Area Management Biologist
Phone: (907) 262-9368
June 16, 2016
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is easing sport fishing restrictions on the Kenai River and opening a portion of the river to the harvest of early-run king salmon from Saturday, June 18, through Thursday, June 30.
Sport fish anglers will be allowed to harvest king salmon under existing sport fish regulations from the mouth of the Kenai River upstream to a department marker located approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek. This section equates to roughly 18 river miles.
Existing regulations for this area begin on page 68 of the 2016 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations summary booklet. Regulations prohibit the use of bait, and allow for the use of only one unbaited, single-hook (with or without a barb), artificial fly or lure. In addition, only king salmon less than 42 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length may be retained. Restrictions to guided fishing days and hours, as well as restrictions to fishing from a motorized vessel on Monday’s remain in effect.
"It's proving to be a better year for king salmon returning to the Kenai River," Robert Begich, Area Management Biologist in Soldotna, said. "Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve seen a steady number of fish pass through the sonar at river mile 14. Opening up a section of the river to harvest of king salmon will provide further opportunity to sport fish anglers while still achieving a spawning escapement in the mid to upper range of the optimum escapement goal."
The section of the Kenai River upstream of the department markers located approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek to markers at the outlet of Skilak Lake will remain catch-and-release only for king salmon of any size through June 30. In addition, in this section, anglers are allowed to use only one unbaited, barbless, single-hook, artificial fly or lure. A barbless hook is a hook manufactured without a barb, or a hook with a barb that has been removed or compressed so the barb is in complete contact with the shaft of the hook.
Anglers are reminded that from Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 31, retention of king salmon will be allowed from the mouth of the Kenai River upstream to the department regulatory marker approximately 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek. The department will decide later this month whether or not the use of bait will be allowed at the beginning of the late-run king salmon fishery.
For more information, contact Robert Begich or Jason Pawluk at 907-262-9368.