The Department of Fish and Game is predicting another below-average year for king salmon returns on the Kenai River.
The department is forecasting a total run of a little less than 20,000 fish. If those numbers are correct, it will be the lowest return in the 29 years for which records are available on the Kenai, and less than half of the average-sized run over that same time period. That number still falls within the Department’s sustainable escapement goal of 15-30,000 fish.
This year’s forecast is lower than last year’s pre-season estimate, however, total run size is anticipated to be about the same as 2013. King returns to the Kenai the past couple years have come in later than expected. ADF&G Managers have indicated that they will be conservative in how they prosecute the Kenai River and related fisheries, as they continue to see weak returns.