The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Soldotna) – Kenai River anglers are advised that, in an effort to continue protection of late-run king salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m., Saturday, August 1 through 11:59 p.m., Saturday, August 15, 2020. Anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in these waters. “single-hook” means a fishhook with only one point.
Anglers are reminded that king salmon fishing is closed starting August 1, including catch-and-release fishing. Incidentally caught king salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Anglers should exercise good angling practices by avoiding fishing for coho salmon in areas of the river where king salmon are concentrated and to cut leaders or lines to avoid stressing incidentally hooked king salmon.
Through July 27, 2020, approximately 6,019 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork and longer have passed the river mile 13.7 king salmon sonar. Inseason projections indicate the run would have to be more than 4 days late to achieve the OEG. Therefore, these measures are warranted to continue to conserve late-run Kenai River king salmon needed for escapement.
“The 2020 Kenai River king salmon late-run is not currently projecting to achieve the escapement goal and it is warranted to restrict the use of bait and multiple hooks in order to reduce mortality of incidentally caught king salmon. On average 35% of the run passes the sonar during the first two weeks of August,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka.
Restrictive actions to reduce harvest of Kenai River king salmon are being taken in the commercial fishery as well.
For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368 or Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 267-2415.