Alaska Department of Fish and Game

United Cook Inlet Drift Association

 

Commercial fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet are also getting more time to harvest the late run of sockeye to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

Redoubt Reporter

 

The Upper Cook Inlet salmon return is beginning to take shape and escapement goals look well within reach for both Kenai and Kasilof river sockeye. But that hasn’t translated to big harvests for commercial fishermen.

Redoubt Reporter

 

Sockeye salmon are still pouring into the Russian river, but the real big fishery on the Kenai Peninsula will get started Wednesday.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game began counting the early run a couple weeks ago and as of Wednesday, 343 chinook had gone past sonar counters. That number is on pace with two of the last three years. The early return was a little higher at this point last year.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

There can be a lot to get ready for this time of year. If you live along one of the peninsula’s many rivers and streams, maybe it’s a good time to think about how to protect that area. That’s what a handful of property owners were doing Monday at the Kenai River Center.


The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is now accepting applications for hunters wanting a prime black bear baiting site.

Applications started coming in on March 1, and the filing period will last through April 12. The next day there will be a random drawing for the spots at the Refuge HQ, and hunters must be present to win.

Any remaining bait sites and permits will go to hunters not present at the drawing on a first-come-first-served basis.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is implementing sport fishing restrictions in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages effective April 1 through July 15, 2019. Sport fishing gear is restricted to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the three drainages.

A combined annual limit has been established to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River.

The sockeye salmon run to the Kenai River this summer should be average. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2019 Upper Cook Inlet salmon forecast, released on Friday.

The forecast run for the whole inlet is for 6,035,000 sockeye, which is above the 20-year average of 5.8 million.

The Kenai River has a total run projection of 3.8 million sockeye, about a quarter-million more than the average. The 2019 goal is for 1 million to1.3 million to escape to the spawning grounds.

A Central Kenai Peninsula League of Women Voters forum Thursday night in Soldotna gave supporters and opponents of Ballot Measure 1 a chance to explain their perspectives and dispel misconceptions about the measure that would expand permitting and protections for anadromous fish habitat in Alaska.

Kaitlin Vadla and Laura Rhyner, with Cook InletKeeper, spoke for the Stand for Salmon side supporting the voter imitative, while Owen Phillips and Linda Hutchings, of Soldotna, represented the Stand for Alaska movement that opposes the measure.

The panel spoke to a full house in assembly chambers at the borough building in Soldotna and covered a lot of ground. Among the questions was what myth each panelist wants to dispel about the measure.


Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

 

Fish politics are a focal point this election season. A statewide ballot initiative seeking to change the state’s habitat protection laws for salmon is getting all sorts of public debate, in the news, on television and radio commercials and, in local forums.

 

 


 

Biking of all stripes is growing in popularity on the Kenai Peninsula. To be fair, it’s happening it lots of other places, too. On the Peninsula, countless volunteer hours have been spent building and maintaining local trails, but infrastructure investment for bike and other multi-use paths is happening, too.

 

 


Alaska Department of Fish and Game

 

For more than 20 years, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has teamed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote health fish habitat through a cost share program that helps landowners pay for rehabilitation work along the Kenai river.

In an effort to keep anglers occupied on the tail end of the summer fishing season, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is rolling out recommendations for an increasing number of sports fish within reach of the Central Peninsula.

For example, in the Resurrection Bay fishing report from the department, the listing of fish species from stream mouths to the pelagic deep include: shrimp, lingcod, halibut, rockfish, Dolly Varden, and of course salmon, both coho and chinook.

In what is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal sportsfishing season, the bag and possession limits on the Kasilof River has been liberalized in an effort to minimize what is now expected to be an over-escapement of sockeye salmon.

In an emergency order, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game increased the bag and possession limits to six fish per day and 12 fish in possession; however, no more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon, in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing.

With all the closures and restrictions lately, one wouldn’t be blamed if they thought there were no more angling opportunities in the central Kenai Peninsula. But they'd be wrong.

First of all, dip-netting is still open at the mouth of the Kasilof River, with just a couple caveats: One, any king salmon caught must be immediately returned to the water, and two, the fishery is for Alaska residents only. Other than that, Fish and Game says dip-netting success on the Kasilof remains good.

On the Kenai Conversation this week, host Jay Barrett welcomes Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishermen Paul Shadura, Jesse Bjorkman and Andy Hall to discuss the downward trajectory of salmon returns, management goals and the need for all gear groups to finally come together and work for the benefit of the fish.

This week’s Central Kenai sportsfishing report is more of a list of things one cannot do on the water in pursuit of a salmon.

Of course the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, which is two days earlier than scheduled.

Meanwhile, from the mouth of the river to Skilak Lake, the bag and possession limit for sockeye 16 inches or longer is reduced to one per day and two in possession effective Monday as well.

City of Kenai Dipnet app

 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued two emergency orders restricting the harvest of sockeye salmon on the Kenai River.

 

Thursday was a slightly better day for sockeye returns to the Kenai river. But some of those fish coming back have raised a little curiosity.

ADF&G

The annual personal use dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River begins Tuesday. But amid expectations of an underperforming salmon return, the City of Kenai, which is host to the fishery, is ready, according to City Manager Paul Ostrander.

After being turned aside in May, the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association has won another audience before the Alaska Board of Fisheries regarding problems the lobbying group has with hatchery pink salmon production in Prince William Sound.

In May, the Board punted the issue to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotton. Last week Cotton sent a letter to KRSA Executive Director Ricky Gease saying he did not find that an emergency existed and denied the petition.

Citing the continued lack of salmon making their way to the spawning grounds, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has taken drastic steps to help boost the escapement. 

In two emergency orders released Friday, the department first cancelled Monday’s scheduled 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. commercial fishing period. Then it took the restrictions a step further, as we hear on the Department’s recorded commercial fishing update: 

On the Kenai Peninsula, salmon are king. Whether they’re king salmon or one of the other species of salmonid that populate our fresh waters. And that’s why when there’s a biologic danger to their existence, people go into high gear to try and protect them.

Take invasive species for example. About 20 years ago, northern pike were illegally introduced into Kenai Peninsula lakes by persons unknown. And they thrived, just like they do elsewhere in Alaska where they naturally occur. But here on the Kenai, the pike’s success came at a cost - the lives of baby salmon.

Commercial salmon fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet will finally get a chance to put their nets in the water on Thursday. It is the first of the fleet’s regular 12-hour Monday-and-Thursday scheduled fishing openings.

Brian Marston, Fish and Game’s area manager for Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries, says this opening will be district-wide.

ADF&G

A half-dozen reminders of recent emergency orders led off this week's Northern Kenai Fishing Report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including a catch-and-release restriction on the Kenai River. But that restriction was superseded today (Monday) in an emergency order when the Department banned all angling for king salmon the Kenai River, even catch-and-release.

Pages