Fish and Game press release:
Effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 19, the Kenai River will close to king salmon fishing in an effort to conserve late-run king salmon escapement.
Anglers are advised this closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
As directed by the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan, if the projected inriver return of Kenai River late-run king salmon is less than 17,800 king salmon, the department shall close the sport fisheries in the Kenai River.
King salmon runs to Cook Inlet, including early-run Kenai River king salmon, and throughout Alaska, are experiencing a period of low productivity and low run strength.
The department’s information, including data from in-river assessment programs, indicates that the Kenai River late-run is also experiencing low strength. As of July 16, more than 40 percent of the late-run is complete and all indices used to assess in-river
abundance indicate a run that is well below average.
In-season projections show all indices will not achieve their respective minimum inseason management objective by the end of the run in early August. Based on projections of the in-season management
objectives set at run-strength levels that ensure adequate escapement, the projected in-river run is less than the escapement goal and closure of the sport fishery is required.
The prohibition on the use of bait/scent during July remains in effect.
For information of in-season assessment of Kenai River king salmon visit our website at: