Little Susitna River Reopens For Limited King Salmon Harvesting

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

(Palmer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reopening the Little Susitna River to a limited harvest opportunity for the remainder of the king salmon season. Effective 6:00 a.m. Saturday, July 11 through 11:00 p.m. Monday, July 13, 2020, anglers may keep one king salmon per day, 20 inches or greater in length, in the Little Susitna River. The annual limit is restricted to two king salmon, 20 inches or greater in length, and the area open to king salmon harvest is limited to downstream of the weir only. Artificial lures with multiple hooks may be used downstream of the weir per regulation. Waters upstream of the weir to the Parks Highway, remain catch-and-release only for king salmon with only one unbaited, single hook, artificial lure allowed.

The sustainable escapement goal for king salmon on the Little Susitna River is 2,100 – 4,300 fish. As of July 10, 2020, 2,154 king salmon have been counted at the Little Susitna weir. The weir count is considered a minimum count because it is likely additional fish passed the weir undetected from approximately June 13 – June 18 when the weir was flooded. Based on the weir count and a projected escapement of about 2,300 fish it is warranted to allow the sport fishery to proceed by regulation downstream of the weir and for the fishery upstream of the weir to remain catch-and-release only. The estimated harvest of less than 75 fish due to this action will not lower the final escapement below the lower end of the escapement goal if harvest is only allowed downstream of the weir.

“The catch-and-release strategy used from the outset of the season worked well toward meeting our escapement objectives and now it appears there can be some late season opportunity for anglers to harvest a king salmon,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “Even though this is a small opportunity, it is worth it during these unprecedented times, to have the chance to put even just one king salmon in the freezer”.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300 or Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 267-2415.