Promising numbers of king salmon returning to the Anchor River have prompted Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers on the lower Kenai Peninsula to raise limits on the number of king salmon that can be kept.
The Ninilchik River and marine waters from the mouth of the river to Bluff Point will allow harvest of up to five king salmon 20-inches or longer. Previously the two water bodies had been restricted to two kings of that size.
Any king salmon recorded before Saturday June 20, on the harvest portion of the Alaska sport fishing license, counts toward the Cook Inlet annual limit.
On the Anchor River, where managers maintain a weir to count fish headed up the river, more the 5,700 king salmon have been counted through June 17, according to fish and game data. The Anchor River’s escapement goal for kings is 3,800-10,000 fish.
Typically, when the Anchor River has a healthy run of king salmon, the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek also have healthy runs, said Homer assistant area management biologist Carol Kerkvliet.
Kerkvliet and managers used observations of angler effort and run strength during the fishery to predict outcome of king salmon runs.
“We expect that those (king) runs will be strong also,” she said.
While Deep Creek and the Anchor River are closed to king salmon fishing for the rest of the season, the Ninilchik River will re-open for hatchery king fishing on July 1. Hatchery kings can be distinguished from wild kings by their missing adipose fin.
Kings caught and kept in the marine waters may be hatchery or wild.
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