The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions on the Kenai River late-run king salmon fishery effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020. The use of bait is prohibited and the bag and possession limit is restricted to one king salmon less than 34 inches in total length per day, on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. The bag and possession limit for king salmon less than 20 inches in length remains at ten fish in those waters open to king salmon fishing.
This sport fishing restriction is in conjunction with the Kenai River early-run king salmon sport fishing restrictions issued June 8, 2020. Sport fishing for king salmon of any size in the Kenai River is closed from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake will remain in effect through July 31, 2020.
“In order to achieve the Kenai River late-run king salmon escapement goal, we are starting the July fishery without bait and anglers may only keep king salmon that are less than 34 inches in length,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Based upon the preseason forecast and recent king salmon performance in the early-run and around Cook Inlet, restrictions are warranted in order to meet the escapement goal and still provide fishing opportunity for Kenai River late-run king salmon.”
In conjunction with this restriction, EO 2-KS-1-23-20 was issued June 15, 2020, and starts the Kasilof River late-run king salmon fishery with no bait and only one, single-hook, artificial lure in the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge.
The optimal escapement goal for late-run Kenai River king salmon is 15,000 to 30,000 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork length and longer. ADF&G will continue to monitor the Kenai River run as it develops and additional actions may be taken depending on run strength. Anglers are reminded that the management plan indicates if bait is prohibited in the sport fishery then the personal use and commercial fisheries are also restricted to share the burden of conservation across all user groups.