(Released: July 26, 2018 - Expired: December 31, 2018)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Matt Miller, Cook Inlet Management Coordinator
(Soldotna) - To protect returning sockeye salmon and increase fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restriction on the Kenai River effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 30 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 31, 2018, from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake. The bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon 16 inches or longer is reduced from three per day and six in possession, to one per day, two in possession. The bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon less than 16 inches remains at 10 per day, 10 in possession. Above Skilak Lake, where anglers are primarily targeting Russian River sockeye salmon, the limits remains at three per day, six in possession.
On July 24, 2018, ADF&G reevaluated the Kenai River sockeye salmon run and projected the run will be less than 2.3 million fish. Based on the current passage estimate of sockeye salmon in the Kenai River of 367,895 fish through July 25, the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 700,000 to 1.2 million Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon may not be met without a reduction in harvest of this stock. Therefore, it is warranted to decrease the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon in the Kenai River sport fishery. Restrictions to the commercial and personal use fisheries are also being implemented to improve sockeye salmon passage to the Kenai River.
“Sockeye salmon passage by the sonar at river mile 19 have been behind this season, but other indicators suggested perhaps a late run timing,” stated Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “An assessment of the data earlier this week indicated it may just be a weak run. Without further restrictions to harvest, the goal for Kenai River sockeye salmon is not expected to be achieved. ADF&G staff understand the hardship this has on anglers, as this restriction also affects us.”
ADF&G staff will be closely monitoring this fishery as the season progresses and additional actions may be taken if necessary.
For additional information, please contact Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 262-9368.