Division of Sport Fish
Tom Taube, Acting Director

Anchorage Headquarters Office
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner

P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526

Advisory Announcement
(Released: March 02, 2023 - Expired: July 31, 2023)

CONTACT: Mike Booz
Area Management Biologist
(907) 235-8191

King Salmon Bag Limit Reduced from 2 to 1 in Lower Cook Inlet Salt Waters

(Homer) - In favor of protecting early-run and late-run Cook Inlet king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reducing the bag and possession limit from two to one king salmon of any size, south of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.). The waters of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and the Seldovia slough and lagoon are excluded from this change. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 15 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023. For a description of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon waters, please see page 74 of the Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet. The waters excluded from the Seldovia area include all waters from Seldovia Boat Harbor upstream through the slough to the lagoon.

Based on the recent early-run and late-run king salmon escapement monitoring in the Kenai, Anchor, and Deshka Rivers, this year’s king salmon runs are forecasted to be below the lower end of their escapement goals, which has triggered inriver sport fishery preseason closures in these streams. Additionally, all of these stocks failed to achieve their escapement goals in 2022 despite closures to both fresh and salt water king salmon fisheries. Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 closed the salt waters north of Bluff Point to king salmon fishing May 15 through July 31. Emergency Order 2-KS-1-10-23 closed the early-run king salmon sport fishery in the Kenai River through June 30. Emergency Order 2-KS-1-11-23 closed the late-run king salmon sport fishery in the Kenai River from July 1 through July 31. Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-23 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through July 15. Emergency Order 2-KS-2-05-23 closed the Deshka River to king salmon sport fishing. Additional preseason emergency order restrictions also affect the sport fishing in other streams on the Kenai Peninsula, Northern Cook Inlet, and West Cook Inlet areas.

“Given the continued period of very poor productivity for Cook Inlet king salmon and the increasing harvest trends in Lower Cook Inlet, reducing the king salmon bag limit is a precautionary approach for the period of time when Cook Inlet stocks are traveling through these salt waters,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “These challenging conditions have increased the need for more progressive restrictions to ensure that we get as many king salmon as possible into Cook Inlet escapements.”

In conjunction with these restrictions, additional emergency orders prohibit the retention of wild (naturally-produced) king salmon in the Ninilchik and Kasilof Rivers and restrict other king salmon fisheries in Susitna River, Northern Cook Inlet, and West Cook Inlet areas. Please review these emergency orders and advisory announcements in their entirety for the specific regulatory changes.

For more information, please contact Area Management Biologist Mike Booz or Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.