Naknek River’s Sockeye Limits Increasing

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

Naknek River Sockeye Salmon Limits Increased

(Dillingham) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon to ten fish per day and ten fish in possession in all waters of the Naknek River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, 2019. The bag and possession limit for other salmon, except king and sockeye salmon, remains at five fish. These limits are in combination with the more liberal limits for sockeye salmon.

Through July 7, 2019, approximately 1.01 million sockeye salmon have been counted at the Naknek River tower. The run is within the escapement goal of 800,000 – 2,000,000 and increasing projections likely to exceed the escapement goal under normal fishing have been dampened by increased opportunity for the commercial fleet. Therefore, it is justified to liberate sport fishery opportunity for sockeye salmon in the Naknek River.

“This year’s sockeye run is really strong,” stated Assistant Area Management Biologist Lee Borden. “With a solid sockeye return on the Naknek, we are increasing opportunity to harvest additional fish in the sport fishery.”

Nushagak-Mulchatna River Drainage King Salmon Restricted to Catch-and-Release and No Bait

(Dillingham) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing restriction. Retention of king salmon of any size and the use of bait is prohibited in all waters of the Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 10 through the remainder of the king salmon season, which closes at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. King salmon may not be retained or possessed (catch-and-release only). King salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Through July 7, 2019, an estimated 39,829 king salmon have passed the Portage Creek sonar. The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for Nushagak River king salmon is 55,000 – 120,000 fish. Although the current projection of spawning escapement is below desired levels, unusually warm weather and water temperatures have likely delayed the upstream migration of king salmon. Therefore, a cautious approach is warranted.

“This year’s run has fallen well behind desired levels,” stated Area Management Biologist Jason Dye. “In the interest of putting as many king salmon on the spawning grounds as possible, we are limiting the Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainage king salmon fishery to catch-and-release.”

ADF&G will continue to monitor the king salmon escapement and may reopen the sport fishery as specified in the management plan.