King Salmon Restriction Announcements For Various Regions

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

King Salmon Restrictions in the Cook Inlet Saltwaters

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reducing the annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish in the Cook Inlet saltwaters North of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.). This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

“Given the uncertainties of the 2020 king salmon run strength of nearby Cook Inlet stocks, ADF&G is managing this fishery conservatively from the beginning,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “We are hopeful that this annual limit will minimize shifting effort due to restrictions on other Cook Inlet freshwater king salmon fisheries. There are no restrictions to the summer saltwater fishery south of Bluff Point, which is mostly composed of nonlocal feeder king salmon stocks.”

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-7-06-20 restricts fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages from May 16-June 30, 2020. In addition, emergency order 2-KS-7-07-20 restricts the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River drainage to one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length during the Memorial Day weekend (May 23-May 25), and the following two weekends and Mondays following each weekend, (May 30-June 1 and June 6-June 8). Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

King salmon escapement monitoring will begin in May using sonar and underwater video on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. As the runs progress, run strength will be evaluated to determine future management actions.

For more information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.

King Salmon Restrictions in the Susitna River Drainages

(Palmer) – To protect returning king salmon and ensure fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulations for Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage effective 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 13, 2020. King salmon fishing is closed in Unit 2 of the Susitna River drainage. Any king salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, sport fishing for king salmon in Units 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Susitna River drainages are restricted to catch-and-release. Sport fishing gear is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in all waters of the Susitna River drainage. A single-hook is defined as a hook with only one point.

During this fishery restriction, fishing for other species remains open seven days per week This includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed on certain days during the king salmon season. For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2020 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

“In 2019, certain king salmon stocks of the Mat-Su showed improvement over the poor runs previously experienced in 2017 and 2018, because of this upward trend we are providing anglers a catch-and-release fishing opportunity from the outset of the season,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “That includes the Deshka River, Yentna River and some areas of the Susitna drainage that have been closed in recent years, such as minor tributaries of the lower Susitna drainage south of Deshka, Talkeetna River, upper Susitna River streams north of Talkeetna, and the tributaries of the Chulitna River. Unfortunately, the Eastside Susitna king salmon stock of Unit 2 did not show improvement and will remain closed again this season.”

According to 5 AAC 21.366 Northern District King Salmon Management Plan, which was modified at the 2020 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, if the Deshka River king salmon sport fishery is restricted to catch-and-release fishing, fishing periods in the directed king salmon commercial fishery shall be limited to no more than 6 hours in duration. Because the Chuitna River king salmon sport fishery remains closed, those waters of the Northern District from the wood chip dock to the Susitna River will remained closed during the directed king salmon commercial fishery.

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-2-09-20 restricts fishing for king salmon in the Little Susitna River to catch-and-release and sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

This management strategy is designed to provide sport fishing opportunities where possible and achieve king salmon escapement goals during 2020. Weirs on the Deshka and Little Susitna rivers will be used to gauge run strength inseason.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.

Little Susitna River King Salmon Restricted to Catch-and-Release

(Palmer) – To protect returning king salmon and ensure fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation for the Little Susitna River drainage effective 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 13, 2020. Sport fishing for king salmon is restricted to catch-and-release in the Little Susitna River drainage from its mouth upstream to the Parks Highway. In addition, sport fishing gear is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. A single-hook is defined as a hook with only one point. King salmon caught, must be released immediately. A person may not remove a king salmon from the water before releasing the fish.

“Like other Cook Inlet king salmon stocks, the Little Susitna River have been experiencing a period of low returns,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “Therefore, the Little Susitna River will be managed conservatively give uncertainties of the 2020 king salmon run strength.”

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-2-08-20 Unit 2 of the Susitna River is closed to fishing for king salmon and fishing for king salmon in Units 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Susitna River drainages are restricted to catch-and-release. Sport fishing gear is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in all waters of the Susitna River drainage. Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

This management strategy is designed to provide sport fishing opportunity on the Little Susitna River and achieve the king salmon escapement goal during 2020. A weir on the Little Susitna River will be used to gauge run strength inseason.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.

Anglers May Only Retain Hatchery King Salmon in the Ninilchik River

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing restrictions for king salmon in the Ninilchik River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 23 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 15, 2020. The king salmon bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River is limited to only hatchery king salmon. Hatchery king salmon are recognized by a missing adipose fin and healed adipose fin-clip scar. All naturally-produced or wild king salmon have an adipose fin, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

The bag and possession limits for anglers is one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and 10 hatchery king salmon under 20 inches. Anglers may fish for king salmon on the Ninilchik River during the Memorial Day weekend (May 23-May 25, 2020), and the following two weekends and Mondays following each weekend, (May 30-June 1 and June 6-June 8). These regulation restrictions also affect the Wednesday, June 3 Ninilchik Youth-Only Fishery. During the Youth-Only Fishery, the bag and possession limit is one hatchery king salmon of any size. There are currently no restrictions on the hatchery-only king salmon fishery in the Ninilchik River that begins on June 16.

“The Ninilchik River and other Lower Cook Inlet streams continue to be managed conservatively,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “The Ninilchik River provides some additional fishing opportunity because it is stocked annually with hatchery-reared king salmon. Restricting the harvest to hatchery-reared king salmon increases the likelihood of meeting the wild king salmon escapement goal, while also collecting wild broodstock to re-stock the Ninilchik River.”

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-7-05-20 reduces the annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish in the Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point from April 1-July 15, 2020. In addition, emergency order 2-KS-7-06-20 restricts fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages from May 16–June 30. Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

King salmon escapement monitoring will begin in May using sonar and underwater video on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. As the runs progress, run strength will be evaluated to determine future management actions.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.

Gear Restrictions for the Anchor River and Deep Creek

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing restrictions in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 16 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Sport fishing gear is restricted to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure during the king salmon season. Single-hook means a fishhook with only one point.

“Restricting the gear will likely reduce the harvest of king salmon, but still provides anglers the opportunity to fish for king salmon in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “Given the uncertainty of the 2020 king salmon run strength, this allows the streams to stay open to fishing until escapement monitoring gives us a better idea of run size.”

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-7-05-20 reduces the annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish in the Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point from April 1–July 15, 2020. In addition, emergency order 2-KS-7-07-20 restricts the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River drainage to one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length during the Memorial Day weekend (May 23–May 25, 2020), and the following two weekends and Mondays following each weekend, (May 30–June 1 and June 6–June 8). Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

King salmon escapement monitoring will begin in May using sonar and underwater video on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. As the runs progress, run strength will be evaluated to determine future management actions.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.

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