Area Sport Fishing Reports
Southern Kenai

fish Scales Season Text
Lower Cook Inlet Sport Fish Management Area
King Salmon
Anchor River

The 2019 preseason inriver forecast of 5,356 king salmon fell within the Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) of 3,800-7,600 fish; however, the second-poorest escapement ever recorded in 2018 prompted preseason restrictions to the sport fishery. King salmon escapement was monitored on the South and North forks of Anchor River beginning in early-May and continued through early-August. The SEG was met with a preliminary escapement estimate of 5,691 fish. The cumulative run-timing to both forks (June 23) was 11 days late compared to the average mid-point of June 14. The sport fishery occurred on three three-day weekends but was closed on Wednesdays and gear was restricted to one unbaited single-hook, artificial lure throughout the season.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2019, prohibited fishing for king salmon in the Anchor River on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five Wednesday openings in May and June 2019.

Closure dates were: May 18-20, May 22, May 29, June 5, June 12, June 15-17, and June 19.

Open dates were: May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-10.

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2019, restricted fishing gear to one, unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages.

A preseason emergency order effective Aril 1, 2019, combined the annual limit of two king salmon between the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all saltwaters between Bluff Point and the Ninilchik River.

Ninilchik River

No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2019 wild Ninilchik River king salmon run. Hatchery king salmon are stocked in the Ninilchik River to support the inriver sport fishery. The fishery occurred with preseason restrictions that limited gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure and prohibited the retention of wild king salmon. The harvest of hatchery king salmon was allowed during both the three 3-day weekends and the hatchery only season.

King salmon escapement was fully enumerated just above the fishery for the first time at approximately two miles. An instream video weir operated from mid-May to early-August at this location, and the count was 1,664 wild king salmon and 1,719 hatchery-reared king salmon. The mid-point of the wild and hatchery-reared runs to the lower weir were within one week of each other, on June 18, 2019, and June 23, respectively.

The broodstock collection weir, located approximately five miles upstream from the mouth, was still used to monitor escapement in regards to meeting the current SEG of 750-1,300 wild king salmon. The broodstock collection weir location also used instream video and was operated from mid-May through mid-August. The wild weir count was 1,296 king salmon and the hatchery-reared weir count was 1,171 king salmon. After accounting for the removal of broodstock, the escapement was 1,185 wild king salmon, which met the SEG. Based on weir counts at both locations, 78% of the wild king salmon and 68% of the hatchery-reared king salmon counted through the lower weir also reached the broodstock collection weir.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2019, reduced the king salmon limits to one hatchery king salmon, 20 inches or greater in length, in the Ninilchik River drainage

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2019, restricted fishing gear to one, unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages.

A preseason emergency order effective Aril 1, 2019, combined the annual limit of two king salmon between the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all saltwaters between Bluff Point and the Ninilchik River.

Deep Creek

No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2019 Deep Creek king salmon run. The fishery began with preseason restrictions based on management actions for the Anchor River and forecasted poor runs throughout Cook Inlet. Deep Creek has a Sustainable Escapement Goal (SEG) of 350 king salmon and was assessed post-season via a single aerial survey. The 2019 survey occurred on July 22, and 751 king salmon were counted, which achieved the SEG. The 2019 king salmon escapement was also fully enumerated using an ARIS sonar and underwater video weir located approximately 2.5 miles upstream from the mouth. The preliminary escapement estimate is 3,495 king salmon with the mid-point of the run on June 27.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2019, restricted fishing gear to one, unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages.

A preseason emergency order effective Aril 1, 2019, combined the annual limit of two king salmon between the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all saltwaters between Bluff Point and the Ninilchik River.

Marine Fisheries

Sport fishing for king salmon in Cook Inlet was popular in both the Winter (September 1-March 31) and the Summer (April 1-August 31) fisheries. The summer fishery in north of Bluff Point began with preseason restrictions to protect king salmon returning to Cook Inlet drainages. Statewide Harvest Survey harvest estimates for these fisheries and will not be available until 2020. In general, fishing was good and angler effort was high in the fall months of the winter fishery. Effort was low in Upper Cook Inlet during the summer fishery.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective Aril 1, 2019, combined the annual limit of two king salmon between the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all saltwaters between Bluff Point and the Ninilchik River.

Razor Clams
Eastside

All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches remained closed to sport and personal use clamming in 2019 due to the continued historical low abundances of mature-sized razor clams at Clam Gulch and Ninilchik. The affected area runs from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit. Little recruitment of new juvenile clams was detected at the Ninilchik and Clam Gulch beaches during the spring abundance surveys. Abundance of juvenile clams is still well above historical average and are expected to start recruiting to the adult size in 2020.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective January 1, 2019, closed all Eastside Cook Inlet beaches to clamming for all species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit for 2019.

Westside

The Westside Cook Inlets beaches remained open to commercial, sport, and personal use clamming in 2019. Harvest estimates for the sport fishery are not available yet.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented during the 2019 sport fishery.

Terminal Stocked
Salmon Fisheries
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

In 2019, the stocking goals were met for Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (NDFL) on the Homer Spit with approximately 315,000 king salmon smolt and 120,000 coho salmon smolt. This year's king salmon stocking was a 30% increase over recent annual stockings. Statewide Harvest Survey estimates harvest for these fisheries and will not be available until 2020. Overall, the king salmon fishery was likely below-average harvest and the coho salmon fishery was likely average.

Management Actions

On July 4, 2019, snagging was allowed in the NDFL from July 4-7 to harvest the remainder of the king salmon milling in the lagoon prior to coho salmon returning..

No management actions were implemented during the 2019 coho salmon sport fishery season.

Personal Use Fisheries
China Poot Creek

The China Poot Creek personal use dip net fishery does not require a permit for participation so there is no harvest and effort data available for 2019. Participants reported consistently fair to good sockeye salmon harvest opportunity.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented during the 2019 personal use fishery.

Tanner Crab
Cook Inlet Tanner Crab

The 2018-2019 season occurred from October 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019. The preliminary combined harvest was 8,319 based on permit-reported harvest. The Kachemak Bay Tanner crab trawl survey was conducted in late-May 2019. The survey estimated an abundance of 273,511 legal male Tanner crab which is a 23% increase from 2018. The 2018-2019 sport and subsistence fisheries are scheduled to open on October 1, 2019. Permits are only available through ADF&Gs online store.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented during the 2018-2019 tanner crab fishery season

See the printable PDF version, which includes a table of Region II Escapement Goals and Escapements (2010-2019).