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)

Late-run king fishing set to open to catch and release only

Fishing report for June 29

King sport fishery restrictions are still at the forefront of the North Kenai fishing report, although some fisheries are opening soon.

Kenai River

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery is closed and fishing for king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River is prohibited through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. But, the department of Fish and Game said the late-run Kenai king fishery is set to open at 12:01 a.m. July 1 to catch and release only, from the mouth of the river upstream to the regulatory marker 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek. From this marker upstream to Skilak Lake, however, fishing for kings is prohibited through July 31. Kings can’t be removed from these waters and only one unbaited single-hook artificial lure may be used.

For other species, the department reports OK fishing. Rainbow trout fishing has been fair in the Kenai River, and sockeye fishing has been slow in the lower Kenai. For sockeye, the department recommends fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, Soldotna Visitors Center, Moose Range Meadows, or Soldotna Creek Park.

Kasilof River

The king salmon fishery will remain closed in the Kasilof River through July 15, and the waters from the Sterling Highway Bridge upstream to the outlet of Tustumena Lake will remain closed through July 31.

On July 31, the Kasilof River late-run king salmon fishery will be open to catch and release only, from the mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure may be used.

Russian River

The department reported that sockeye fishing on the Upper Kenai and Russian rivers has been slowing down, although anglers still seem to be catching their limits.

There is a bag limit of six per day with 12 in possession at the Russian River Sanctuary area through July 14, and anglers are reminded that they may only possess their limits for the waters they are actively fishing.

The department also reported the Russian River has been turbid.

Personal Use

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery opened last Saturday, and is open 24 hours per day seven days per week. Only Alaska residents may participate in this fishery, and an Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit is required, in addition to a sport fishing license.

Anglers must also report their Personal Use harvest at https://harvest.adfg.alaska.gov/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term= no later than August 15.

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 — Johnson, Sport, and Island lakes — have been stocked with catchable sized fish, the department reported.

Emergency Orders

Kasilof River

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-30-22 prohibits the retention of king salmon in the Kasilof River effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 15 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2022. Fishing for king salmon of any size, including hatchery-origin fish is prohibited. Effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 16 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022, from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge will be open to catch and release. Waters from the Sterling Highway Bridge upstream to the outlet of Tustumena Lake, 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 16 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022, will remain closed to king salmon fishing and anglers are limited to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure while fishing for other species.

Kenai River and Russian River

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-37-22 increases the bag and possession limits for salmon, other than king salmon, to six fish per day and 12 fish in possession in that area of the Kenai River upstream from Skilak Lake to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing including the Russian River Sanctuary Area, and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 25 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RS-1-35-22 opens the Russian River Sanctuary Area to sport fishing from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 22 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-22-22 supersedes prior Emergency Orders and will prohibit the retention of king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak effective 12:01 am Wednesday, June 8 through 11:59 pm Thursday, June 30. Fishing for king salmon will remain closed from 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022, in waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to 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 accidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Additionally, in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek from 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022, is restricted to the use of only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure, and anglers may not retain king salmon of any size. King salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

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.

Don’t forget to purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp! Purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp through the ADF&G online store and print it off from the comfort of your own home. Also, make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2022 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the area you are fishing in before you head out.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Soldotna Area Office at (907) 262-9368.

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

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