Cook Inlet Saltwater King Salmon Fishery Closing

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

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning Kenai River late-run king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release, in all Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.) This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 24 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020.

The Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan includes king salmon sport fishing in Cook Inlet saltwaters north of Bluff Point. The plan specifies that both sport fisheries, king salmon fishing in the Kenai River and king salmon fishing in all Cook Inlet saltwaters must close when the run is projected to be less than 15,000 king salmon greater than 34 inches total length. As of July 21, approximately 4,520 king salmon greater than 34 inches have been counted and the current projection is approximately 12,700 large fish. This run is not expected to achieve the optimal escapement goal range of 15,000-30,000 king salmon greater than 34 inches in length.

“This closure allows late-run Kenai River king salmon to migrate through Cook Inlet saltwaters without being targeted by anglers” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “Anglers will still be able to sport fish for king salmon in lower Cook Inlet since there are no restrictions to the fishery south of Bluff Point, and anglers will also be able to still sport fish north of Bluff Point for other species such as halibut.”

In conjunction with this restriction, Emergency Order 2-KS-1-41-20 closes the Kenai River to king salmon fishing from July 24 through July 31, 2020. Please review the Emergency Orders in their entirety.

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