(Released: July 26, 2018 - Expired: July 31, 2018)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Matt Miller, Cook Inlet Management Coordinator
(Soldotna) - To protect returning sockeye salmon and increase fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing the Kenai River Personal Use Dipnet Fishery effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 30, 2018.
On July 24, 2018, ADF&G reevaluated the Kenai River sockeye salmon run and projected the run will be less than 2.3 million fish. Based on the current passage estimate of sockeye salmon in the Kenai River of 367,895 fish through July 25, the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 700,000 to 1.2 million Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon may not be met without a reduction in harvest of this stock. Therefore, it is warranted to close the Kenai River personal use fishery prior to the season end date of July 31. Restrictions to the commercial and sport fisheries are also being implemented to improve sockeye salmon passage to the Kenai River.
“Sockeye salmon passage by the sonar at river mile 19 have been behind this season, but other indicators suggested perhaps a late run timing,” stated Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “An assessment of the data earlier this week indicated it may just be a weak run. Without further restrictions to sockeye salmon harvest, the goal for Kenai River sockeye salmon is not expected to be achieved.”
Dipnetters are reminded there are still dipnetting opportunities available to catch their 2018 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use annual household salmon limit. The Fish Creek Personal Use Dipnet Fishery opened by emergency order to dipnetting only between 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. through July 31, 2018, and the Kasilof River Personal Use Dipnet Fishery is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week through August 7. Dipnetters have reported success at both of these fisheries in recent days. No retention of king salmon is allowed at either dipnet fishery.
For additional information, please contact Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 262-9368.