The Alaska Department of Fish and Game are announcing that their king salmon management efforts into the late run of Kenai River kings. Sport Fisheries Biologist Robert Begich…
Begich: “We’re going to be extending the king salmon closure that’s from Slikok upstream to Skikak Lake by emergency order, that will be effective on Monday, because that expires on Sunday evening at midnight, so that will be extended though the month of July.”
Anglers are advised that in an effort to meet minimum king salmon escapement and egg-take goals in the Ninilchik River, the river will remain closed to sport fishing for king salmon through 11:59 p.m., Thursday, October 31, 2013.
Fishing for other species will be allowed beginning July 16. Any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that the sustainable escapement goal for king salmon in the Ninilchik River is 550-1,300 wild king salmon through the weir from July 3-31. King salmon escapement was below the SEG in 2007 and 2009, but was met in 2008, and 2010–2012.
In 2007–2009 and 2012, the egg-take goal was not achieved despite extending weir operations. In 2010, egg-takes were not needed for stocking, but if they were, the number of king salmon was insufficient to meet the egg-take goal.
The Ninilchik River and the nearby marine fishery were previously closed through July 15 to conserve king salmon. Recent poor king salmon runs in Lower Cook Inlet streams, uncertainty over how quickly the runs may rebound, and early indicators of run strength in the Ninilchik River justify continuing the current closure through the remainder of the season in order to achieve the Ninilchik River escapement and egg-take goals.
Anglers are reminded that when the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek reopen to sport fishing on July 16, king salmon may not be targeted, and any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.