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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Emergency Orders and News Releases
Sport Fishing


Region 2-Southcentral News Release

(Released: June 19, 2012)

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ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
Cora Campbell, Commissioner

DIVISION OF SPORT FISH
Charles O. Swanton, Director

Contact:
Robert Begich
Area Management Biologist
Phone: (907) 262-9368

June 19, 2012

RECORD-LOW RETURNS TRIGGER KENAI RIVER EARLY-RUN KING SALMON FISHERY CLOSURE; BAIT PROHIBITED DURING LATE-RUN

Kenai River anglers are advised that, in an effort to meet early-run king salmon minimum escapement numbers and ensure adequate escapement of late-run king salmon, the department is implementing the following sport fishing restrictions:

From 12:01 a.m., Friday, June 22, through 11:59 p.m., Saturday, June 30, 2012:
• In the Kenai River, from the mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon fishing is closed. No king salmon of any size may be retained. King salmon may not be targeted and any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

From 12:01 a.m., Sunday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m., Saturday, July 14, 2012:
• In the Kenai River, from ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon fishing is closed. No king salmon of any size may be retained. King salmon may not be targeted and any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

From 12:01 a.m., Sunday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 31, 2012:
• In the Kenai River drainage, from the mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, use of bait/scent is not allowed.

Through June 18, all indices used to assess abundance of early-run king salmon in the Kenai River indicate the 2012 run is the lowest on record. Given the unprecedented low number of early-run king salmon, the department has determined that additional mortality associated with catch-and-release fishing cannot be justified.

In addition, based upon the poor performance of king salmon stocks in Cook Inlet and other areas of the state, it is likely the Kenai River late-run king salmon stock will also experience poor performance and require conservative management. Therefore, the late-run king salmon fishery will begin without the use of bait in those waters remaining open to sport fishing for king salmon. The prohibition on the use of bait during July will reduce the harvest rate of both early- and late-run stocks that are within the open water areas.

For information of inseason assessment of Kenai River king salmon visit our website at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/index.cfm?ADFG=main.home .

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