State Sets 2021 Kenai River Early-Run King Salmon Season

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

(Soldotna) – The 2021 Kenai River early-run king salmon preseason projection is for approximately 4,400 large (> 34 inches) king salmon. This projection falls within the optimal escapement goal (OEG) of 3,900 to 6,600 large king salmon. As directed by 5 AAC 57.160 Kenai River and Kasilof River Early-run King Salmon Management Plan, if the Kenai River early-run king salmon preseason projection falls within or above the OEG, the sport fishery may start under general regulations (5 AAC 57.120) until an inseason projection is available. Please see pages 50-65 of the 2021 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet (available March 2021) for additional information.

The 2021 preseason outlook for Kenai River early-run king salmon can be found under the Annual Run Outlook tab on the Northern Kenai Peninsula Management Area webpage.

Kenai River king salmon sport fishing general regulations for January 1 through June 30, 2021, in Kenai River waters downstream of Skilak Lake are as follows:

  • Bait is prohibited, and only one single-hook, artificial lure may be used.
  • The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is one king salmon. Only king salmon less than 34 inches in length may be retained. King salmon 34 inches in length and greater may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
  • There is a combined annual limit of five king salmon over 20 inches from all Cook Inlet Drainage waters, which includes only two fish per year over 20 inches from the Kenai River, except fish under 28 inches in length caught in the Kenai River prior to July 1 do not count towards the annual limit. All harvested fish that count towards an annual limit must be recorded on a harvest record card or your sport fishing license.
  • The bag and possession limit for king salmon less than 20 inches (jack king salmon), is 10 fish per day and 10 in possession, in combination with coho, sockeye, chum, or pink salmon less than 16 inches in length.

Anglers are reminded that sport fishing regulations may be liberalized or restricted inseason by emergency order to meet the king salmon OEG as determined by inseason projections of escapement. Sufficient inseason information is typically available by approximately June 10.

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