King Fishing Set To Open On Unalakleet River Drainage (Updated)

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

The Division of Sport Fish is opening all waters of the Unalakleet River drainage to sport fishing for king salmon effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, 2019. In all waters of the Unalakleet River drainage the bag and possession limit is two fish, of which only one fish may be 20 inches or greater in length. The annual harvest limit is two fish greater than 20 inches. In addition, the use of bait is allowed. Anglers are reminded to record their harvest on the back of their sport fishing license or a harvest record card for those individuals with a permanent license (PID) or resident youth under the age of 18 or nonresident youth under the age of 16.

Daily escapement counts of king salmon at the North River tower on the Unalakleet River have increased recently, and the midpoint of the Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) of 1,900 fish is projected to be exceeded. According to the Subdistricts 5 and 6 of the Norton Sound District and the Unalakleet River King Salmon Management Plan, when the subsistence fishery in the Unalakleet River drainage is opened to at least two 36-hour periods per week, and the subsistence fishery in the marine waters of Subdistricts 5 and 6 is opened to at least two 48-hour per week, the sport fishery may be open.

The department does not have reliable inseason stock assessment information for the Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages, and therefore the closure of sport fishing for king salmon and the prohibition of bait in these rivers will remain in effect. The prohibition of bait while sport fishing should minimize catch-and-release mortality for king salmon incidentally caught while sport fishing for other species.



Kenai River Above Slikok Creek Reopens to Fishing for Early-Run King Salmon Less than 36 Inches in Length

(Soldotna) – Sport fishing for king salmon in the Kenai River from an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream of the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake will reopen to the retention of king salmon under general regulations effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 4 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Please review the Lower Kenai River General Regulations on page 50 of the 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Anglers may keep one king salmon less than 36 inches in length per day and cannot have more than one king salmon in possession. Sport fishing gear is limited to one, unbaited, single-hook, artificial fly or lure.

Anglers are reminded that from Monday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 31, 2019, retention of king salmon of all sizes is allowed from the mouth of the Kenai River upstream to the ADF&G regulatory marker approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek, but the use of bait and multiple hooks is prohibited by Emergency Order 2-KS-1-23-19 issued on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

As of June 30, 2019, the 2019 escapement estimate for early-run Kenai River king salmon is approximately 4,186 fish, which is within the optimal escapement range of 3,900 – 6,600 large (greater than 34 inches) king salmon. Allowing a limited harvest of king salmon under 36 inches in total length in the middle Kenai River is consistent with the Board of Fisheries adopted management plan and will not prevent achievement of the escapement goal. ADF&G has now moved into assessment of the Kenai River late-run king salmon return as of July 1 and will be closely monitoring this return.