Kenai River closing to sockeye salmon fishing
You have a few days left to get your sockeye salmon fishing in before the Kenai River closes, according to Fish and Game officials.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sent out a release stating the closure is due to low sockeye salmon returns. The restriction is set to protect returning fish and future fishing opportunities.
"The Kenai River is closed to fishing for sockeye salmon from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge at the outlet of Kenai Lake, except those waters of the Upper Kenai River, Russian River, and Russian River confluence areas remain open," according to a release from ADF&G. "The waters of the Russian River confluence remain open to allow anglers to target Russian River sockeye salmon."
The closure will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4.
“The department doesn’t take this action lightly,” stated Sport Fish Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller. “This fishery is important economically to the community and important to Alaskans trying to put salmon on the table; but when projections indicate we won’t make the escapement goal, we have to take that final action and close the fishery.”
On July 24, Fish and Game reevaluated the count for the sockeye salmon run and projected it to be less than 2.3 million, however, the actual number was less.
"Based on the current passage estimate of 434,560 fish through July 30 and run timing of sockeye salmon into the Kenai River, the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 700,000 to 1,200,000 Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon may not be met without a reduction in harvest of this stock," Fish and Game wrote. "Therefore, it is warranted to close the Kenai River sport fishery."
Restrictions to commercial fisheries are being implemented.
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