Area Management Biologist
July 24, 2014
Effective 12:01 a.m., Saturday, July 26, 2014 the Kenai River will close to king salmon fishing in an effort to conserve late-run king salmon escapement.
Anglers are advised this closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
The department manages the Kenai River late king salmon run under guidelines provided in the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, to ensure the sustainable escapement goal of 15,000-30,000 fish is achieved. If the projected escapement of Kenai River late-run king salmon is less than 15,000 king salmon, the plan directs the department to close the sport fisheries in the Kenai River and in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point to the taking of king salmon.
As of July 23, the cumulative sonar estimate of king salmon passage into the Kenai River was 8,023 fish. The projected sport harvest and catch and release mortality of king salmon in the Kenai River upstream of the sonar through the end of the season as estimated by an in-season creel survey is approximately 645 fish. The projection of spawning escapement over the past four days has stabilized at an estimate of 13,500 to 14,000 fish, indicating the sustainable escapement goal will not be achieved. Therefore, it is warranted to close sport fishing for late-run king salmon in the Kenai River as specified in the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan.
Anglers are reminded that bait/scent is prohibited on the entire Kenai River.
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 .