Ninilchik River Limit, Gear Regulation Changes Announced

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

Changes to King Salmon Limits and Gear in the Ninilchik River

(Homer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is modifying the bag and possession limits of king salmon and legal gear in the Ninilchik River. For king salmon 20 inches or greater in length, the bag and possession limits will increase from one fish to two hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limits for king salmon under 20 inches will be restricted to 10 hatchery king salmon. The use of bait is allowed but gear is restricted to one single-hook. Hatchery king salmon are recognized by a missing adipose fin and healed adipose fin clip scar. All naturally-produced or wild king salmon have an adipose fin, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately. The gear restrictions and bag and possession limits are effective from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 25 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2024.

The Ninilchik River will be open to sport fishing during the Memorial Day weekend (May 25 – 27), and the following two weekends and Mondays following each weekend (June 1 – 3 and June 8 – 10), the Youth-Only Fishery (June 5), and continuously seven days a week starting June 16. All other Ninilchik River sport fishing regulations are outlined in the 2024 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet (available April 2024). The Ninilchik River king salmon escapement will be monitored starting in early May and will be used to assess if any further regulation changes are needed inseason.

The Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River King Salmon Sport Fishery Management Plan was adopted at the November 2023 Board of Fisheries meeting. This plan establishes management actions for the Anchor River and Deep Creek using the Anchor River preseason forecast and inseason projections, and for the Ninilchik River using the Ninilchik River inseason projection. This plan will be in effect for the 2024 season. For additional information on recent changes to these fisheries through the Board of Fisheries process, please review the December 11, 2023 press release.

“The Ninilchik River king salmon supplementation program is going strong and will likely provide one of the better opportunities to still target king salmon this season” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “We will be watching the wild escapement counts in season to ensure that there’s enough fish to meet the escapement and broodstock collection goals”.

In conjunction with these regulation changes, Emergency Order 2-KS-7-07-24 closes Upper Cook Inlet salt waters to king salmon fishing, Emergency Order 2-KS-7-10-24 closes the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through July 15, Emergency Order 2-KS-1-08-24 closes the Kenai River early-run king salmon fishery, and Emergency Order 2-KS-2-05-24 closes the Deshka River to king salmon fishing. Additionally, emergency orders restricting other king salmon fisheries in Susitna River, Northern Cook Inlet, and West Cook Inlet areas have been issued. Please review these emergency orders and advisory announcements in their entirety for the specific regulatory changes.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.