The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) reminds Alaska residents the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens on July 10 and continues through July 31, 2018. However, because of anticipated low returns, the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use fishery will be prohibited. Any king salmon caught incidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately, unharmed.
On June 21, 2018, ADF&G issued a regulation restriction prohibiting the use of bait on the Kenai River effective July 1, 2018, from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. Per the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, the retention of king salmon in the personal use fishery is prohibited, if bait is prohibited in the Kenai River sport fishery. Restrictions were also implemented on the commercial fisheries per the management plan.
The 2018 king salmon runs throughout Cook Inlet have consistently and significantly underperformed ADF&G preseason forecasts 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.
Dipnetting on the Kenai River is allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day, from July 10 through July 31, 2018. An Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit and a 2018 Resident Sport Fishing license are required to participate. Only Alaska residents can participate. The Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permits are available at local ADF&G offices, vendors, and on the ADF&G online store. Please review the Kenai River Dipnet Fishery regulations on page 14 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the dipnet areas.