Forecast shows both Kenai king runs within escapement goals

This June 2016 photo shows a king salmon caught in a personal-use set gillnet on the beach north of the mouth of the Kasilof River near Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion) In this July 24, 2016 file photo, a guide boat motors upstream on the Kenai River near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Rashah McChesney, file)

The early and late runs of Kenai River king salmon are projected to be within the escapement goals for 2018, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s forecasts.

The forecasts, released Monday, estimate 5,499 large kings in the early run — defined as king salmon that enter the river before June 30 — and 21,503 kings in the late run. Both are within their optimum escapement goals, though significantly lower than the actual run numbers observed in 2017. Because they’re within the escapement goals, both runs will open under general fishing regulations, according to the announcement.

The projection for the early run falls close to the mid-point of the optimum escapement goal of 3,900–6,600 king salmon larger than 34 inches, a counting change Fish and Game implemented in 2017. Though the fishery management plan states that if the projection is within the escapement goal, the fishery will open with general regulations, managers can change the rules based on in-season data by emergency order, depending on how many fish actually show up.

The late run is also around the midpoint of the optimum escapement goal of 13,500–27,000 large kings. The late run starts after July 1 each year.

Both projections are less than the total runs counted in 2017. Final counts showed 6,561 large kings in the early run final escapement. Managers estimated a total of 7,500 kings entered the river, more than the preseason forecast of 6,500, according to Fish and Game’s final inseason run summary for early run Kenai River kings. Managers estimated that approximately 28,000 large kings returned in the late run, below the preseason forecast of 33,000 fish but still within the escapement goals.

Both runs were significantly greater than in the past five years, and fishermen were allowed to retain king salmon throughout both seasons.

King salmon projections and regulations hold implications for the inriver sportfishery as well as the commercial set gillnet fishery along the eastern side of Cook Inlet. When managers restrict the gear and harvest rules for sportfishing for king salmon, setnetters are not allowed to fish as many hours as they would under regular conditions.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Customers pick out plants during the Central Peninsula Garden Club’s annual plant sale at Peninsula Grace Brethren Church on Kalifornsky Beach Road on Saturday, June 9, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The annual plant sale is always popular — this year, volunteers said that there was a massive crowd gathered even before the sale opened at 10 a.m., nearly clearing out the tables in less than two hours. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Shop Talk: Central Peninsula Garden Club begins new year of monthly programs

Since 2007, the Central Peninsula Garden Club has been educating and connecting… Continue reading

Karen Porter, a member of the Fireweed Fiber Guild, prepares some fibers while spinning yarn with other guild members Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 at the 2017 Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. The guild will host the Fireweed FiberFest on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30, 2018 at the Soldotna Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Fireweed Guild weaves together festival

Local fiber enthusiasts are getting their shears and crafting tools ready for… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula College Around Campus for the week of Sept. 24, 2018

KPC’s Kachemak Bay Campus Semester by the Bay program participates in federal… Continue reading

School News for the week of Sept. 24, 2018

Soldotna High School The afterschool tutoring buses will start running on 8/28.… Continue reading

Community rallies around Nikiski firefighter Doss

Nikiski firefighter Levi Doss may still be battling cancer, but his family… Continue reading

Soldotna Community Schools Program begins this month

The opportunity to learn how to sew fur, master the fundamentals of… Continue reading

Brian Olson leads a meeting for the Borough Residents Against Annexation group on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2018, near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough Residents Against Annexation meet to address updates, elect new officials

Borough Residents Against Annexation group met Thursday night to update attendees on… Continue reading

Road work continues through October

By KAT SORENSEN Peninsula Clarion Summer traffic may be gone, but construction… Continue reading

Most Read