Russian, Upper Kenai Rivers See Sockeye Bag Limits Increased

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 the limits of sockeye salmon to six per day, 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. Friday, June 14 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 2019.

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. If a Russian River angler has more than six sockeye salmon in possession, then that angler may not fish in waters with a possession limit of six. For addition 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 10, 2019, over 8,470 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, located upstream of the falls. ADF&G staff conducted a stream survey on June 10 and estimated over 5,000 fish are in the Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary Area. ADF&G estimates that the escapement will exceed the early-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000 – 42,000 sockeye salmon.

“It is exciting to see the number of sockeye salmon that have passed through the Russian River weir and been observed inriver,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Increasing the limit to six per day will allow anglers to hit the river and harvest some fresh sockeye.”

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 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 area, campground areas, and Russian River ferry area.