Tanana River Shutting Down To King Salmon Fishing

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

Tanana River Drainage King Salmon Sport Fishery Closed

(Fairbanks) – Due to a preseason forecast for a below-average Yukon River king salmon run, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing the Tanana River drainage to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, March 28 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, September 30. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing, in all waters of the Tanana River drainage, including the Chena, Goodpaster and Salcha Rivers. In addition, when fishing for other species anglers may only use unbaited, artificial lures (no bait) in tributaries (i.e., rivers and streams) of the Tanana River. All king salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

The 2024 Yukon River drainage king salmon run is expected to be similar to the 2021 (129,180 king salmon), 2022 (51,000 king salmon), and 2023 runs (58,000 king salmon) – none of which was large enough to meet spawning goals. In the Tanana River drainage, the Chena and Salcha Rivers are the two largest producers of king salmon in Alaskan waters. The spawning escapement goal for the Salcha River is 3,300 – 6,500 king salmon and for the Chena River it is 3,300 – 5,700 kings. Last year, only 1,384 king salmon were estimated in the Salcha River and just 1,109 king salmon were estimated in the Chena River.

The 2024 Tanana River drainage king salmon run is expected to be well below average. Spawning escapement goals are not expected to be met and will require restricting subsistence fishing opportunity in the Tanana River drainage. Prohibiting bait within tributaries is a conservative measure to reduce the chance of king salmon being caught while fishing for other species. Given the projections for another below-average king salmon run, a preseason closure of sport fishing for king salmon in the Tanana River drainage is needed to help protect these fish.

For additional information contact Andrew Gryska, Tanana Area Management Biologist, (907) 459-7339, or Brandy Baker, Assistant Area Management Biologist, 907-895-4637.