The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Cottonwood and Wasilla Creeks Coho Salmon Sport Fishing Limits and Days Liberalized
Effective 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2017, the Department of Fish and Game is increasing the sport fishing bag and possession limit for coho salmon, to four fish, in waters open to salmon fishing on Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks. In addition, fishing will be allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays at Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day.
The coho salmon limit is combined with the bag and possession limit of sockeye, chum, and pink salmon. After taking a bag limit of salmon in any of these waters, a person may not sport fish that same day in any water open to salmon fishing.
Bait and multiple hooks (meaning no more than two single hooks or two treble hooks per line) will be permitted in these fisheries.
The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for coho salmon in Fish Creek is 1,200-4,400 fish. As of August 22, 2017, weir counts indicate approximately 4,720 coho salmon have passed the weir and the SEG has been exceeded. Based upon previous studies, there is a correlation in run size between runs to Fish Creek and runs to other Knik Arm streams, specifically Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks. A recent staff survey of lower Wasilla Creek indicates an above average run for that system is likely to occur as predicted by the correlation.
The Jim Creek coho salmon run is managed separately to achieve the escapement goal established for that system. Jim Creek and the stocked terminal fishery at the Eklutna Tailrace are unaffected by this emergency order.
Little Susitna River Bait Restriction Lifted
Effective 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, September 30, 2017, anglers will be allowed to use bait in the Little Susitna River from its mouth upstream to the Parks Highway.
The Little Susitna River coho salmon sustainable escapement goal (SEG) is 10,100-17,700 fish. An emergency order effective August 6, 2017, prohibiting bait on the Little Susitna River was issued to slow the rate of harvest, while the run continued to be assessed. In general, the coho salmon run to Cook Inlet is late and low water conditions through much of the season have likely exacerbated the late run timing to area streams. Daily weir counts have recently increased and the cumulative escapement as of Wednesday morning, August 23, is approximately 9,435 coho salmon and the SEG is projected to be met.