ADF&G Restricting Kasilof River King Fishery to Single Unbaited Hook

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is prohibiting the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge, effective 12:01 a.m., tomorrow morning, Thursday, June 20 through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 30, 2013.

Robert Begich, sport fisheries biologist with the Soldotna Office of Fish and Game told us that anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure with a single hook being defined as a fishhook with only one point with or without a barb.

Begich said that the department manages the Kasilof River king salmon sport fishery to achieve a sustainable escapement goal of 650 to 1,700 naturally-produced king salmon as monitored through a weir at the department facility located on Crooked Creek.

The escapement of naturally-produced king salmon into Crooked Creek during 2011 was 654 fish and 631 fish in 2012. The 2013 Kenai Peninsula king salmon runs are low and it is possible that the Kasilof River escapement goal may not be met and/or broodstock goals may not be achieved for egg takes in 2013.

The department has determined that an emergency order to close the early-run king salmon sport fishery in the Kenai River drainage, also effective Thursday, June 20, 2013, as well as emergency orders previously issued to close king salmon fishing in the adjacent Lower Cook Inlet Management Area will likely result in an increase in the sport fishing effort and catch of naturally-produced king salmon in the Kasilof River.

To minimize effects of conservation actions for Lower Cook Inlet Management Area and the Kenai River on the department’s ability to achieve adequate escapement into Crooked Creek, it is warranted to prohibit the use of bait and multiple hooks in the Kasilof River king salmon fishery.

The previous restriction to the Kasilof River fishery to the harvest of hatchery-reared king salmon only, regardless of size, remains in effect. Hatchery-reared king salmon are distinguished from naturally-produced king salmon in the Kasilof River by a healed adipose fin-clip scar. The adipose fin is the small, fleshy fin on the back just ahead of the tail.

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