Kenai River Limited To Unbaited Single Hooks With Artificial Lures

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

Unbaited, Single-hook, Artificial Lures Only in the Kenai River

(Soldotna) – Kenai River anglers are advised that, in an effort to continue the 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 ADF&G marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, August 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, August 15, 2022. 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 27, approximately 7,077 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork and longer have passed the river mile 13.7 king salmon sonar. Inseason projections estimate an escapement of approximately 14,239 large king salmon, which is below the optimal escapement goal range of 15,000 – 30,000 large king salmon. Therefore, these measures are warranted to continue to conserve Kenai River king salmon needed for escapement.

“Late-run king salmon are not currently projected to meet the optimal or sustainable escapement goals 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. Spawning takes place throughout the lower and middle river.” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka.

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.