Anglers gather along the banks of the Kenai River near Sportsman’s Landing in Cooper Landing in September 2018. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Anglers gather along the banks of the Kenai River near Sportsman’s Landing in Cooper Landing in September 2018. (Peninsula Clarion file)

Russian River sockeye limits double Wednesday

As of Sunday, around 53,000 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir

Sockeye salmon limits on the Russian River and Upper Kenai River will double to six per day and 12 in possession starting Wednesday and until Aug. 20.

The move comes via Emergency Order 2-RS-1-54-23, issued by the State Department of Fish and Game on Monday. An accompanying advisory announcement says that, as of Sunday, around 53,000 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, and the escapement goal of 44,000-85,000 is anticipated to be exceeded.

The affected area of the Kenai River extends from Skilak Lake upstream to department markers around 300 yards upstream of Sportsman’s Landing. On the Russian River, the change is effective from the mouth upstream to a marker around 600 yards downstream of the falls.

In last week’s Northern Kenai Fishing Report, published Thursday, the department wrote that the late run of sockeye salmon had picked up and would continue to improve. At that point, the highest daily count on the river had been 1,600 sockeye. That day, 3,000 salmon would be counted. The next three days’ counts all exceeded 10,000.

“Inseason projections of escapement from the Russian River weir indicate the escapement goal is likely to be exceeded,” Acting Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates said in the announcement. “Increasing the bag and possession limits will allow anglers the opportunity to harvest more fish and fishing is reported as excellent.”

This year’s total count to date, at 53,000, exceeds the counts at the same time in the runs in 2021, 2020 and 2019. It lags behind last year’s count of 61,000.

The Russian River Campground closes early this year, on Aug. 16, for ongoing “major” road construction. The Russian River Ferry will be open through Labor Day weekend, closing Sept. 5.

For more information about fishing regulations and opportunity, visit

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

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