(Released: February 26, 2020 - Expired: December 31, 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: Colton Lipka, Area Management Biologist
(907) 262-9368

New Regulations for the Northern Kenai Peninsula Sport Fisheries in 2020

(Soldotna) - The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) adopted several proposals establishing new sport fish regulations for the Kenai River and the Northern Kenai Peninsula Area at its Anchorage February 2020 meeting. Regulatory changes are summarized below as a service to anglers, and not as a complete digest of all sport fishing regulations. The new regulations will take effect with the release of the 2020 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet when it is issued the first week of April 2020. Please see the 2020 booklet for a complete summary of the Kenai Peninsula sport fisheries regulations.

All Kenai Peninsula Freshwaters:

  • All northern pike caught in Kenai Peninsula freshwaters must be killed and cannot be released back into the water alive. Northern pike are an invasive species on the Kenai Peninsula and significantly impact native fish species. Anglers who catch a northern pike from Kenai Peninsula freshwaters are encouraged to report and if possible, deliver the dispatched fish to the nearest ADF&G office.

Northern Kenai Peninsula Freshwaters:

  • Bench and Bishop creeks are closed to sport fishing from May 1 through June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.
  • On the Kasilof River, a registered sport fishing guide may now fish from shore with clients except in that area between an ADF&G marker located at the confluence of Crooked Creek downstream, approximately one-half mile to an ADF&G marker at the cut bank (People’s Hole).

Kenai River Drainage:

  • Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan revisions:
  • Established an optimal escapement goal (OEG) for late-run king salmon of 15,000 – 30,000 large king salmon (>75 cm METF or 34 inches total length).
  • Added the restrictive option to prohibit the retention of king salmon that are 34 inches or longer in total length if required to conserve large king salmon when abundance is low.
  • Paired restrictions with Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries may be extended into August and begin as early as June 20 if required to conserve king salmon when abundance is low.
  • Registered Kenai River sport fishing guides may now transport up to five anglers to shore fishing locations during the month of July. Sport fishing guides may not have more than four anglers on board while fishing from a vessel in July.

Upcoming Board of Fisheries Meeting Discussion

  • The Kenai River early-run king salmon fishery maximum size of retention limit will be discussed under Proposal 284 during the upcoming Statewide Board of Fisheries meeting which will be held in Anchorage from March 8 - March 11, 2020. If adopted, this proposal would reduce the size of king salmon that may be retained during the early-run fishery from less than 36 inches to less than 34 inches. This would align the early-run king salmon sport fishing regulation with recently adopted provisions for the late-run king salmon fishery.
  • For additional information about the BOF upcoming meeting and proposals, please contact the Boards Support Section at (907) 465-4110 or visit the BOF webpage.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka or Assistant Area Management Biologist Jenny gates at (907) 262-9368.