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ADFG Shuts Down Kenai River To Early-Run King Fishing

Kenai River photo by USFWS

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

Kenai River Closed to Sport Fishing for Early Run King Salmon

(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 closure for the Kenai River drainage area effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 20 through 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 31, 2018:

June 20 – June 30, 2018
Anglers may not fish for king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake.

July 1 – July 31, 2018:
Anglers may not fish for king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from that portion of the Kenai River from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake.

This sport fishing regulation closure supersedes the Kenai River king salmon limited to catch-and-release only restriction issued on June 11, 2018.

“As of June 17, 2018, an estimated 2,116 large king salmon have past the River Mile 13.7 king salmon sonar. This closure is not an easy decision; however, even after prohibiting harvest of king salmon in the fishery last week, we are not projecting to meet the escapement goal and need to take this next step,” stated Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “King salmon stocks throughout Cook Inlet, including the Kenai River runs, are experiencing a period of low productivity and the restrictions and closures are being felt across the state.”

The optimal escapement goal (OEG) for early-run Kenai River king salmon is 3,900 to 6,600 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork length and longer. The inseason inriver run projection ranges from approximately 3,095 large king salmon based upon average run timing to approximately 3,609 large king salmon based upon a run timing of three days late.

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sporting Fishing

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by opening the Russian River Sanctuary area early for anglers to sport fish for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 19, 2018, through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 14, 2018. Please review the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Confluence area map (Area B) on page 60 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

The following sockeye salmon regulations apply for the Russian River Sanctuary area:

June 19 – July 14, 2018:

  • o Sockeye salmon
    • ? 16 inches or greater in length; 3 per day, 6 in possession
    • ? Less than 16 inches in length, 10 per day, 10 in possession

July 15 – August 20, 2018:

  • o fly-fishing-only waters
  • o Sockeye or coho salmon
    • ? 16 inches or longer, 3 per day 6 in possession in combination, of which only 1 per day, 1 in possession may be a coho salmon
    • ? Less than 16 inches in length, 10 per day, 10 in possession;

Anglers are reminded, after August 20, 2018, the retention of sockeye salmon is prohibited in this area.

Through Sunday, June 17, 2018, approximately 7,759 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir. Average run timing to this date is 15%. ADF&G estimates that the early-run sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000-42,000 sockeye salmon will be met.

Sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River area will likely remain good to excellent for the next several days. Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the clear waters of the Russian River. In addition, if you intend to clean your catch at the river, please take your fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended. Please respect the riverbank restoration projects and stay on the established pathways in the Sanctuary, campground, and Russian River ferry areas.

Sport Fishing Closed In Bear Cove

Beginning Wednesday, June 20, at 12:01 a.m. through Tuesday, July 31st 2018; Bear Cove near Medvejie Hatchery is closed to sport fishing. The closure includes all waters of Bear Cove east of a line from a point on the Baranof Island shoreline at 57°00.63′ N. latitude, 135°09.80′ W. longitude to a point on the Baranof Island Shoreline at 57°01.07′ N. latitude, 135°09.93′ W. longitude; (see below map),

King salmon returning to Medvejie Hatchery are not expected to meet the broodstock goal of 4,500 fish in 2018 due to expected harvest and low marine survival. This closure is necessary to provide sufficient numbers of king salmon to meet broodstock needs.

For further information, contact the Sitka ADF&G office or visit: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishregulations.se_sportfish

SPORT FISHING CLOSED IN BEAR COVE

Palmer Resident Wins Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo With 132-Pounder

 

Palmer’s Jordan Thomas with his Halibut Hullabaloo-winning 132-pounder. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following press release is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies: 

VALDEZ, Alaska – And the winner of the Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo is Jordan Thomas of Palmer, AK with a 132 pound halibut caught aboard the Jaime Lynn on 6/9/18. The Halibut Hullabaloo is a 10 day tournament within the Valdez Halibut Derby. There are no additional rules or tickets to buy. The person catching the largest fish within the 10 day window wins a $1,000 cash prizes in addition to other prizes in the regular derby.

Last year, it was Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks who won the Halibut Hullabaloo and he won it with a 266.6 pound halibut. Stadtmiller’s fish held the lead in the overall derby from June 19th through August 5th. On August 6th, Frieda Wiley of Valdez reeled in a 374.0 pound halibut to win the derby and set a record for the largest halibut ever caught in the Valdez Halibut Derby. The Halibut Hullabaloo winner isn’t always a huge fish. In the 2016 Valdez Halibut Derby, it was Jeff Leaverton of Madisonville, Louisiana who picked up a 174.4 pound halibut.

According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut angling continues to be productive throughout Prince William Sound. The Lingcod season will be open July 1st and rockfish angling has been quite productive with small jigs near rocky reefs.

Those looking to dip net in the Copper River will have to put their plans on hold as the Copper River personal use dip net salmon fishing is closed until further notice. The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction of the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports the 2018 sockeye salmon run to the Copper River appears to be much weaker than expected and is the 8th lowest count for this date since 1978. As of June 12, a total of 178,693 salmon were counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this date was 276,899 salmon, which is 98,206 salmon or 35% fewer than expected. According to ADF&G, daily sonar counts continue to lag behind projected passage and it is unlikely that the lower bound Copper River sockeye salmon escapement goal would be achieved without closing the personal use fishery.

The department will continue to monitor the run closely, and if sonar passage improves, they say they may reopen the fishery if the escapement goal will be achieved and surplus salmon are available for harvest. Regardless of sonar passage, the Chitina Sub district personal use fishery will reopen by regulation beginning September 1st.

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Clayson Wiley             North Pole, AK                        148.4 lbs.         May 26                        Dan Orion

2nd        Jordan Thomas            Palmer, AK                  132.0 lbs.         June 9              Jamie Lynn

3rd        Jim Beach                    Palmer, AK                  119.6 lbs.         May 30                        Jamie Lynn

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4

1st        Landi Beck                  Valdez, AK                  99.0 lbs.           June 14            Private Boat

2nd        Jack Wyatt                   Wasilla, AK                 97.0 lbs.           June 14            Jaime Lynn

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

 

Black Bear Cub Euthanized After Getting Caught In Illegal Trap

Alaska State Troopers charged a Juneau man after his trap was illegally left open, which trapped a black bear cub on Douglas Island. Wildlife troopers had to euthanize the animal.

Here’s more from KTVA:

Mark Mitchell, 39, was issued a court summons on one count of attempting to trap wolves during a closed season, according to a trooper dispatch.

The case is connected to snares troopers say Mitchell left near Ready Bouillon Creek on Douglas Island near Juneau, an area where the wolf trapping season ends on April 30. On May 29, Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff told troopers one of those snares had caught a black bear cub.

“[Fish and Game] had responded and determined that the bear had suffered extensive injuries as a result of the snare and needed to be euthanized,” troopers wrote.

Here’s a photo taken by troopers of the trapped bear.

Among the penalties Mitchell is facing is the revoking of his hunting privileges until November due to a previous violation.  Here’s the full dispatch from AST:

Text: On 5/29/18, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Juneau Post, received a report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) that a Black Bear cub had been caught in a snare near Ready Bouillon Creek on Douglas Island.  ADF&G had responded and determined that the bear had suffered extensive injuries as a result of the snare and needed to be euthanized. 

Investigation revealed that the snares had been placed there earlier in the year by Mark Mitchell, age 39 of Juneau, with the intent of trapping/snaring wolves. Further investigation revealed that the snares had been left out and in an active condition after the wolf trapping season had closed for that particular area on 4/30/18.  Mitchell was contacted on 6/13/18 and issued a criminal summons for 1 count of attempting to trap wolves during a closed season.  Mitchell’s hunting privileges are currently revoked until November of 2018 for previous hunting violations. Mitchell has a mandatory court appearance in the District Court at Juneau on 6/21/18 at 1100 hours.

 

 

 

Resurrection Bay Freshwater Sockeye Salmon Bag Limits Increased

 

Resurrection Bay photo by Dave LaForest/Wikimedia

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

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon in the Resurrection Bay drainage specifically in fresh waters downstream from the Seward Highway and downstream from Nash Road to the saltwater markers from three to six fish. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 16 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Snagging is not allowed in freshwater. Only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures or flies are allowed in this freshwater area open to salmon fishing. Anglers are reminded that to look for the saltwater markers that separate the fresh and saltwater fishing zones in the Resurrection River. Please see page 77 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet for clarification.

As of June 12, 2018, more than 10,100 sockeye salmon have passed the Bear Creek weir, with large numbers of sockeye salmon still entering the river. Bear Lake sockeye salmon has a sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 700-8,300 and is managed to escape 5,152-12,752 sockeye salmon, which meets both the SEG and hatchery broodstock requirements. The upper end of the SEG is expected to be exceeded and the inriver goal will be met or exceeded which warrants the bag and possession limit liberalization.

“As both the SEG and the hatchery brood needs are expected to be exceeded, this liberalization on the Resurrection Bay fresh water sockeye salmon fishery will allow sport anglers an opportunity to harvest the surplus sockeye salmon returning to Bear Lake,” stated Area Management Biologist Jay Baumer.

Anglers are reminded that commercial fishing will also be occurring in Resurrection Bay over the next few weeks. For additional information on commercial fishing periods, please visit the ADF&G Commercial Salmon Fisheries webpage.

For additional information, please contact the Anchorage Sport Fish Information Center at (907) 267-2218.

 

 

Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishing Shut Down

Copper River dipnetting for salmon is shutting down. File photo by AK Expeditions.

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

The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction of the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts.

The 2018 sockeye salmon run to the Copper River appears to be much weaker than expected and is the 8th lowest count for this date since 1978. As of June 12, a total of 178,693 salmon were counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this date was 276,899 salmon, which is 98,206 salmon or 35% fewer than expected. Daily sonar counts continue to lag behind projected passage and it is unlikely that the lower bound Copper River sockeye salmon escapement goal would be achieved without closing the personal use fishery. As a result, the Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net salmon fishery will be closed until further notice.

The department will continue to monitor the run closely, and if sonar passage improves, may reopen the fishery if the escapement goal will be achieved and surplus salmon are available for harvest. Regardless of sonar passage, the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery will reopen by regulation beginning September 1.

The Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence fishery is not restricted at this time. Please be advised that households may acquire either a Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net permit or a Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence permit, but may not have both in a single year. Residents who have already purchased a Chitina Subdistrict personal use permit and have not fished it, may exchange the permit for a Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence permit only within 3 calendar days of the original permit purchase. Since the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery is open by regulation beginning September 1 and the fishery may still be reopened if sonar passage improves, those permits do not qualify for a refund .

Information regarding the fishery can be found at the ADF&G web site: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=PersonalUsebyAreaInteriorChitina.main. This site provides information regarding the Upper Copper River fisheries including: fishery descriptions and summaries, maps of the subdistricts, a listing of vendors that carry the permits, and links to the sonar numbers and fishing schedule emergency orders.

Any changes on the status of this fishery will be announced on the Chitina Fishery information line at 822-5224 (Glennallen), 459-7382 (Fairbanks), and 267-2511 (Anchorage). Please contact an information phone line prior to planning your trip to Chitina to ensure that the fishery will be open when you arrive.

Upper Copper River Sockeye Salmon Sport Fishery Closed Until Further Notice

All sockeye salmon sport fisheries in the Upper Copper River Drainage, upstream of the south bank of Haley Creek, will be closed until further notice effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 18.

As of June 12, a total of 178,693 salmon were counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this date was 276,899 salmon, which is 98,206 salmon or 35% fewer than expected. Daily sonar counts continue to lag behind projected passage and it is unlikely that the lower bound Copper River sockeye salmon escapement goal would be achieved without closing the sport fishery. As a result, the Upper Copper River drainage sockeye salmon sport fisheries will be closed until further notice.

The department will continue to monitor the run closely, and if sonar passage improves, may reopen the fishery if the escapement goal will be achieved and surplus salmon are available for harvest.

Little Susitna River Closed For Retention Of King Salmon

Little Susitna River photo by Wikimedia user “Jim”

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

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is prohibiting the retention of king salmon on the Little Susitna River drainage from its mouth upstream to the Parks Highway effective 6:00 a.m. Friday, June 15 through 11:00 p.m. Friday, July 13, 2018. This sport fishery is restricted to catch-and-release only for king salmon. Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used. King salmon may not be retained or possessed.  King salmon caught must be released immediately.  A person may not remove a king salmon from the water before releasing the fish.

As of June 12, 2018, only 70 king salmon have passed the Little Susitna weir and the projected escapement is 532. The escapement goal for the Little Susitna River is 2,100–4,300 king salmon based on counts taken at a weir located at approximately River Mile 32.5 and four miles upstream of the Little Susitna Public Use Facility (LSPUF). An exit survey conducted by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation at the LSPUF indicates a below average harvest. Recent high water may be contributing to below average fishing success and the possibility of lost fish over submerged weir panels. However, video monitoring allows the ability to count fish 24 hours per day; low daily video counts indicate low abundance of king salmon in the river.

“Reports from anglers and ADF&G staff at the weir suggest a low abundance of age five fish, which typically make up about half of a run on any given year,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “A poor return of this age class is being experienced on the Susitna River drainage and in other areas of the state increasing the likelihood the goal may not be achieved without the sport fishery being further restricted.  At this time, it is prudent to further restrict harvest until the run can be more fully assessed and close the Little Susitna River to retention of king salmon.”

ADF&G will continue to monitor the Little Susitna River king salmon run as it develops. If run strength improves to a level that can support harvest, restrictions to the sport fishery may be rescinded. However, total closure of the sport fishery is possible if the run does not improve.

Ketchikan Creek Set To Open For Kings

Ketchikan Creek photo by Wikimedia.

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

Ketchikan Creek will be open to sport fishing for all species, including king salmon, beginning 12:01 a.m. June 14through 11:59 p.m. December 31, 2018. The bag and possession limit for king salmon in Ketchikan Creek is two king salmon of any size. King salmon harvested in Ketchikan Creek do not count towards the nonresident angler’s annual limit.

The bag and possession limit for salmon, other than king salmon, 16 inches or greater in length is two per day in combination, and two in possession. Fishing gear permitted in Ketchikan Creek is one unbaitedsingle-hookartificial lure only.

The Deer Mountain Hatchery will not be collecting brood stock from Ketchikan Creek this year. Therefore, there will be excess king salmon in Ketchikan Creek available for harvest.

Anyone needing additional information should call the Ketchikan ADF&G, Division of Sport Fish office at 225-2859 or visit: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSportFishingInfo.eon

Fairbanks Hosting Family Fishing Day On Saturday

 

Tanana Lakes Recreation Area photo courtesy of Fairbanks North Star Bureau

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

Please join Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Trout Unlimited on Sunday, June 17, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, for Fairbanks Family Fishing Day at Cushman Lake, Tanana Lakes Recreation Area. Be sure to bring your own fishing rods, tackle, and bait.

A limited supply of bait will be available. An extremely limited supply of lender rods will be available on a first-come/first serve basis. Be sure to show up early if you need to borrow a fishing rod.

Prizes will be awarded during event hours in several categories. All anglers may also sign up for their chance to win one of many door prizes. All fish caught will be eligible for an extra ticket in the door prizes drawing.

Youth must be accompanied by an adult.

Cushman lake was stocked with over 4,500 rainbow trout this season. Non-motorized boats, canoes, and rafts may be used on the lake. A Sport Fishing license is required, except for residents under age 18 and non-residents under age 16.

For more information, call Nancy Sisinyak at 907-459-7346

Come out and join the fun!

Alaska Salmon Fishing Regulation Orders In Kenai, Kasilof Rivers

Kenai River photo by Randy King.

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

Early-run King Salmon Sport Fishery Restrictions on the Kasilof River

(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is prohibiting the retention of naturally-produced king salmon, reducing the bag and possession limit of hatchery-produced king salmon 20 inches or greater in length to one fish, and limiting sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure on the Kasilof River. Naturally-produced king salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. A naturally-produced king salmon is a king salmon with an adipose fin intact. These sport fishing restrictions on the Kasilof River are effective 12:01 a.m.Wednesday, June 13 through 11:50 p.m., Saturday, June 30, 2018.

On June 11, 2018, the ADF&G issued a sport fishing regulation restriction prohibiting the retention of early-run, tributary spawning king salmon on the Kenai River drainage. This action will likely result in an increase in the sport fishing effort and catch of king salmon on the Kasilof River. ADF&G manages the Kasilof River king salmon sport fishery to achieve a sustainable escapement goal of 650 to 1,700 naturally-produced king salmon as monitored through a weir located on Crooked Creek.

Production of hatchery-produced king salmon to enhance the Kasilof River early-run king salmon fishery originates from naturally-produced king salmon that are surplus to Crooked Creek escapement needs. In addition, hatchery-produced fish that reach the weir may be used to supplement king salmon stocking programs at other Southcentral Alaska locations; therefore, providing increased harvest opportunity in the Kasilof River early-run king salmon sport fishery as well as other Southcentral Alaska king salmon sport fisheries. ADF&G staff will be closely monitoring this fishery as the season progresses and additional actions may be taken if necessary.

Kenai River King Salmon Limited to Catch-and-Release

(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restriction on the Kenai River effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 13 through 11:59 p.m., Friday, July 15, 2018:

June 13 – June 30, 2018:

Anglers may not harvest a king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake. Anglers may fish for king salmon with one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure but may not remove a king salmon from the water before releasing it.

July 1 – July 15, 2018:

Anglers may not harvest a king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from that portion of the Kenai River from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake Anglers may fish for king salmon with one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure but may not remove a king salmon from the water before releasing it.

“Kenai River king salmon and other king salmon stocks throughout Cook Inlet are experiencing a period of low productivity and, since 2009, a below average run strength,” stated Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “As of June 10, 2018, an estimated 1,609 large king salmon have past the River Mile 13.7 king salmon sonar. Therefore, based upon the current inseason inriver run projections, it is warranted to reduce king salmon mortality until run projections solidify.”

The optimal escapement goal (OEG) for early-run Kenai River king salmon is 3,900 to 6,600 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork length and longer. The inseason inriver run projection ranges from approximately 3,500 large king salmon based upon average run timing to approximately 4,700 large king salmon based upon a run timing of three days late. ADF&G staff will be closely monitoring this fishery as the season progresses and additional actions may be taken if necessary.

 

Coast Guard Searching For Missing Floatplane

The U.S. Coast Guard has been searching for a missing floatplane that left Homer on Saturday with two aboard to scout mountain goats.

Here’s KTVA TV with more:

The Coast Guard has been searching by water and in the air, since around 10 p.m. McClelland said the search is challenging because the plane’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT) never went off. There is no confirmation of water or ground landing, he said. 

“Coast Guard helicopter crews have been searching continuously since last night and we continue to, aided by the Bailey Barco,” said Cmdr. Michael Kahle, search and rescue mission coordinator. “We are also coordinating with multiple partners including the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol to assist us in the search for the missing plane.”