Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion

King fishing still closed; sockeye limits upped

Northern Kenai fishing report

King fishing is still closed in the North Kenai area, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game also increased sockeye limits this week.

Freshwater

Kenai River

The late-run Kenai River king salmon sport fishery is still closed. In these waters, only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure may be used.

Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing in the middle and upper Kenai is fair to good, the department reported.

The Kenai River sockeye salmon fishery has been good to excellent, the department said, and anglers should continue to yield results. As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the bag limits increased to six per day and 12 in possession.

The department recommends fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, Soldotna Visitor Center, Moose Range Meadow or Soldotna Creek Park. Water levels are expected to continue to drop.

Kasilof River

Similarly, the Kasilof River king salmon sport fishery is closed, and only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure may be used while fishing from the mouth of the river upstream to Tustumena Lake.

The sockeye fishing on the Kasilof is also between good and excellent, and anglers are permitted six per day and 12 in possession. The department recommends fishing from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.

Crooked Creek is closed to fishing.

Resurrection Creek

Pink salmon are beginning to arrive at Resurrection Creek in Hope and fishing is projected to improve over the next few weeks.

Russian River

Sockeye fishing on the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers is slow, the department reported, but fishing is supposed to improve over the next few weeks. Limits in the Russian are three per day and six in possession.

Personal Use

The Kenai River dipnet fishery is reported as good to excellent fishing. Anglers may fish between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. Effective at 11 p.m. on Friday, salmon may be harvested 24 hours per day.

The Kasilof River is also reported as being between good and excellent. This fishery is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and was recently expanded by emergency order. Dipnetters can now harvest salmon from the shore ADF&G markers on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge.

On a boat, dipnetters may harvest from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus upstream to markers at approximately River Mile 3 on the Kasilof. In this area, anglers are reminded that retention of king salmon, Dolly Varden or rainbow and steelhead trout is prohibited.

Only Alaska residents may participate in personal use dipnet fisheries, and anglers must have both a valid sport fishing license and Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit.

Local Lakes

Fishing for rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and land-locked salmon in area lakes is between good and excellent, the department said. Anglers are recommended to fish with dry or wet flies such as an egg-sucking leech, bead head nymph or mosquito pattern, small spoons and spinners size zero or two, or small bait under a bobber.

John Hedberg Lake is reportedly yielding “excellent” fishing, and other local lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout and coho salmon fingerling recently, the department reported.

Emergency Orders

Kenai River and Russian River

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-60-22 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, other than king, pink and coho salmon, from three per day and six in possession to six per day and 12 in possession, in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. No more than two salmon, 16 inches or longer, per day and in possession may be coho salmon. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 22 through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-59-22 increases the hours salmon may be taken by dipnet in the personal use fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River. Effective 11 p.m. Friday, July 22 salmon may be harvested by dipnetting 24 hours per day through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-53-22 supersedes prior emergency orders and closes the Kenai River to fishing for king salmon and prohibits the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to ADF&G markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch and release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. These regulatory changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-46-22 prohibits the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery. Any king salmon caught incidentally may not be removed from the water and must be release immediately and returned to the water unharmed. This regulatory change is effective through 11 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Kasilof River

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-54-22 supersedes previous emergency orders and closes king salmon sport fishing in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge to the river mouth from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022. Additionally, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing from the river mouth upstream to the outlet of Tustumena Lake from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch and release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

Emergency order 2-RS-1-45-22 expands the personal use salmon dipnet fishing area on the Kasilof River. Salmon may be harvested from the shore from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Salmon may be harvested from a boat from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches outside the terminus of the river upstream to ADF&G markers placed at approximately River Mile 3. This regulatory change is effective through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, August 7, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-44-22 increases the bag and possession limit for salmon, 16 inches or longer, to six fish per and 12 in possession in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing. No more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon. This regulatory change is effective through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Local Lakes

Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-22 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey, Sevena, Union and Derks lakes for the 2022 season.

Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-22 establishes a bag and possession limit of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish, less than 16 inches in length for the 2022 season.

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

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