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Kenai king fishing to open July with no bait

kenai_king.jpg
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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King salmon fishing on the Kenai River will open with no bait, with retention of kings less than 34 inches long. The Kasilof River will also start July with no bait.

Both rivers have seen low king salmon runs so far this season, with the Kenai River going to no fishing for June. Starting July 1, king salmon fishing will open, but only from a marker just downstream of Slikok Creek down to the mouth. Upstream of Slikok Creek all the way to Skilak Lake will stay closed through July 31, according to an emergency order issued Monday from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The department will continue to monitor the run as the season goes on.

The Kasilof will stay open for king salmon fishing, but with no bait and only as single hook with artificial lure allowed. Both wild and hatchery kings can be kept in that river, but only one per day.

King salmon have been returning in lower numbers across the inlet this year so far. By June 15, with only about two weeks left to go in the early run, Fish and Game had counted 1,165 large kings in the Kenai River, less than half of the lower end of the escapement goal.

Sockeye are coming back too, and the Kasilof River personal use set gill net fishery opened Monday. That fishery allows one personal use setnet per family near the mouth of the Kasilof River and converts to a dip net fishery on June 25. The Russian River sockeye fishery is open as well, though sockeye counts are still somewhat low at the weir on Lower Russian Lake. As of Monday, Fish and Game had counted 1,909 sockeye passing through the weir, as compared to more than 40,000 on the same date last year. The weir is after the fishery, and Fish and Game opened the sanctuary area near the convergence of the Kenai and Russian rivers early this year.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@kdll.org.

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