The sport fishing bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon 16 inches or longer in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulatory markers at the outlet of Skilak Lake will be increased to six per day, 12 in possession, beginning 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 22. In addition, personal use dipnetting on the Kenai River will open 24 hours beginning 11:00 p.m. Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 31.
In accordance with the Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan, when the department determines the abundance of late-run sockeye salmon will exceed 2.3 million fish, and the inriver goal will be achieved, managers may liberalize the sockeye salmon bag limit and increase the hours of the personal use dipnet fishery.
“To date, the cumulative late-run sockeye count for this year is significantly above average and we are projecting a run to the Kenai River greater than 2.3 million fish, but the steady entry pattern into the river and the warm and clear water conditions are contributing to low to moderate success for anglers and dipnetters.” Jason Pawluk, the acting Area Management Biologist in Soldotna said.
Increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon and allowing personal use dipnetting to occur 24 hours will provide additional opportunity for anglers to harvest fish, but anglers are advised that this action to liberalize bag and possession limits and open the personal use fishery to 24 hours does not mean that fishing success will dramatically increase.
Only Alaska residents who hold the 2016 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit are allowed to participate in the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery. A valid sport fishing license is required for anyone 16 years of age or older who is participating. Only one permit is required per household. Permits can be obtained online here: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/ .
Anglers are reminded to review the 2016 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for Kenai River riverbank closures on pages 72 and 73, and the fly-fishing only waters on pages 70 and 71. Please respect riverbank restoration projects and private property in the Kenai River corridor. Boaters using the City Dock are reminded that during negative tides the boat launch is closed two hours prior and two hours after low tide. These negative tides will occur July 22 through July 24.