JUNEAU — Fishermen harvested nearly 533,000 salmon in Cook Inlet personal-use fisheries last year and the Kasilof River saw its highest sockeye salmon harvest to date.
Personal use fishing was established by Alaska’s Board of Fisheries as a means of complying with federal subsistence requirements. It allows Alaskans to take certain types of finfish, shellfish or aquatic plants for use as food for themselves or their immediate families.
According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game data, both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers have continued to see heavy use. Both are located on the road system on the Kenai Peninsula, about 15 miles apart and about 160 miles south of Anchorage.
While personal use fishermen can harvest multiple species of salmon on the two rivers, sockeye salmon typically make up the majority of their take. On the Kasilof River, anglers dipnetted more than 89,000, while on the Kenai River, they took nearly 378,000.
More than 34,920 permits were issued in 2015, according to Fish and Game data. While the vast majority of the dipnet fishing effort occurs on the Kenai River, the Kasilof River has become increasingly popular.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has received more than $2.8 million in funding from the state Legislature for site improvements. They’ve proposed adding more parking, an access road, portable toilets and dune fencing to the area.