Russian River Sanctuary Closes for Sport Fishing

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

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulations by closing the Russian River Sanctuary. This regulatory change is effective 11:00 p.m. Friday, July 3 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Anglers please note that the Russian River Sanctuary Area is Area B in the map below.

Russian River Sanctuary Closes for Sport Fishing

Through July 1, 2020, 14,906 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir located upstream of the Russian River Falls. ADF&G staff conducted a stream foot survey on July 1 and estimated 2,500 fish are in the Russian River upstream of the powerline. ADF&G estimates that the early-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000 – 42,000 sockeye salmon will not be achieved under current regulations.

“The early-run has not materialized as anticipated this year. Low abundance in combination with below average water levels are hindering migration and increasing angler efficiency, restrictions are necessary to achieve the escapement goal,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka.

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, campground, and Russian River ferry areas and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas.

Just a reminder to anglers, please do your part to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by following and reviewing the current State of Alaska Health Mandates in effect.

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