Kenai River Limited To Unbaited, Single-hook, Artificial Lures Only

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

 (Soldotna) – Kenai River anglers are advised that, in an effort to continue protection of late-run king salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, August 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, August 15, 2021. Anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in these waters. “Single-hook” means a fishhook with only one point.

Fishing for king salmon in the Kenai River is currently closed by emergency order, but anglers are reminded that king salmon fishing closes by regulation on August 1, including catch-and-release fishing. Incidentally caught king salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Anglers should exercise good angling practices by avoiding fishing for coho salmon in areas of the river where king salmon are concentrated and to cut leaders or lines to avoid stressing incidentally hooked king salmon.

Through July 28, 2021, approximately 5,296 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork and longer have passed the river mile 13.7 king salmon sonar. In-season projections estimate an escapement of approximately 9,800 large king salmon, well below the escapement goal range of 15,000-30,000 large king salmon. Therefore, these measures are warranted to continue to conserve late-run Kenai River king salmon needed for escapement.

“The Kenai River king salmon late-run is currently projected to not meet the minimum escapement goal and it is necessary to restrict the use of bait and multiple hooks in order to reduce mortality of incidentally caught king salmon that are still entering the river and those that have already reached spawning locations,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka.

Restrictive actions to reduce the harvest of Kenai River king salmon are being taken in the commercial fishery as well.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368 or Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 267-2415.