The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increasing fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions on the Kenai River late-run king salmon fishery effective 12:01 a.m. July 1 through 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, 2018. This sport fishery is restricted to no bait allowed on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek.
This sport fishing regulation restriction is in conjunction with the Kenai River early-run king salmon sport fishing closure issued on June 18, 2018.
“Without restrictions to harvest, the escapement goal for the Kenai River late-run king salmon is not expected to be achieved,” stated Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “Consistent with the management plan, it is warranted to prohibit bait in the sport fishery to achieve the escapement goal and provide reasonable harvest opportunity. The management plan also indicates if bait is prohibited in this sport fishery than the personal use and commercial fishery also experience restrictions. The retention of king salmon is prohibited in the personal use fishery and commercial fishing periods of the Upper Subdistrict, excluding the East forelands, will be open for no more than 48 hours a week.”
In 2018, the king salmon runs throughout Cook Inlet have consistently and significantly underperformed ADF&G preseason expectations resulting in restrictions and closures of inriver and marine sport fisheries. ADF&G will continue to monitor the Kenai River run as it develops and additional actions may be taken depending on the run strength.