Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion   Setnetters in the Kasilof Section of the East Side Setnet Fishery push a boat into shore June 27, 2013.  A judge recently denied a motion of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit over Cook Inlet commercial salmon management that would have required the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to change it's management.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Setnetters in the Kasilof Section of the East Side Setnet Fishery push a boat into shore June 27, 2013. A judge recently denied a motion of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit over Cook Inlet commercial salmon management that would have required the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to change it's management.

Kasilof setnetters to open, some face gear restrictions

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:35pm
  • News

As sockeye salmon continue to slam into the Kasilof River, a portion of the commercial set gillnet fishery will get a chance to intercept salmon in the second largest escapement measured on the river.

The opening is two days earlier than the first regularly scheduled season opening for the Kasilof portion of the set gillnet fishery — however provisions in its management plan allow Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers to open on or after June 20 if more than 50,000 sockeye have entered the Kasilof River.

That goal was met and as of 8 a.m. Sunday. Nearly 82,000 sockeye salmon are estimated to have passed the Kasilof River sonar site, according to Fish and Game data.

Despite having the regulatory authority to fish the setnetters and slow the flow of sockeye into the Kasilof — a river that exceeded its escapement goal by nearly 100,000 fish in 2013 — area management biologist Pat Shields said Fish and Game waited a few days to try and protect early-run king salmon bound for the nearby Kenai River.

The early run of king salmon on the Kenai River was forecasted by Fish and Game to come in an about 2,230 fish — well below the lower end of the river’s escapement goal range of 5,300 – 9,000 fish. Management biologists announced a closure to sportfishing for early run Kenai king salmon in late February — eliminating the already-struggling six-week fishery.

Kenai-bound king salmon can be found mixed in with Kasilof-bound sockeye salmon and some will likely be caught during the Kasilof setnet opening.

However, Fish and Game predictions on the strength of the early run of Kenai king salmon have been exceeded — by Thursday nearly 4,000 king salmon had passed the river’s sonar.

The 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. period should allow setnetters to fish nearly the entirety of Monday’s flood tide. The Kasilof portion of the East Side Setnet fishery spans the beach along the east side of Cook Inlet from Ninilchik to a point about halfway between the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers known as the Blanchard Line.

Recent changes passed during the February meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries will restrict the amount of gear certain setnet operations can use. Setnetters who own and operate two set gillnet permits may operate up to 210 fathoms of year. However, half of that many not be deeper than 29 meshes; a 16 mesh — or about 8-foot — reduction in available mesh depth.

Each set gillnet operated at the new shorter depth must be identified with a blue buoy that is 9.5 inches in diameter or greater, according to a Fish and Game emergency order.

The commercial drift netting fleet will also be opened for a regular 12-hour period Monday, beginning at 7 a.m. Drift fishers will be allowed to fish in the Kasilof Section — an area which was previously closed to driftnetting within 2-miles of shore.

However, driftnetting within one mile of the mean low water mark is closed from the Ninilchik boat harbor entrance to the Anchor Point Light.

While the Kasilof section setnet fishery will likely fish its next regularly scheduled period on Thursday — Shields said it would be a “day-to-day” decision determining if they would be allowed in the water again before that date.

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly looks to mitigate future Lowell Point Road dangers

Assembly members approved legislation supporting agencies working to address the “repetitive hazards”

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Department of Health and Social Services changes may take months

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Most Read