The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Lower Cook Inlet & North Gulf Coast Sport Fishing Regulation Changes
(Homer) – The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) adopted several proposals establishing new sport fishing regulations for the Lower Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast management areas at its November 2023 meeting in Homer. Several changes were made to saltwater sport fisheries for king salmon, rockfish, and lingcod, as well as freshwater fisheries for king salmon. The season for the personal use fishery for sockeye salmon in China Poot was also extended. There are several additional proposals for the Upper Cook Inlet summer saltwater king salmon fishery (north of Bluff Point) that will also be heard and deliberated on at the Upper Cook Inlet meeting in February 2024. Regulatory changes are summarized below as a service to anglers, and not a complete digest of all sport fishing regulations. The new regulations will take effect with the release of the 2024 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet when it is issued in spring of 2024.
New for 2024
Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast Salt Waters (all Cook Inlet salt waters and salt waters east to Cape Fairfield including Seward)
- Rockfish bag limit was reduced to 3 per day, 6 in possession, of which only 1 per day, 2 in possession may be a nonpelagic rockfish.
Cook Inlet salt waters (all Cook Inlet salt waters east to Gore Point)
- Lingcod bag limit was reduced to 1 per day, 2 in possession.
- The management plan for the Cook Inlet Winter Salt Water King Salmon Sport Fishery was modified to have an increased guideline harvest level (GHL) of 5,500 king salmon. If the GHL is expected to be exceeded, the retention of king salmon less than 20 inches in length will not be allowed.
- Fishing from shore for species other than king salmon is allowed within the Conservation Zones surrounding the lower Kenai Peninsula roadside stream mouths. From April 1 through July 15, the Conservation Zones remain closed to fishing for king salmon and are closed to all sport fishing from a boat.
Lower Cook Inlet saltwaters (south of Bluff Point)
- A management plan and guideline harvest level (GHL) of 8,500 king salmon was adopted for the Lower Cook Inlet Summer Salt Water King Salmon fishery.
- Snagging and spear fishing in the waters of the Seldovia Harbor, Slough, and Lagoon was closed from January 1 through June 23.
China Poot Sockeye Salmon Personal Use Fishery
- The season for the China Poot dip net fishery was extended to begin on June 15 and end August 14.
Kenai Peninsula Freshwaters
- A management plan was adopted for the king salmon fisheries in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. The plan identifies similar management actions to the ones the department has made by emergency order in 12 of the last 15 years. The plan aligns management actions for Anchor River and Deep Creek. For these two streams, no harvest will be allowed unless the Anchor River forecast or projection indicates that the run will be greater than the midpoint of the sustainable escapement goal (SEG). Both streams will be closed if projections are less than the lower end of the SEG, and both streams will be open to catch-and-release and only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures if the projection is between the lower end of the SEG and the midpoint. The Ninilchik River was separated from the other two streams to provide opportunity to harvest hatchery king salmon. The regulations in the following bullet point will be in place, unless management actions are needed to meet the wild king salmon SEG, or to meet wild or hatchery broodstock collection goals.
- The retention of wild king salmon on the Ninilchik River was closed. The bag limit for hatchery king salmon was increased to 2, and gear for king salmon fishing was restricted to one single-hook or single-hook, artificial lure, and bait is allowed.
- The area open for the youth-only fishery on the Ninilchik River was extended to be open from the mouth of the river to the 2-mile markers located near the Garrison Ridge Road bridge.
For additional information with Lower Cook Inlet sport and personal use fisheries, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz at (907) 235-8191 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at email@example.com.
For additional information with North Gulf Coast sport fisheries, please contact Area Management Biologist Brittany Blain-Roth at (907) 267-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Area Management Biologist Donald Arthur at email@example.com