Hatchery Fish Only For Kasilof River Early King Fishing

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

Kasilof River Early-Run King Salmon Restricted to Hatchery Fish only May 1 and Single-Hook with Bait Beginning May 16

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is issuing a revision to emergency order 2-KS-1-07-22issued January 26, 2022, that restricted the retention of naturally-produced king salmon, the use of multiple hooks, and allowed the use of bait beginning May 1 on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge. This revision prohibits the use of bait in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge until May 16 when the bait is allowed by regulation. The revised emergency order allows the use of bait and only one single-hook, artificial fly, or lure on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 16 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30. Single-hook means a fishhook with only one point.

“Allowing bait in the Kasilof River beginning May 1 was included in the January 26 emergency order to increase the success of anglers targeting Kasilof River hatchery-produced king salmon returning to Crooked Creek,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Public concern regarding the vulnerability of steelhead trout staging in the Kasilof River in early May led staff to reconsider the earlier date. The retention of naturally-produced king salmon is still not allowed, and anglers will need to keep any incidentally hooked naturally-produced kings in the water and release them immediately.”

Retention of naturally-produced king salmon remains prohibited on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2022. The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is two hatchery-produced fish per day. Hatchery-produced king salmon are recognizable by a healed adipose fin-clip scar. Naturally-produced king salmon of any size may not be possessed or retained and are distinguishable by an intact adipose fin, a small fleshy fin on the back of the fish just ahead of the tail. Naturally-produced king salmon that are caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. A hatchery-produced king salmon that is removed from the water becomes part of the anglers bag limit and must be retained.

ADF&G manages the Kasilof River early-run king salmon sport fishery to achieve a sustainable escapement goal of 700-1,400 naturally-produced king salmon as monitored through an ADF&G weir located on Crooked Creek. Crooked Creek king salmon are used to supplement king salmon stocking programs across Southcentral Alaska.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka or Assistant Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates at (907) 262-9368.