(Released: September 27, 2018)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Tony Eskelin, Sport Fishery Biologist
(Soldotna) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Sport Fish has received numerous reports from anglers regarding catches of tagged rainbow trout on the Kenai River. With the reports have also come questions. The top two questions are “Do I need to report the tag number?” and “What do you do with the information?” Yes, please report the tagged rainbow trout. ADF&G asks if you catch a tagged rainbow trout, please do not remove the green tag. If possible, please record by either writing or photographing the tag number, location captured (river mile or name of the area on the Kenai River or one of its tributaries), and length.
The tagged rainbow trout are part of an ongoing population assessment project on the Upper Kenai River between Sportsman’s and Jim’s Landing. From July to early August 2018, ADF&G released approximately 2,500 rainbow trout with either a unique 4-digit or 6-digit number green tag. ADF&G conducted similar studies in the Upper Kenai River in 1987, 1995, 2001, and 2009. Results from 2018 will be compared to previous years studies for abundance, length composition, and movement information. During the month of May in 2017 and 2018, assessments were also completed in a 3-mile area from river mile 45 to river mile 48 downstream of Skilak Lake. During this timeframe, approximately 4,000 rainbow trout were caught and released with tag numbers.
“The division thanks everyone for their assistance in reporting any tagged rainbow trout they have caught,” stated Soldotna Fishery Biologist Tony Eskelin. “The results of this study wouldn’t be possible without our angler’s assistance.”
These studies provide the opportunity for the public and ADF&G to learn about the movement and seasonal distribution of rainbow trout in the Kenai River drainage. This information is not only valuable to understanding rainbow trout life history but helps ADF&G learn about rainbow trout distribution in the Kenai River. Reports from anglers have shown some fish travel greater distances than previously discovered from past Kenai River rainbow trout projects while other fish are stationary remaining in the same area they were released when tagged.
For additional information about tagged rainbow trout in the Kenai River, please contact Soldotna Fisheries Biologists Tony Eskelin or Robert Begich at (907) 262-9368.