Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, sport fishing for silver salmon will be closed in all waters of the Knik Arm Management Area, excluding Fish Creek and the Eklutna Tailrace.
Popular Knik Arm-area sport fisheries affected by this emergency closure include the Little Susitna River, Wasilla Creek (Rabbit Slough), Cottonwood Creek and Jim Creek.
The closure prohibits all sport fishing for silvers, including catch-and-release. Silvers caught accidentally may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
The 2011 return of silvers to most of the Knik Arm streams appears to be below average as indicated by angler reports, commercial and recreational catch rates, staff surveys and weir counts.
As of Aug. 24, only 1,447 silvers had passed the Little Susitna weir. Based on weir counts, the department projects a total escapement of 6,000 silvers, well below the escapement goal of 10,100 to 17,700 fish.
Fish Creek and the Eklutna Tailrace can remain open because the silver escapement goal was reached at Fish Creek before the sockeye weir closing, and Eklutna Tailrace is a stocked fishery.