early run king salmon

Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens on Friday at 6 a.m. This year, though, dipnetters are not allowed to keep any king salmon they net. They have to let those go immediately.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. The department is concerned about enough king salmon making it up the river for escapement, so dipnetters are restricted from keeping them. Sportfishermen are not allowed to use bait, either, and are restricted as to where they can fish and how many big fish they can keep.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Starting Wednesday, king salmon fishing on the Kenai River will be closed entirely through the end of June.

So far, only 583 large kings have come back to the river, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That’s a little more than a third of the number that had passed the sonar on the same day last year, and well below the preseason forecast.

Early king run trickling back to Kenai river

May 30, 2019
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.