(Released: February 26, 2020 - Expired: June 15, 2020)

Division of Sport Fish
Dave Rutz, 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

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

Anglers May Only Retain Hatchery King Salmon in the Ninilchik River

(Homer) - In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring sport fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing restrictions for king salmon in the Ninilchik River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 23 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 15, 2020. The king salmon bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River is limited to only hatchery king salmon. Hatchery king salmon are recognized by a missing adipose fin and healed adipose fin-clip scar. All naturally-produced or wild king salmon have an adipose fin, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

The bag and possession limits for anglers is one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and 10 hatchery king salmon under 20 inches. Anglers may fish for king salmon on the Ninilchik River during the Memorial Day weekend (May 23-May 25, 2020), and the following two weekends and Mondays following each weekend, (May 30-June 1 and June 6-June 8). These regulation restrictions also affect the Wednesday, June 3 Ninilchik Youth-Only Fishery. During the Youth-Only Fishery, the bag and possession limit is one hatchery king salmon of any size. There are currently no restrictions on the hatchery-only king salmon fishery in the Ninilchik River that begins on June 16.

“The Ninilchik River and other Lower Cook Inlet streams continue to be managed conservatively,” stated Area Management Biologist Mike Booz. “The Ninilchik River provides some additional fishing opportunity because it is stocked annually with hatchery-reared king salmon. Restricting the harvest to hatchery-reared king salmon increases the likelihood of meeting the wild king salmon escapement goal, while also collecting wild broodstock to re-stock the Ninilchik River.”

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-7-05-20 reduces the annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish in the Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point from April 1-July 15, 2020. In addition, emergency order 2-KS-7-06-20 restricts fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages from May 16–June 30. Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

King salmon escapement monitoring will begin in May using sonar and underwater video on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. As the runs progress, run strength will be evaluated to determine future management actions.

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