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

Advisory Announcement
(Released: July 12, 2021 - Expired: July 31, 2021)

CONTACT: Colton Lipka
Area Management Biologist
(907) 262-9368

Kenai River King Salmon Fishing Restricted to Catch-and-Release Only

(Soldotna) - To protect returning king salmon and increase fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is restricting the king salmon fishery on the Kenai River drainage to catch-and-release only effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 14 through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2021. Only one unbaited, single-hook may be used, and retention of king salmon is prohibited while sport fishing on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake. King salmon of any size may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

King salmon passage into the Kenai River is proceeding at a rate less than what is needed to achieve the escapement goal. In-season projections estimate the end of escapement with mean run timing to be 10,778 large fish under current regulations, which is well below the escapement goal. The mean quarter point of the run is on July 17 and the midpoint is on July 27. ADF&G monitors and assesses the run daily in order to achieve the escapement goal of 15,000 - 30,000 large king salmon.

“The 2021 king salmon late-run to the Kenai River is significantly underperforming preseason expectations. It is still early in the run, but indicators so far are predicting a weak return similar to 2019 and 2020. Without further restrictions to harvest, the goal for Kenai River late-run king salmon is not expected to be achieved,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka.

ADF&G staff will be closely monitoring this fishery as the season progresses and additional actions may be taken if necessary based on in-season information.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368 or Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller at (907) 262-9368.