ANCHORAGE, Alaska—State biologists have closed the English Bay River drainage and Port Graham subdistrict to sport fishing for sockeye salmon effective Wednesday, in conjunction with an existing subsistence closure of the fishery. Changes have also been made to previous king salmon restrictions in the Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainage.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the English Bay River closure, which will be in effect from 12:01 a.m. on Independence Day through the end of the month, is necessary after only 1,909 sockeyes had passed through the English Bay weir as of July 1. The escapement goal for the region is 4,018 sockeyes, with 66 percent of the run already complete by July 1 according to historic run timing.
Fish and Game has also restored an annual limit for Nushagak-Mulchatna kings over 20 inches in length from two fish to four, effective Tuesday through the end of the year, with bag and possession limits remaining at one per day. Bag and possession limits for kings under 20 inches in length remain at five per day and five in possession, with no annual limit.
“All king salmon recorded prior to Tuesday, July 3, on the harvest portion of an Alaska sport fishing license or harvest record card count against the annual limit of four king salmon 20 inches or greater in length,” biologists wrote.
Annual king limits on the river were reduced after this year’s run was projected at fewer than 55,000 fish, but were restored based on a July 1 sonar counts showing 49,645 kings. Other restrictions remain in effect because the run is projected below a threshold of 75,000 fish.