Susitna River Drainage Also Closing To King Fishing

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

Susitna River Drainage Closed to Sport Fishing for King Salmon 

(Palmer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increasing fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation closure for Units 1 – 6 of the Susitna River drainages effective 6:00 a.m. Thursday, June 23 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Sport fishing gear continues to be limited to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure when fishing in Units 1 – 6 of the Susitna River drainages in those waters normally open to sport fishing for king salmon. Sport fishing for other species will be allowed seven days per week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. King salmon may not be targeted and those caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2022 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

This sport fishing regulation closure supersedes the emergency order issued on June 16, 2022, that closed king salmon fishing on the Deshka River, while continuing to allow catch-and-release fishing for king salmon in the remainder of the Susitna River drainage.

“King salmon runs across Cook Inlet are turning out to be poorer than expected and the Susitna River drainage appears to be following suit, “stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “Despite fishing success picking up in certain areas of the drainage recently, it appears the runs to these areas will be weak as well. The Deshka River weircount to date is of the lowest on record in 27 years of operation. While not always a surrogate for managing other Susitna River stocks, very low abundance of the Deshka River stock will likely translate to weak runs to adjacent Susitna River tributary king salmon stocks. The Susitna River is the last wild stock area to close in Cook Inlet. This is never an easy decision; however, it is time to act to conserve the remainder of this year’s spawning escapement.”

Anglers are reminded an emergency order was issued on June 16, 2022, closing to the Little Susitna River drainage to sport fishing for king salmon and sport fishing gear was limited to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure when fishing for other species.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.