KRSA provides for public education, scholarships and outreach to promote stewardship of fisheries resources. Education is accomplished through a variety of KRSA programs and support for community-based education partnerships.
KRSA operates numerous popular education programs, including Release a Hog, Hooked on Fishing, College Scholarships, and Classic events.
KRSA's fundraising policy is generally to ask for a financial donation of each Registered Participant; provided, however, KRSA policy is not to ask for donations from public officials as they represent the interests of the public.
The Kenai River king salmon are famous the world over for their size and fighting ability, with trophy kings (generally over 70 pounds) reported each season. The current world record chinook salmon was taken in May 1985 from the waters of the Kenai River and weighed a whopping 97.4 pounds. Even so, the numbers of the gigantic fish have decreased over the past 10 years, which concerns KRSA and the sport fishing public. The age seven fish (known as five-ocean fish for years spent in the ocean) typically account for 2 - 5% of the total return.
The Release a Hog program educates anglers on the benefits these big fish, and rewards the angler with a trophy mount for voluntary catch and release, which helps long term sustainability by putting more "Hogs" on the spawning beds to create future generations of trophy fish for our children and grandchildren. Since its inception, hundreds of trophy kings have been returned to the Kenai as a result.
Each year, KRSA's Hooked on Fishing program puts rods and reels in the hands of kids in our community, so that they can learn about the joys of fishing. We collect and restore used rods and reels, and supplement it with new gear from end-of-season overstock supplies, to give free to local children 6 to 16 years of age. We distribute hundreds of rods and reels at the annual Ted Steven's Day Concert in the Park (last Saturday in July), where long lines of families wait patiently until the kids can come forward with smiling faces and hands wrapped tightly around rods, ready to go fishing. To date, thousands of rods and reels have made their way into the hands of eager young anglers through this very popular program.
Each year, KRSA invites targeted policymakers to experience a day on the Kenai River and to learn about the access and restoration efforts that have been completed, in progress and planned for the future.
The Kenai River Classic is an annual three-day invitational fishing event held each July to raise funds and educate about habitat restoration and access projects, fisheries education, research and management. KRSA and community partners provide information on the region's fisheries programs and projects. The event has raised more than $12 million over the 15 years for fisheries conservation. Most of these revenues go directly back into the river in the form of habitat improvements or fishery conservation efforts. KRSA's fundraising policy is generally to ask for a financial donation of each Registered Participant; provided, however, KRSA policy is not to ask for donations from public officials as they represent the interests of the public.
Some young Alaskans have never had the opportunity to go fishing, and that's what the Kenai River Jr. Classic is all about. Each August, kids between the ages of eight and 16 are invited to fish the Kenai with a professional guide, courtesy of the Kenai River Professional Guides Association. Through our program partner, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula, kids also learn about the importance of water and boating safety, the lifecycles of salmon and river ecology. With assistance from the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, the Young Marines, and the families of active military, hundreds of youth learn for the first time what it feels like to hook into a silver or pink salmon. The high fives, fist bumps, giddy smiles and sincere thanks from the kids make for a very special day.