Russian River, Upper Kenai Sockeye Bag Limits Increasing

The following press release 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 regulation liberalization by increasing limits of sockeye salmon to nine per day, eighteen in possession for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 19 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019. This liberalization supersedes Emergency Order 2-RS-1-19-19 issued on Wednesday, June 12, which increased sockeye salmon bag and possession limits in the Russian River and Upper Kenai River.

The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River includes the area that extends from Skilak Lake upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing (this includes the Russian River Sanctuary Area) and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls. Anglers are reminded that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing. For additional information on the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Area, please review pages 59-61 of the 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

As of June 16, 2019, 45,778 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, located upstream of the falls. The early-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000 – 42,000 sockeye salmon has been exceeded.

“We opened the waters of the sanctuary and increased the bag limit from three to six last week and sockeye salmon keep pouring into the Russian River,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “With these numbers, it is appropriate to increase the limits and allow anglers an opportunity to harvest more sockeye salmon.”

Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the Russian River clear water. If you clean your catch, take 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.