The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
The 2017 Kenai River early-run king salmon preseason projection is for 6,500 large (> 34 inches) king salmon. This projection falls within the optimal escapement goal (OEG) of 3,900 to 6,600 large king salmon. In February, the Alaska Board of Fisheries amended 5 AAC 57.160 Kenai River and Kasilof River Early-run King Salmon Management Plan such that if the Kenai River early run king salmon preseason projection falls within or above the OEG, the early-run king salmon sport fishery may start under general regulations for the Kenai River (5 AAC 57.120) until an inseason projection is available (see below).
Kenai River king salmon sport angling regulations for January 1 through June 30, 2017 in Kenai River waters below Skilak Lake are as follows:
- Bait is prohibited, and only one single–hook, artificial lure may be used.
- The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is one king salmon. Only king salmon 36 inches or less may be retained. King salmon greater than 36 inches in length may not be removed from the water and must be released.
- There is a five fish annual limit for king salmon over 20 inches from all Cook Inlet Drainage waters in combination, which includes only two fish per year over 20 inches can come from the Kenai River, except fish under 28 inches in length caught in the Kenai River prior to July 1 do not count towards the annual limit. All harvested fish that count towards an annual limit must be recorded on a harvest record or your license.
- The bag and possession limit for king salmon less than 20 inches (jacks), is ten fish.
Regulations may be liberalized or restricted inseason by emergency order if subsequent inseason projections, based on the sonar counts at river mile 14, suggest that the king salmon OEG may not be achieved. Sufficient inseason information is typically available by ~ June 15. Regardless of projected run size during the early or late king salmon runs, possible liberalizations to the king salmon sport fishery through July 31, can only occur below Slikok Creek (5 AAC 57.160).
Pick up a 2017 regulation booklet or see below web site for more information