The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Little Susitna River Coho Salmon Limits Increased
(Palmer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the bag and possession limits for coho salmon to three per day and three in possession in the Little Susitna River. These provisions are effective 12:01 a.m.Wednesday, August 8 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 31, 2018, for all waters of the Little Susitna River open to salmon fishing downstream of the Parks Highway bridge. The coho salmon bag limit is in combination with current limits for pink, chum, and sockeye salmon; which is only three salmon, other than king salmon, 16 inches or greater in length, can be harvested per day and in possession.
“ADF&G wants to remind anglers to be cognitive of the high and turbid conditions the Little Susitna River drainage is experiencing with the recent rains,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “We know anglers are excited to get out and fish, but we want to make sure they are staying safe while fishing on the waters.”
The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for coho salmon in the Little Susitna River is 10,100-17,700 fish. As of August 6, 2018, 6,725 coho salmon have passed the Little Susitna River weir. Based on weir counts and average run timing, ADF&G is projecting to exceed the SEG. ADF&G does not anticipate that increased sport harvest from this emergency order will lower escapement below the goal in the Little Susitna River; therefore, it is warranted to provide anglers an additional sport fish harvest opportunity.
Fish Creek Open 7 Days per Week for Sport Fishing and Sockeye Salmon Limits Are Liberalized
(Palmer) – Due to a great run of sockeye salmon into Fish Creek, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the bag and possession limits for salmon, other than king salmon, 16 inches or greater in length to six per day and six in possession; however, no more than two salmon per day and in possession may be coho salmon, in all waters of Fish Creek open to salmon fishing. In addition, sport fishing on Fish Creek will be allowed seven days per week from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day. These provisions are effective 5:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 8 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 31, 2018.
After taking a bag limit of salmon, a person may not sport fish that same day in any waters open to salmon fishing. Bait and multiple hooks, meaning no more than two single hooks or two treble hooks per line, will be permitted in these fisheries.
“Over 43,000 sockeye salmon have been counted at the Fish Creek weir with an escapement goal of 15,000-45,000 fish,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “The projected escapement is expected to be over 47,000 fish; therefore, it is warranted to increase the open fishing period, and bag and possession limits for sockeye salmon and allow sport anglers an additional sport fishing opportunity.”
The SEG for coho salmon in Fish Creek is 1,200-4,400 fish and weir counts to date indicate more than 550 coho salmon have passed the weir at about 18% of the historical run. It is not anticipated that increased sport harvest of coho salmon, because of increased fishing time directed at sockeye salmon harvest will lower the escapement of coho salmon below desired escapement levels in Fish Creek.
The Jim Creek coho salmon run is managed separately to achieve the escapement goal established for that system. Other Knik Arm waters, including the Little Susitna River, Eklutna Tailrace, and Wasilla and Cottonwood creeks remain unaffected by this emergency order.