King Salmon Sport Fishing Catch-and-Release Only for Deshka and Yentna Rivers; Remaining Susitna River Drainage Closed

Susitna River photo by Mike Lunde

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

In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions which will be effective 6:00 a.m.Tuesday, May 1, through Friday, July 13, 2018, for the Susitna River drainages (Unit 1-6). For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2018 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulationsbooklet.

Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage:

  • Sport fishing for king salmon (of any size) is open to catch-and-release in the Deshka and Yentna rivers.
  • Sport fishing for king salmon is closed in the remainder of the Susitna River drainage.
  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Susitna River drainages. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for other species, including trout, will be allowed seven days per week, this includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed during the king salmon season.
  • 2018 Deshka River king salmon outlook memo can be found at:

This management strategy is designed to provide sport fishing opportunities where possible and achieve the Susitna River king salmon escapement goals. In addition to these management actions to the sport fishery, the Northern District commercial king salmon fishery will also be closed. Anglers should also be aware of changes to the Little Susitna king salmon fishery. ADF&G staff will monitor these fisheries closely as the season progresses. Data gathered from weirs, guide logbooks, fishwheels, boat surveys, and aerial surveys will be used to gauge run strength during the 2018 season.

“Since 2007, the king salmon returns to the Susitna River have been below average and the trend is expected to continue in 2018,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “Restricting or closing specific areas to sport fisheries is never an easy decision. ADF&G understands the decisions made have tremendous impacts on local businesses, guides, and anglers; however, with king salmon populations continuing a downward trend of productivity, ADF&G has a duty to protect, maintain, and improve sport fisheries. These restrictions will hopefully ensure enough salmon will successfully spawn, so that their offspring will guarantee future runs. These fish and their offspring are the future of the king salmon fisheries and we need to sustain them for a healthy return.”