(Released: February 26, 2020 - Expired: July 13, 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: Sam Ivey, Area Management Biologist
(907) 746-6300

King Salmon Restrictions in the Susitna River Drainages

(Palmer) - To protect returning king salmon and ensure fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulations for Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage effective 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 13, 2020. King salmon fishing is closed in Unit 2 of the Susitna River drainage. Any king salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, sport fishing for king salmon in Units 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Susitna River drainages are restricted to catch-and-release. Sport fishing gear is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in all waters of the Susitna River drainage. A single-hook is defined as a hook with only one point.

During this fishery restriction, fishing for other species remains open seven days per week This includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed on certain days during the king salmon season. For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2020 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

“In 2019, certain king salmon stocks of the Mat-Su showed improvement over the poor runs previously experienced in 2017 and 2018, because of this upward trend we are providing anglers a catch-and-release fishing opportunity from the outset of the season,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “That includes the Deshka River, Yentna River and some areas of the Susitna drainage that have been closed in recent years, such as minor tributaries of the lower Susitna drainage south of Deshka, Talkeetna River, upper Susitna River streams north of Talkeetna, and the tributaries of the Chulitna River. Unfortunately, the Eastside Susitna king salmon stock of Unit 2 did not show improvement and will remain closed again this season.”

According to 5 AAC 21.366 Northern District King Salmon Management Plan, which was modified at the 2020 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, if the Deshka River king salmon sport fishery is restricted to catch-and-release fishing, fishing periods in the directed king salmon commercial fishery shall be limited to no more than 6 hours in duration. Because the Chuitna River king salmon sport fishery remains closed, those waters of the Northern District from the wood chip dock to the Susitna River will remained closed during the directed king salmon commercial fishery.

In conjunction with this restriction, emergency order 2-KS-2-09-20 restricts fishing for king salmon in the Little Susitna River to catch-and-release and sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. Please review the emergency orders in their entirety.

This management strategy is designed to provide sport fishing opportunities where possible and achieve king salmon escapement goals during 2020. Weirs on the Deshka and Little Susitna rivers will be used to gauge run strength inseason.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.