Area Management Biologist
April 09, 2014
Alaska Department of Fish and Game is restricting king salmon fisheries on the Karluk and Ayakulik rivers to help meet escapement goals. Expectations of poor king salmon returns and difficulty meeting escapement goals on these rivers in recent years warrant preseason action.
Ayakulik River bag, possession and annual limits will be reduced this season by emergency order. In response to recent poor king salmon runs and uncertainty over how quickly the stock may recover, the 2014 season will start with a bag and possession limit of one king salmon 20 inches or greater in length, and an annual limit of two fish. The biological escapement goal (BEG) for Ayakulik River king salmon is 4,000 to 7,000 fish. The BEG was not achieved from 2006-2009, and also in 2013. Restrictions to the sport fishery have helped achieve the BEG since 2006, but recent king salmon performance justifies starting the 2014 season conservatively.
King salmon fishing on the Karluk River will be restricted by emergency order to non-retention only beginning 12:01 a.m., Sunday, June 1, through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 25, 2014. King salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. As an added measure, only one unbaited single-hook or single-hook artificial lure may be used in the Karluk River drainage below Karluk Lake. The BEG for Karluk River king salmon is 3,000 to 6,000 fish. Despite management actions to reduce king salmon harvest in sport, commercial and subsistence fisheries, the king salmon BEG has been achieved only twice since 2006. In January 2011 the Alaska Board of Fisheries designated Karluk River king salmon a stock of concern. Although escapements improved slightly in 2011 and 2012, the recent trend of poor runs and continued difficulties in meeting the escapement goal warrant these preseason restrictions in 2014.
The 2014 king salmon runs will be monitored daily by ADF&G using weirs on the Ayakulik River and Karluk River. Increased harvest opportunity may be allowed by subsequent emergency order if inseason assessment of king salmon indicates the run is stronger than anticipated.
For more information, contact the Division of Sport Fish office in Kodiak at (907) 486-1880.