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Area Management Biologist
July 17, 2014
Kenai River anglers are advised that, in an effort to meet the late-run king salmon escapement goal, the department is implementing the following sport fishing restrictions effective 12:01 a.m., Saturday, July 19:
• From the mouth of the Kenai River upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, king salmon may not be possessed or retained, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.
• While fishing for king salmon in the area described above, gear is restricted to the use of an artificial lure only with a single, barbless hook; the use of barbed hooks is prohibited while fishing in this area for king salmon. A “barbless” hook is a hook that is manufactured without a barb or the barb has been completely removed or compressed so the barb is in complete contact with the shaft of the hook. Fishing with single barbed hooks for other species such as red salmon, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden is permitted.
The king salmon closure upstream from ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek remains in effect. In this area, 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. Fishing for other species such as red salmon, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden with barbed single hooks is still permitted.
Anglers are reminded that bait/scent is still prohibited on the entire Kenai River.
Through July 16, indices used to assess inriver king salmon abundance indicate a run that is below average. The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for Kenai River late-run king salmon is 15,000 to 30,000 king salmon. The DIDSON sonar estimate of cumulative king salmon passage into the Kenai River through July 15 was 3,208 fish. The sport harvest of king salmon in the Kenai River as estimated by an in-season creel survey was 404 fish. At the current rate of passage and harvest, the sonar estimates indicate the escapement goal may not be achieved. Therefore, restrictions are warranted to further reduce the mortality of king salmon as the run continues to develop and projections of escapement solidify. 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.kenaiChinook .