A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)

Kenai River sockeye bag limits to increase Friday

The change is motivated by a strong forecast of sockeye in the late run for the Kenai River

Bag limits for sockeye salmon fishing on the Kenai River will be doubled to six per day and 12 in possession on Friday, the State Department of Fish and Game announced Wednesday.

The liberalization will be in effect from 12:01 a.m. Friday until the end of the year, per Emergency Order 2-RS-1-47-23. The bag limit is effective for the Kenai River from its mouth to a regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake.

According to an advisory announcement by the department, the change is motivated by a strong forecast of sockeye in the late run for the Kenai River. The escapement goal is for between 750,000 and 1.3 million sockeye — the department’s projection is for more than 2.3 million. As of Tuesday, around 256,000 sockeye salmon have been counted by sonar on the Kenai River, exceeding counts at the same time in the last two years.

King salmon still cannot be retained and must not be taken from the water, and the bag limit for coho salmon remains two per day and two in possession.

“In order to provide anglers additional opportunity to harvest late-run sockeye salmon the department has increased the limits for the Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake. Anglers are advised that fish passage into the Kenai River fluctuates daily making some days better fishing than others and that habitat closures protecting riparian areas are in effect through Aug. 15th,” Acting Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates said in the announcement.

More information about fish counts, regulations and availability can be found at adfg.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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