Russian, Upper Kenai Rivers Get Increased Sockeye Limits

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

Russian River photo by Wikimedia User Zhans33

Russian River & Upper Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Limits Increased

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by increasing the limits of sockeye salmon to six per day and twelve 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, August 9 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday,
August 20, 2023.

The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River with the increased sockeye salmon limits 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. If a Russian River angler has more than six sockeye salmon in possession, then that angler may not fish in waters with a bag limit of three or a possession limit of six fish.

As of Sunday, August 6, 2023, a total of 52,767 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, located upstream of the falls. ADF&G estimates that the escapement will exceed the late-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 44,000 – 85,000 sockeye salmon.

“Inseason projections of escapement from the Russian River weir indicate the escapement goal is likely to be exceeded” stated Acting Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates. “Increasing the bag and possession limits will allow anglers the opportunity to harvest more fish and fishing is reported as excellent.”

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. Please respect habitat and cultural resource protection sites that are fenced or roped off, stay on the established trails and boardwalks, and use public restroom facilities in the campgrounds and ferry areas. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended.

Additionally, the Russian River Campground will be closing early this year on August 16, 2023 for major road construction on the road into the campground and river access trail system. The Russian River Ferry will remain open through Labor Day Weekend and close September 5, 2023 for river and fishery access.

For additional information, please contact Acting Area Management Biologist Jenny Gates at (907) 262-9368.