A gear restriction on the Kenai River that limited anglers to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure has been extended through the end of the month, the State Department of Fish and Game announced Tuesday.
The restriction, originally issued by Emergency Order in late July, was set to expire Tuesday night, but will now continue until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31, implemented by new Emergency Order 2-KS-1-58-23.
According to an advisory announcement by the department, the extension is intended “to continue protection of late-run king salmon.”
As of Monday, fish counts available from the department show that around 12,000 king salmon have been counted in the late run this year. The escapement goal for the species is between 15,000 and 30,000.
The release says that inseason projections indicate that the species will fail to meet the escapement goal.
Projections that the species would fail to meet escapement goals led to preseason closures of the king salmon sport fishery and the east side setnet fishery in March, months before the start of their seasons.
“It is necessary to extend the restriction of bait and multiple hooks to reduce mortality of incidentally caught king salmon that spawn throughout the lower and middle river. Coho salmon can be caught on a variety of spoons and lures in the Kenai River,” says Acting Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates in the release.
More information about fish counts, regulations and availability can be found at adfg.alaska.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.