New restrictions made on king salmon fishing in Kenai and Kasilof

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced restrictions Thursday for king salmon fishing in the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers in order to try and meet escapement goals.

On the Kenai, king fishing is closed in the early run, from May 1st through June 30th, from the mouth of the river all the way upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. For the late run, from July 1st to July 31st, king fishing is closed from the outlet of Skilak Lake downstream to the Fish and Game regulatory marker 300 yards downstream of the mouth of Slikok Creek. Fishing will still be allowed in the lower river.

On the Kasilof River, king fishing will be restricted during the early run, from May 1st through June 30th. Anglers can keep can keep naturally produced kings on Tuesdays and Saturdays only. Those are distinguished from hatchery fish because they still an adipose fin. The bag and possession limit is two fish, with only one being a naturally produced king.

The rest of the week, naturally produced kings may not be targeted, removed from the water or kept. Only a single, unbaited-hook, artificial lure will be allowed from the mouth of the Kasilof upstream to the Sterling Highway bridge.

King runs to the Kenai and Kasilof continue their recent trend of expected low returns, causing the department to take preemptive action to get as many kings into spawning beds as possible. If the run returns improve, fishing can be liberalized.