ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Kenai River has been closed to sport fishing for the early King salmon run, Fish and Game announced Tuesday.
The closure goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 20 and lasts through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, July 31.
From June 20-June 30, anglers may not fish for king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from its mouth to the outlet of Skilak Lake.
From July 1-July 31, anglers may not fish for king salmon of any size in the Kenai River from the Fish and Game marker 300 yards downstream from Slikok Creek to the marker at the outlet of Skilak Lake.
The department says as of June 17, about 2,116 large king salmon have passed the sonar counter at river mile 13.7.
“This closure is not an easy decision; however, even after prohibiting harvest of king salmon in the fishery last week, we are not projecting to meet the escapement goal and need to take this next step,” Cook Inlet management coordinator Matt Miller wrote in the emergency order.
Fish and Game says the optimal escapement goal for early-run Kenai River kings is 3,900-6,600 large king salmon. So far, the run projection ranges from 3,095 to 3,609 large king salmon.
See the full closure here, and make sure to check Fish and Game's web site for emergency orders before you head out.
Meanwhile, the department is opening another area river early to sockeye fishing. The Russian River Sanctuary opened to red salmon fishing at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, and will stay open through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 14.
See the full release on regulations here.
Fish and Game reminds anglers that after August 20, retaining a sockeye salmon is prohibited.