Area Sport Fishing Reports
Southern Kenai

fish Scales
Lower Cook Inlet Sport Fish Management Area
King Salmon
Anchor River

The 2021 preseason inriver forecast of 3,791 king salmon was just below the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 3,800-7,600 fish. Given the uncertainty with recent annual runs, preseason restrictions were issued. King salmon escapement was monitored on the South and North forks of Anchor River beginning in early-May and continued throughout the run. The preliminary escapement estimate was 4,300 fish which achieved the SEG. The cumulative run-timing mid-point (July 6) was 23 days late compared to the historical average mid-point of June 14. The sport fishery occurred for eight days prior to closing by emergency order. Fishing was described as poor over the season.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective May 22, 2021, restricted sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures during the king salmon season.

On June 5, 2021, the Anchor River and Deep Creek closed to all sport fishing through July 15.

Ninilchik River

No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2021 wild Ninilchik River king salmon run. Hatchery king salmon are stocked in the Ninilchik River to support the inriver sport fishery. The fishery occurred with preseason restrictions that prohibited the retention of wild king salmon. The harvest of hatchery king salmon was allowed during both the three 3-day weekends and the hatchery only season. The sport fishery for hatchery king salmon was liberalized on June 12, 2021, to increase the bag limit from one to two hatchery fish and remove the annual limit requirement. The hatchery king salmon run was above average and provided anglers good fishing over both seasons.

King salmon escapement was fully enumerated just above the fishery at approximately two miles upstream from the mouth. An instream video weir was operated from mid-May to early-August at this location, and the count was 909 wild king salmon and 1,697 hatchery king salmon. The mid-point of the wild and hatchery runs to the lower weir were, on June 13, and June 15, respectively.

The broodstock collection weir, located approximately five miles upstream from the mouth, was used to monitor escapement in regard to meeting the current SEG of 750 - 1,300 wild king salmon. The broodstock collection weir location also used instream video and was operated from mid-May through mid-August. After accounting for the removal of broodstock, the escapement was 772 wild king salmon, which met the SEG. Based on weir counts at both locations, 86% of the wild king salmon and 95% of the hatchery king salmon counted through the lower weir also reached the broodstock collection weir.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective May 29, 2021, reduced the king salmon limits to one hatchery king salmon, 20 inches or greater in length in the Ninilchik River drainage.

On June 12, 2021, in the Ninilchik River drainage the bag and possession limits of hatchery king salmon 20inches or greater in length were increased from one fish to two fish and the annual limit of hatchery king salmon 20inches or greater in length was removed. These changes were effective through October 31.

Deep Creek

No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2021 Deep Creek king salmon run. The sport fishery began with preseason restrictions based on management actions for the Anchor River. Deep Creek has a SEG of 350 king salmon and is assessed post-season via a single aerial survey. No survey was conducted in 2021 due to a lack of funding. In 2021, the Deep Creek king salmon sport fishery occurred for three days before closing by emergency order. Fishing was described as poor due to high, turbid water conditions.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective May 16, 2020, restricted gear to one, unbaited, single-hook artificial lures during king salmon season.

On June 5, 2021, the Anchor River and Deep Creek closed to all sport fishing through July 15.

Marine Fisheries

Sport fishing for king salmon in Cook Inlet was popular in the Winter (September 1-March 31) and the Summer (April 1-August 31) fisheries. The summer fishery in north of Bluff Point began with preseason restrictions to protect king salmon returning to Cook Inlet drainages. The performance of these fisheries are only assessed post season with the Statewide Harvest Survey and charter logbook data and harvest estimates will not be available until 2022. In the winter fishery, marine weather limited fishing opportunity through March but fishing was good throughout the season. During the summer fisheries, effort was focused on Lower Cook Inlet and anglers found king salmon scattered throughout the nearshore waters of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective April 1, 2021, reduced the king salmon annual limit of fish 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish in the Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.).

On June 5, 2021, king salmon fishing was prohibited, including catch-and-release, in the Upper Cook Inlet saltwaters within one mile of shore north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.) through July 15.

On July 19, 2021, king salmon fishing was prohibited, including catch-and-release, in the Upper Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.) through July 31.

Terminal Stocked
Salmon Fisheries
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

In 2021, the stocking goals were met for Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (NDFL) on the Homer Spit with approximately 315,000 king salmon smolt and 120,000 coho salmon smolt. This year’s king salmon stocking was the fourth consecutive year with a 30% increase over historical king salmon stockings. Statewide Harvest Survey estimates harvest for these fisheries and will not be available until 2022. Overall, the king salmon fishery was likely above-average harvest for recent years and the coho salmon fishery was likely below-average. There were several hundred king salmon harvested by anglers during the period open to snagging.

Management Actions

On June 25, 2021, snagging was allowed in the NDFL through June 27 to harvest the remainder of the king salmon milling in the lagoon prior to coho salmon returning.

No management actions were implemented during the 2021 coho salmon sport fishery season.

Personal Use Dip Net Fisheries
China Poot Creek

The China Poot Creek personal use dip net fishery does not require a permit for participation so there is no harvest and effort data available for 2021. The Commercial Fish Division conducts weekly foot surveys to count sockeye and pink salmon. There was a large build-up of over a thousand sockeye salmon in the creek when the fishery opened on July 1, 2021, that was quickly harvested. Success through most of July was fair but improved over the last week of the season. The success is this fishery is most likely attributed to changes in commercial fishing and cost recoveries operations associated with the stocking. An emergency order was issued to extend the season to harvest the remaining sockeye salmon. Success was excellent during this extension, but effort was low and approximately 300 sockeye salmon remained in the creek after the closure.

Management Actions

On August 4, 2021, the season was extended through August 15 to harvest the remainder of the sockeye salmon run.

Razor Clams
Eastside

All East Cook Inlet beaches remained closed to sport and personal use clamming in 2021 due to the continued below average abundances of adult-sized razor clams at Clam Gulch and Ninilchik. The affected area runs from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit. Abundance surveys were conducted in April and May at both Clam Gulch and Ninilchik beaches. Adult-sized razor clams remained below average at both areas but above average abundances were detected at Ninilchik beaches.

Management Actions

A preseason emergency order effective January 1, 2021, closed all East Cook Inlet beaches to personal use and sport clamming for all clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit for 2021.

Westside

The West Cook Inlet beaches remained open to commercial, sport, and personal use clamming in 2021. Harvest estimates for the sport fishery are not available yet but clammers report good success at Polly Creek and Crescent River Bar areas with larger clams being found at Crescent River Bar.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented during the 2021 sport fishery.

Tanner Crab
Cook Inlet Tanner Crab

The 2020-2021 season occurred from October 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021. The preliminary combined sport and subsistence Tanner crab harvest in the Cook Inlet & North Gulf Coast area was 6,352 male Tanner crabs. During the 2020-2021 season, 1,987 sport and subsistence permits were issued. Of these, 92% reported and will be eligible to receive a permit for the upcoming season. In total, 155 individuals did not report and are ineligible to receive a permit for the 2021-2022 season. No trawl surveys were conducted in 2019 or 2020 so the limited fishery was implemented for the 2021-2022 season which opened on October 1. Permits are only available through ADF&Gs online store.

Management Actions

No management actions were implemented for the 2021-2022 fishery season.

See the printable PDF version, which includes a table of Region II Escapement Goals and Escapements (2010-2020).