Russian River Opening Early For Sockeye Fishing

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

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is liberalizing existing sport fishing regulations by opening the Russian River Sanctuary Area early for anglers to sport fish for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 24 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. Anglers, please note that the Russian River Sanctuary Area is Area B in the map below. For addition information on the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Confluence Area, please review page 60 of the 2021 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sport Fishing

The following sockeye salmon regulations apply for the Russian River Sanctuary Area:

June 24 – July 14:

  • Sockeye salmon 
    • 16 inches or greater in length; 3 per day, 6 in possession
    • Less than 16 inches in length; 10 per day, 10 in possession

July 15 – August 20:

  • Fly-fishing-only waters;
  • Sockeye or coho salmon 
    • 16 inches or longer; 3 per day, 6 in possession in combination, of which only 1 per day, 1 in possession may be a coho salmon
    • Less than 16 inches in length; 10 per day, 10 in possession;

Through Monday, June 21, 2021, a total of 1,893 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir. ADF&G staff conducted a stream survey on June 21 and estimated 3,500 fish are in the Russian River Sanctuary Area. ADF&G now estimates that the biological escapement goal (BEG) of 22,000–42,000 sockeye salmon will be met.

“The Russian River early-run looks to be shaping up into an average-sized run and it is likely the escapement goal will be achieved while allowing anglers a little more time to target these fish,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Fishing should improve towards the weekend.”

Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the clear waters of the Russian River. In addition, if you intend to clean your catch at the river, please take your fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended. Please respect habitat and cultural resource protection sites that are fenced or roped off, stay on the established trails and boardwalks in the Sanctuary Area, campground, and Russian River ferry areas and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368.