The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the Ship Creek sport fishing closure downstream of the Chugach power plant dam, from Sunday through July 13, is necessary for the new William Jack Hernandez Hatchery in the area to stock its tanks.
“Seven hundred fifty (750) adult king salmon are required to meet the brood needs of these stocking programs,” biologists wrote. “As of June 26, ADF&G has been unable to conduct escapement surveys due to high water conditions, and no adult king salmon have been seen upriver at the hatchery facility.”
The closure is slated to end July 14, in time for the creek’s popular coho fishery.
Meanwhile the Sapsuk River, also known as the Nelson River, has been closed to king salmon sport fishing from Friday through 11:59 p.m. on July 25. The closure also prohibits catch-and-release fishing for kings.
“In addition, only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures with a gap of 3/8-inch or less may be used to minimize mortality of released king salmon,” biologists wrote.
Many other areas of the state have fallen under fishing bans and restrictions to protect kings, including the Copper River, parts of Cook Inlet, the lower Kuskokwim River, the Kenai River and the Susitna River drainage.
Other Fish and Game restrictions taking effect June 28 affect the Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainage, which has seen its bag limits for kings longer than 20 inches reduced from two fish per day to one per day, with an annual limit decreased from four fish to two. Bag limits for kings under 20 inches remain at five per day and five in possession, with no annual limit.
“Up to two king salmon recorded before Thursday, June 28, on the harvest portion of an Alaska sport fishing license or harvest record card do not count against the two-king salmon 20 inches or greater in length that may be harvested on or after June 28,” biologists wrote.
Fish and Game also says the Kasilof River, from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge, will fall under an extended bait restriction barring the use of bait and multiple hooks throughout the month of July.