A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai and Kasilof kings limited to catch and release

Kings are passing through the Kenai River at a lower rate than needed to attain the escapement goal.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released new sport fishing king salmon regulations for the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers on Monday.

On the Kenai River, the agency is restricting the king salmon fishery to catch and release only. This takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. on July 31.

According to a press release from ADF&G, kings are passing through the Kenai River at a lower rate than needed to attain the escapement goal. Officials estimate the end of escapement with mean run timing to be 10,778 large fish, which is below the goal. The release reported that the mean quarter point of the run is on July 17 and the midpoint is on July 27.

The agency also stated that only one unbaited, single-hook lure may be used by sport fishing anglers, and the retention of kings is prohibited in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to markers at the outlet of Skilak Lake. Kings of any size may not be kept, possessed or removed from the water. They must be released immediately.

Similarly, ADF&G is restricting king salmon retention on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge to catch and release only, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. on July 31.

Anglers may only use one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure in the Kasilof. Kings aren’t permitted for retention or possession and may not be removed from the water. If caught, they must be released immediately.

For more information, Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka can be reached at 907-262-9386.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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