lake through June 30 to protect early run king salmon.
Managers have also closed the river to king fishing upstream of Slikok Creek through July 31 to protect spawning early run kings, said Fish and Game Sport Fish Division Area Management Biologist Robert Begich.
While the king salmon management actions are largely similar to the 2014 preseason actions, anglers will have an opportunity to harvest Kasilof River king salmon during the early run.
Anglers will be allowed to keep a naturally produced or hatchery fish on Saturdays during May and June, Begich said, but the fishery will be restricted to a single-hook and no bait.
“Based on what we’ve seen at the weir, at the assessment site on Crooked Creek the last few years … they’re not producing well enough to do three days of harvest,” he said. “We feel that we can allow some harvest down there and still meet the needs for achieving escapement and then also a brood stock program for stocking.”
Fish and Game released the emergency orders for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers on Thursday.
Fish and Game also issued a number of emergency orders to conserve king salmon on southern Kenai Peninsula streams, including the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River. According to the Fish and Game release:
— The Anchor River drainage is closed to sport fishing on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five Wednesday openings in May and June. These dates correspond to May 16-18 (first opening weekend); June 13-15 (fifth opening weekend); and Wednesday openings of May 20, 27 and June 3, 10, 17.
— The Anchor River drainage is closed to sport fishing upstream of the Old Sterling Highway Bridge located approximately 550 feet below the junction of the North and South Forks during the Memorial Day opening weekend and the following two weekends.
These dates correspond to May 23-25 (Memorial Day opening weekend) and May 30-31; June 1 and June 6-8.
— Anglers may only use one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River during the three weekend openings in May and June.
— From April 1-July 15, the combined annual limit is two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.
— From July 1-15, the saltwater area surrounding the Anchor River mouth will be closed to sport fishing for king salmon from the Anchor Point Light to the regulatory marker located 2 miles north of the Anchor River and regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas will remain in effect from approximately one mile south of Stariski Creek south to Bluff Point. This extends the current closure by 2 weeks.
Emergency orders were issued for northern Cook Inlet as well, including the Susitna, Little Susitna and Deshka rivers.
Reach Rashah McChensey at email@example.com.