From an ADF&G press release:
Bait will soon be prohibited throughout the lower and middle Kenai River.
From the mouth of the Kenai upstream to ADF&G markers at the outlet of Skilak Lake, sport fishing gear is limited to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. The rule takes effect at 12:01 a.m., Monday, July 25, and will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 31.
Bait may not be used in this 50-mile area of river when fishing for any species.
Through July 21, all indicators of the abundance of late-run king salmon in the Kenai indicate a run well below average for the third consecutive year. All
department assessment methods indicate the late run is similar to the runs of 2009 and 2010. The final 2009 escapement estimate was below the "sustainable escapement goal" and the 2010 escapement was likely below it too.
Based on the similarities of the indicators this year to the last two years, it's likely the escapement goal will not be achieved with current sport fishing catch rates.
A portion of the Kenai River king fishery was already restricted to catch-and-release as follows:
In the Kenai drainage from the ADF&G regulatory markers about 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, only king salmon less than 20 inches long or 55 inches or longer may be kept, kings 20 inches or longer and less than 55 inches long may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. This rule is in effect through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 31.
For information about our in-season assessment of Kenai River king runs, visit our website