The subsistence rod-and-reel fishery in the Kenai River will be closed this year due to low numbers from the early king salmon run, according to a Friday press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
From Monday, June 15 through Wednesday, July 15, all subsistence rod-and-reel fishing for king salmon on the Kenai River downstream from the outlet of Skilak Lake will be prohibited. King salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately unharmed.
Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game has estimated that only 916 large king salmon have passed the sonar site at River Mile 13.7 through June 11. The current inseason escapement projections range from 1,700 large fish with average run timing to 2,200 large fish with a three-day late run timing.
This projection is well below the Kenai River’s optimal escapement goal of 3,900 to 6,600 large fish. The closure of the subsistence fishery is part of an ongoing effort from state and federal fishery managers to conserve the king salmon population in the Kenai River.
The Kenai River sport fishery downstream of Skilak Lake has already been closed by order of ADF&G through June 30. Upstream from the Slikok Creek regulatory marker the sport fishery is closed through July 31.
More information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program can be found at www.doi.gov/subsistence or by contacting Federal in-season Manager Jeffry Anderson at 907-260-0132.
Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at firstname.lastname@example.org.