subscribe iconKing Salmon Run Summary

Area Sport Fishing Reports
Northern Kenai

fish Scales Season Text
Northern Kenai Peninsula Sport Fish Management Area
King Salmon
Kenai River Early Run

The outlook for the early-run of Kenai River king salmon in 2019 was below average, with a large fish (>75 cm mid eye to tail fork length or approximately >34 inches in total length) forecast of 3,168 fish. The 2019 forecasted total run of large king salmon was less than the Optimal Escapement Goal (OEG) of 3,900-6,600 fish which prevented the fishery from opening without restrictions. The run-timing to the river mile 14 sonar for large king salmon was on time at the quarter point of June 4, 2019, and one day early on June 10 at the average mid-point of June 11. The estimated preliminary total in-river run of 4,188 fish was larger than the forecast but remained well below the historical average.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective May 1, 2019, prohibited the retention of early-run king salmon in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake through June 30. The retention of king salmon continued to be prohibited from July 1 through July 31, from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to the outlet of Skilak lake. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure was allowed in waters restricted to catch-and-release.

On July 4, 2019, king salmon fishing reopened in the Kenai River from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream of the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake to the retention of king salmon under general regulations.

Inseason Sampling

Netting

Approximately 59% were ≥750 mm in total length.

Sex ratio all-sized king salmon was 33% male and 67% female.

About 91% of king salmon sampled were two to five ocean fish (14% 700mm - 899 mm, 65% 500 mm - 699 mm, 12% 900 mm - 1,099 mm, and 1% >1100 mm).

Harvest

Zero king salmon were harvested in the early-run sport fishery.

Table 1. Summary of preliminary catch, harvest, and escapement, Kenai River early-run king salmon (≥750 mm) fishery, 2019
Escapement Goal Range 3,900 to 6,600 large king salmon (≥750 mm)
Total Catcha 79
Total Harvesta Below sonar = 0; Above sonar = 0; Total = 0
Sonar Estimate In-River 4,186
Preliminary Escapement Approximately 4,173
aLower river (below Soldotna Bridge).
Kenai River Late Run

The outlook for the late-run of Kenai River king salmon in 2019 was well below average, with a large king salmon (>75 cm mid eye to tail fork length) forecast of approximately 21,746 fish. Although the forecasted total run of large fish approximated the mid-point of the large fish Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) of 13,500-27,000 fish, historical harvest data indicated the SEG would not be met without restricting fisheries. Based on the estimated mean of the mid-point for 2013-2018 runs of July 26, the 2019 run was four days early. The preliminary inseason estimate of the total run of large king salmon is 14,020 fish. The preliminary escapement estimate is 11,671 large king salmon.

Management Actions

On July 1, 2019, bait was prohibited on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. Anglers were allowed to harvest king salmon on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. This restriction was in conjunction with the Kenai River early-run king salmon sport fishing restrictions prohibiting the retention of king salmon of any size from ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake.

Inseason Sampling

Netting

Approximately 60% were ≥750 mm in total length.

Sex ratios for fish ≥500 mm was 35% female and 65% male.

About 94% of king salmon sampled were two to five ocean fish (22% 500 mm - 699 mm, 44% 700 mm - 899 mm, 27% 900 mm - 1,099 mm, and 1% >1,100 mm).

Harvest

47% of the harvest was comprised of large (≥750 mm) king salmon.

49% of the king salmon ≥750 mm harvested were female.

Table 1. Summary of preliminary catch, harvest, and escapement, Kenai River late-run king salmon (≥ 750 mm) fishery, 2019
Escapement Goal Range 13,700 to 27,000 large king salmon (≥750 mm)
Total Catcha 890
Total Harvesta Below sonar = 265; Above sonar = 507; Total = 772
Sonar Estimate In-River 11,868
Preliminary Escapement Approximately 11,671
aLower river (below Soldotna Bridge).
Kasilof River

This spring, approximately 126,600 king salmon smolt were successfully stocked into Crooked Creek to augment natural production and enhance recreational fishing opportunity in the Kasilof River. The natural component of the Crooked Creek early-run king salmon return is managed to achieve SEG of 650-1,700 king salmon. The estimated escapement of wild (naturally-produced) king salmon was 1,444 fish. The egg take goal for future stocking of Crooked Creek was 32 pairs of naturally-produced king salmon of which 45 pairs were spawned in 2019.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective May 1, 2019, restricted the early-run king salmon limits to one hatchery fish, 20 inches or greater in length, in the Kasilof River drainage. The retention of naturally-produced king salmon was prohibited. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure was allowed.

On July 1, 2019, bait and multiple hooks were prohibited in the Kasilof River drainage.

Sockeye Salmon
Kenai River

The Upper Cook Inlet sockeye salmon forecast projected a total run of 6.0 million fish: 3.8 million fish in the Kenai River, 873,000 fish in the Kasilof River, with the remaining 1.3 million fish comprised of Susitna River and unmonitored systems. Based on the preseason forecast, the sockeye salmon run was managed on the middle tier for runs of 2.3-4.6 million Kenai River sockeye salmon, with an inriver goal of 1.0-1.3 million sockeye salmon. On July 26, 2019, ADF&G projected the total Kenai River sockeye salmon run would be between 2.3-4.6 million fish. The preliminary inriver Kenai River sonar passage estimate was 1,849,054 sockeye salmon.

Management Actions

On July 28, 2019, the sockeye salmon limits were increased to six fish per day and twelve fish in possession from the mouth of the Kenai River to Skilak Lake.

Russian River - Early Run

The escapement goal for Russian River early-run sockeye salmon is a Biological Escapement Goal (BEG) of 22,000-44,000 fish. The weir count on July 14, 2019, was 125,942 sockeye salmon, significantly exceeding the upper end of the BEG.

Management Actions

On June 12, 2019, the Russian River Sanctuary area opened early for sport fishing.

On June 14, 2019, the sockeye salmon limits were increased to six fish per day and twelve fish in possession for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River. The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River includes the area that extends from Skilak Lake upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman's Landing (this includes the Russian River Sanctuary Area) and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls.

On June 19, 2019, the sockeye salmon limits were increased to nine fish per day and eighteen fish in possession for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River. The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River includes the area that extends from Skilak Lake upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing (this includes the Russian River Sanctuary Area) and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls.

Russian River - Late Run

The escapement goal for Russian River late-run sockeye salmon is a SEG of 30,000-110,000 fish. Due to the Swan Lake Fire, the Russian River field camp and weir was evacuated and subsequently pulled on August 18, 2019. The weir count on August 18 at approximately 12:00 p.m. was 64,585 sockeye salmon.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented during the 2019 sport fishery.

Kasilof River

The forecast for Kasilof River sockeye salmon was 873,000 fish. Kasilof sockeye salmon are managed for a BEG of 160,000-340,000 salmon, and an OEG of 160,000-390,000 fish. The sockeye salmon sonar quit enumerating salmon passage on August 12, 2019, with a preliminary estimate of 378,416 fish.

Management Actions

On July 24, 2019, the sockeye salmon limits were increased to six fish per day and twelve fish in possession; however, no more than two fish per day and in possession could be coho salmon, in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing.

Coho Salmon
Kenai River

Freshwater guide logbook reports were discontinued in 2019. These guide logbook reports were used in the past to gauge Kenai River coho salmon sport catch, harvest, and angler effort. Angler reports indicate that coho salmon were showing up in the harvest during the last week of July and catches were reported as good through August and slowed in September.

Management Actions

On August 6, 2019, bait and multiple hooks were prohibited in the in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to Skilak Lake to minimize incidental catch of late-run king salmon.

Personal Use Dip Net Fisheries
Kasilof River and Kenai River

Final results from the 2019 season have not been compiled, but preliminary information indicates 21,180 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permits were issued electronically. The number of paper permits and total permits issued is not yet known. Typically, about 80% of the Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permits have some Kenai River harvest reported on them. The Kasilof River dipnet fishery was open by regulation June 25-August 7 with expanded fishing area allowed on July 24, 2019. The Kenai River dipnet fishery opened by regulation on July 10 and personal use fisherman were allowed to fish 24 hours a day beginning on July 27, 2019.

Harvest Reports

The total number of Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permits issued for the 2019 season is not yet known. Nonetheless, 8,241 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permits have been returned to date via online reporting, an initial return rate of 39%. A reminder letter will be mailed to permit holders who have not yet returned their harvest record. Typically, permit returns from the reminder letters brings the total permit returns to approximately 83%. Harvest data will be keypunched by the end of October and estimates of total harvest will be available in January 2020.

Management Actions

On July 10, 2019, the retention of king salmon in the Kenai River personal use fishery was prohibited.

On July 24, 2019, the Kasilof River dipnetting area was expanded. Dipnetting from the shore was allowed from ADF&G markers on Cook Inlet beaches upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge and boat dipnetting was allowed from ADF&G markers located on Cook Inlet beaches upstream to ADF&G markers at approximately river mile 3 of the Kasilof River.

On July 27, 2019, the Kenai River personal use fishery was opened 24 hours per day.

See the printable PDF version, which includes a table of Region II Escapement Goals and Escapements (2008-2018).