According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the restrictions downstream of the Sterling Highway bridge in Soldotna are no longer necessary, after sonar recorded an estimated 16,869 king salmon on the river as of Monday.
“The (sonar-based) king salmon escapement will be larger than the past two years and will likely provide for an adequate spawning escapement based on comparison with previous years,” state biologists wrote in a Wednesday statement. “This determination could not have been made without the relatively strong and sustained passage of fish observed since July 25.”
In a second order Wednesday, Fish and Game reduced bag and possession limits for Jim Creek cohos from from two fish to one, effective at 6 a.m. Friday. Anglers may harvest up to three non-king salmon, one of which may be a coho, during fishing hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Officials described this year’s Jim Creek coho run as below average, but said that weakness didn’t affect other waterways in the area.
“While angler reports of fishing success has improved recently, fishing success has been sporadic and below average for this time of the season,” biologists wrote. “Fish, Cottonwood, and Wasilla creeks are excluded from this restriction because the coho salmon escapement goal is expected to be achieved at Fish Creek and run strength at Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks typically mirrors that of Fish Creek.”