Personal use setnetters on the Kasilof River will have to wait a little longer to put out their nets each morning this year.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order Tuesday reducing the hours for the personal-use set gillnet fishery around the mouth of the Kasilof River to 12 from the usual 17 per day. The reduction goes into effect when the fishery opens Friday.
For a week each year, personal-use fishermen are allowed to use a single gillnet per household to fish for king salmon and sockeye salmon in the area a mile north and a mile south of the Kasilof River’s mouth. The fishery will open June 15 this year and close June 24, followed by the opening of the Kasilof River personal-use dipnet fishery on June 25.
However, this year, low king salmon returns so far to the Kenai River prompted Fish and Game to reduce early-run king salmon fishing to catch-and-release only, effective Wednesday. King salmon fishing is prohibited by emergency order in the Anchor River, Ninilchik River and Deep Creek to the south as well as some salt water king fishing in Cook Inlet. Because of the restrictions, managers expect an increase in effort and harvest of kings on the Kasilof, according to the emergency order.
On Monday, alongside the Kenai River restrictions, Fish and Game announced restrictions to the king salmon fishery inriver on the Kasilof. Retention of wild king salmon is now prohibited, and the bag and possession limits for hatchery king salmon 20 inches or longer is reduced to one king. Hatchery fish are distinguished from wild fish by their lack of an adipose fin.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org.