The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Copper River King Salmon Sport Fishery Restricted to Catch-and-Release
(Glennallen) Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 20, all waters of the Copper River drainage, upstream of Haley Creek, will be restricted to catch-and-release fishing for king salmon. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately. Additionally, in all flowing waters of the Upper Copper River drainage, the use of bait is prohibited – only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used.
The Copper River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan directs the department to manage all Copper River fisheries to achieve a sustainable escapement goal of 21,000 to 31,000 king salmon in the Copper River drainage. The 2022 king salmon run to the Copper River appears to be weaker than the preseason forecast of 40,000 king salmon. The inseason inriver abundance estimate, based on Native Village of Eyak fish wheel capture rates at Baird Canyon and fish wheel recapture rates at Canyon Creek, project a final inriver estimate near the lower bound of the king salmon escapement goal that requires restrictions in upriver harvest to achieve the king salmon spawning escapement goal. Additionally, declines in daily king salmon passage at the Miles Lake sonar are consistent with declining capture rates at the NVE Baird Canyon fish wheels. Therefore, prohibiting the retention of king salmon in the sport fishery is justified to achieve the sustainable escapement goal.
The department will continue to evaluate inseason run strength and take appropriate management actions to meet escapement requirements or if justified, provide sport fishing harvest opportunity.