(Released: February 14, 2019 - Expired: July 31, 2019)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Colton Lipka, Area Management Biologist
(Soldotna) - In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions for the early-run king salmon in the Kenai River drainage downstream of the outlet of Skilak Lake effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. From May 1 through June 30, king salmon of any size may not be retained in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. That restriction will continue July 1 through July 31, in the waters from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. Only one, unbaited, single-hook artificial lure may be used in the waters restricted to catch-and-release. King salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
However, from July 1- July 31, 2019, anglers will be able to retain king salmon in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the ADF&G markers 300 yards downstream from Slikok Creek. In this section, bait is allowed; however, only a single hook lure or fly may be used during this time.
“In an effort to protect our king salmon fishery resources, which are important to anglers and our fishery managers, and ensure our fishery management is consistent with the regulatory management plan, the early king salmon run on the Kenai River is restricted to non-retention in an effort to meet our 2019 early-run escapement goal,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Anglers have noticed that the Kenai River king salmon and other king salmon stocks throughout Cook Inlet are experiencing an extended period of low productivity and restricting the fishery preseason is warranted.”
ADF&G staff will be closely monitoring this fishery inseason and if data assessment projects indicate further action is warranted in season actions may be taken.
The 2019 Kenai River King Salmon Early-Run Forecast can be found on the Northern Kenai Peninsula Management Area webpage under Annual Run Outlook. For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368.