Bait Now Prohibited At Ninilchik River

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

Use of Bait Prohibited 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 prohibiting the use of bait in the Ninilchik River starting 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 11 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2022. All other preseason regulations outlined on page 71 of the 2022 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet remain in effect. This includes the Ninilchik River being closed on June 14 and June 15 to all fishing, only one, single-hook artificial lure or fly is allowed on the days the river is open to fishing, and bag and possession limits of two hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length, bag and possession limits of 10 hatchery king salmon less than 20 inches in length. In addition, you must stop fishing in the Ninilchik River for the remainder of the day after harvesting two hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length. Also, any hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length harvested in the Ninilchik River are part of the Cook Inlet king salmon annual limit of five. Anglers must record the harvest of king salmon 20 inches or greater on their sport fishing license, mobile app, or on a harvest card.

As of June 6, 2022, a total of 117 naturally-produced king salmon had been counted in at lower Ninilchik River weir. Based on the 2019–2021 Ninilchik River naturally-produced king salmon run timing, the 2022 escapement is projected to be around 500 king salmon. Approximately 1,100 naturally-produced king salmon are needed at this weir to achieve the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 750-1,300 and broodstock collection goal for stocking the Ninilchik River in 2023. Only naturally-produced king salmon can be used as broodstock for stocking the Ninilchik River.

“Unfortunately, the Ninilchik River king salmon run is off to a slow start for both wild and hatchery fish,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “Prohibiting the use of bait will reduce the catch of wild fish while still providing anglers an opportunity to fish for hatchery fish. Anglers are encouraged to harvest hatchery fish and use best practices when catching and releasing wild fish.”

In conjunction with this closure, Emergency Order 2-KS-7-24-22 closes the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through Friday, July 15, 2022.

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