Russian River Sockeye Fishery To Open On June 12

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

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by opening the Russian River Sanctuary area early for anglers to sport fish for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 12 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 2019. 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 2019 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 12 – July 14, 2019:

  • 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, 2019:

  • 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;

Anglers are reminded, after August 20, 2019, the retention of sockeye salmon is prohibited in this area.

Through Sunday, June 9, 2019, approximately 4,700 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir. ADF&G staff conducted stream surveys on June 7 and June 10 and estimated there are over 5,000 fish in both the Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary Area. ADF&G estimates that the early-run sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000-42,000 sockeye salmon will be met.

“Looks like the Russian River is off to a strong start. We haven’t seen numbers like this for several years,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River area will likely be good to excellent.”

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 the riverbank restoration projects and stay on the established pathways in the Sanctuary, campground, and Russian River ferry areas.

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