Kenai River Fishing Report 3-5-2018

Outlook for 2018 Early Run Tributary Spawning King Salmon

 

Anglers are advised that the 2018 early-run preseason forecast for the Kenai River is for 5,499 king salmon greater than 34 inches. Although, the forecast is lower than the observed 2017 early-run king salmon, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) staff indicate the forecast falls within the desired optimal escapement goal (OEG) of 3,900-6,600 king salmon. According to 5 AAC 57.160 Kenai River and Kasilof River Early-Run King Salmon Management Plan, if the Kenai River early-run king salmon preseason projection falls within or above the OEG, the early-run king salmon sport fishery may start under general regulations for the Kenai River (5 AAC 57.120) until an inseason projection is available.

From January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2018, anglers are reminded the following king salmon regulations are in effect for the waters below Skilak Lake:

  • Bait is prohibited, and only one single-hook, artificial lure may be used.
  • The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is one king salmon. Only king salmon less than 36 inches may be retained. King salmon 36 inches or greater in length may not be removed from the water and must be released.
  • There is an annual limit of five king salmon over 20 inches from all Cook Inlet Drainage waters in combination, which includes only two fish per year over 20 inches can come from the Kenai River. However, fish under 28 inches in length retained in the Kenai River prior to July 1 do not count towards the annual limit. All retained fish that count towards an annual limit must be recorded on a harvest record or your license.
  • The daily bag limit for king salmon less than 20 inches (jacks) is 10 fish.
  • Using the exploitation rates for commercial and sport fisheries from 2017 these regulatory actions are expected to result in an escapement more than 5,000 large fish and achievement of the OEG.
  • Angling limits for other species, such as sockeye, and coho salmon as well as resident trout and Dolly Varden are not affected by these management steps.

For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2018 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Booklet. Anglers are reminded that sport fishing regulations may be superseded by emergency orders throughout the season. However, any emergency order that would liberalize the king salmon sport fishery through July 31, can only occur below Slikok Creek. ADF&G staff will monitor this fishery closely by sonar at River Mile 14 as the season progresses.

Outlook for 2018 Late Run Mainstem Spawning King Salmon

Anglers are advised that the 2018 late-run preseason forecast for the Kenai River is for 21,503 king salmon greater than 34 inches. Although, the forecast is significantly lower than the observed 2017 late-run king salmon, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) staff indicate the forecast falls within the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 13,500-27,000 king salmon. According to 5 AAC 21.359 Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, if the Kenai River late-run king salmon preseason estimate falls within the SEG, the late-run king salmon sport fishery may start under general regulations.

From July 1, 2018, through July 31, 2018, anglers are reminded the following king salmon regulations are in effect for the waters below Skilak Lake:

  • Below the Slikok Creek markers, only single hooks are allowed, bait is allowed, and any size fish may be retained.
  • Above the Slikok Creek markers, only single hooks are allowed; however, bait is NOT allowed, and only fish less than 36 inches may be retained. Above the Slikok Creek markers, king salmon 36 inches or greater in length may not be removed from the water and must be released.
  • The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is one king salmon.
  • There is an annual limit of five king salmon over 20 inches from all Cook Inlet Drainage waters in combination, which includes only two fish per year over 20 inches can come from the Kenai River. All retained fish that count towards an annual limit must be recorded on a harvest record, or your license.
  • The daily bag limit for king salmon less than 20 inches (jacks) is 10 fish.
  • Using the exploitation rates for commercial and sport fisheries from 2017 these regulatory actions are expected to result in an escapement of more than 14,000 large fish and achievement of the SEG.
  • Angling limits for other species, such as sockeye, and coho salmon as well as resident trout and Dolly Varden are not affected by these management steps.

For a complete description of these waters, anglers should refer to the 2018 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Booklet. Anglers are reminded that sport fishing regulations may be superseded by emergency orders throughout the season. However, any emergency order that would liberalize the king salmon sport fishery through July 31, can only occur below Slikok Creek. ADF&G staff will monitor this fishery closely by sonar at River Mile 14 as the season progresses.

 


 

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