Fishing for king salmon the Kenai and Kasilof rivers will be catch-and-release only starting Wednesday.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. Not enough large kings are coming back to the river to meet the escapement goal, so the restriction is to help preserve more of the fish, according to the department. As of Sunday, 1,699 large kings—that’s kings 75 centimeters or greater from mid-eye to tail fork, the only ones that the department counts toward escapement—had passed the sonar on the Kenai River. Under current projections, there won’t be enough to meet the escapement goal.
The Kasilof River is now catch-and-release too, which follows the department’s pattern of restricting both rivers to prevent anglers from all just moving from one river to another. The restriction applies to all Kasilof kings, both hatchery and wild, though the hatchery kings should be largely done.
At the same time, anglers can now keep up to six sockeye salmon per day with twelve in possession on the Kasilof. So far, more than 188,000 sockeye have passed the sonar in the Kasilof, despite commercial fishing and a dipnet fishery at the mouth, and projections are for the run to go over the escapement goal there.
More information is available on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s website.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org.