Sockeye salmon are returning in full force.
Anglers from the Russian River to Resurrection Bay are enjoying a large return of sockeye salmon and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are responding accordingly.
As of Wednesday, the bag limit on the Russian River and Upper Kenai will become nine fish per day with 18 fish in possession. This Fish and Game emergency order will be in effect until July 7.
“It is exciting to see the number of sockeye salmon that have passed through the Russian River weir and been observed inriver,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka in a press release. “Increasing the (limits) will allow anglers to hit the river and harvest some fresh sockeye.”
As of June 17, 50,641 sockeye have been counted at the Russian River weir for the early sockeye run. In comparison, last year on June 17, only 7,759 sockeyes were counted at the same weir.
These numbers already exceed the early-run Russian River sockeye salmon escapement goal of 22,000 to 42,000.
“The Russian River and the Upper Kenai are absolutely amazing right now,” said angler Shelby Harris. “It’s everything I’ve dreamed of.”
Harris fished the Upper Kenai this past weekend, leaving the river with her limit of fish.
According to Fish and Game, the fishing will continue to be good to excellent at the Upper Kenai, Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary Area, which was opened by emergency order early last week.
“We opened the waters of the sanctuary and increased the bag limit from three to six last week and sockeye salmon keep pouring into the Russian River,” said Lipka in a press release. “With these numbers, it is appropriate to increase the limits and allow anglers an opportunity to harvest more sockeye salmon.”
Anglers should remember, though, that if a Russian River angler has more than six sockeye salmon in possession, they cannot fish in waters with a possession limit of six.
Fish and Game has also doubled the limit for sockeye salmon caught in the the northern salt waters of Resurrection Bay and part of the freshwaters of Resurrection River. The new limit, 12 fish per day and 12 in possession, is effective as of last week.
For those not looking to drive to the Russian River or Upper Kenai, sockeye fishing on the Lower Kenai River is also good, according to Fish and Game, with anglers catching limits within a few hours.
King salmon fishing on the Lower Kenai continues to be slow with turbid water conditions. There is good king salmon fishing further south on the Kasilof River, though, and it is expected to improve over the next week or two.
When it comes to trout fishing, the middle Kenai River is seeing good rainbow trout. Sport Lake has also been producing nice-sized rainbow trout.
Fish and Game recommends fishing with wet or dry flies, like egg sucking leech, bead head nymph or mosquito pattern, small spoons and spinners size 0 or 2 or some small bait under a bobber.
Elephant Lake, also known as Spirit Lake, was stocked on Monday, June 17 with 5,000 catchable Arctic char.