Rising Escapement Allows For Earlier Starting Date For Russian River Sanctuary Sockeye Fishing

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

These anglers enjoyed red-hot sockeye action along a secluded shoreline during a guided Kenai trip with Mark Glassmaker. (ALASKA FISHING WITH MARK GLASSMAKER)

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sport Fishing

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is liberalizing existing sport fishing regulations by opening the Russian River Sanctuary Area early to sport fishing for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 2024 (the Russian River Sanctuary Area is open by regulation, July 15 – August 20). Anglers, please note that the Russian River Sanctuary Area is Area B in the map below. For additional information on the Middle Kenai River and Russian River Confluence Area, please review page 54 of the 2024 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

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

July 3 – 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 June 30, 2024, a total of 27,518 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, achieving the biological escapement goal (BEG) of 22,000–44,000 sockeye salmon.

“Given the current level of escapement at the Russian River weir, opening the Sanctuary Area early will allow anglers more time and area to target these fish,” stated Area Management Biologist Phill Stacey. “The Russian River early-run took a while to materialize, but now that we have met the goal we are comfortable providing more area for anglers to target sockeye in this run. Anglers are reminded the salmon limit is still 3 per day, 6 in possession, of which only 1 per day, 1 in possession may be a coho salmon for salmon longer than 16 inches.”

If you intend to clean your catch at the river, please take your fish away from the clear waters of the Russian River to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet. Cut up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters of the Kenai River. 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 Phill Stacey at (907) 260-2920.

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sport Fishing