Sarah Walters of Seward snags for sockeye salmon in the saltwaters of Resurrection Bay near Seward. Snagging for salmon is only allowed in saltwater. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Sarah Walters of Seward snags for sockeye salmon in the saltwaters of Resurrection Bay near Seward. Snagging for salmon is only allowed in saltwater. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Tight Lines: Fish and Game timid about king fishing

The use of bait on the late-run king salmon fishery will be prohibited starting July 1

King Salmon

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is looking toward the future of Kenai River king salmon fishing and prohibiting the use of bait on the late-run king salmon fishery starting July 1.

“In order to achieve the Kenai River late-run king salmon escapement goal, we are starting the July fishery off without bait,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka in a release. “Based upon the preseason forecast and recent king salmon performance around Cook Inlet, restrictions are warranted in order to meet the escapement goal and still provide fishing opportunity for Kenai River late-run king salmon.”

Bait will be prohibited from the mouth of the Kenai River to the Fish and Game marker about 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. Harvest of king salmon is still allowed in this area, but, until July 31, retention is not allowed from the Slikok Creek marker upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake.

The Kasilof River will also see restrictions starting July 1.

Fish and Game is prohibiting bait and multiple hooks in the Kasilof River drainage through July 31, allowing just one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure with only one point. Anglers may harvest one wild or hatchery king salmon per day and in possession from the mouth of the Kasilof River to the Sterling Highway Bridge.

“It’s important to our staff and anglers that we continue our efforts to protect and rebuild our wild king salmon stocks,” Lipka said in a release. “ADF&G does anticipate an increase in angler effort on the Kasilof River due to late-run king salmon restrictions on the Kenai River.”

Sockeye Salmon

In comparison to the king salmon fishing, the sockeye salmon run continues to be excellent.

The Upper Kenai, Russian River and Russian River sanctuary area are all open to sockeye salmon with liberated bag limits. The Russian River and Upper Kenai River limits will stay at nine fish per day, 18 in possession until July 7.

Sockeye fishing on the Lower Kenai River continues to be good, with anglers putting in a few hours to catch their limits.

Anglers snagging in the saltwaters near Resurrection Bay are still seeing great success but the fishing is slowing down. There has been better luck near the saltwaters of Spring Creek instead of on the flats of the bay. (This particular angler left empty handed from the flats after an hour of snagging with only about six fish being caught in the area). The bag limits in the waters near Seward were increased to 12 fish and anglers are catching those limits with snagging gear after a few hours of fishing.

Dipnetting

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery opened June 25 for Alaska residents. A 2019 sport fishing license and Cook Inlet Personal Use permit are required to participate.

The Kenai River personal use salmon will open on July 10 and ends July 31.

Halibut

Halibut fishing out of Resurrection Bay continues to be good. With an onslaught of good weather and calm seas, boats have been able to get out farther and bring in bigger fish.

The Seward Halibut Tournament ends June 30. Currently, the leading fish weighs in at over 250 pounds, but large fish are being caught daily. For rules and standings, visit halibut.seward.com.

Lakes

Lake fishing across the peninsula has been good. Sport Lake is producing nice-sized rainbow trout and has recently been stocked with 2,000 catchable rainbows.

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