Thanks to a stronger than expected run of early run king salmon to the Kenai River, ADF&G has liberalized size limits, allowing for larger kings to be kept, in the lower part of the river immediately.
In a release Monday, the department increased the maximum size limit to less than 46 inches in waters below the markers at Slikok Creek. It had been a maximum of 36 inches for the entire river below Skilak Lake.
The release said:
“As of June 11, 2017, approximately 4,010 large king salmon have been counted through the sonar site located at river mile 14. During normal run timing, 51 percent of the run would have passed the river mile 14 sonar site by this date. ADF&G currently projects that the run of large king salmon will be 7,870 fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) manages the Kenai River early-run king salmon run in order to achieve an escapement goal of 3,900 to 6,600 large king salmon.
“Even after taking into consideration the projected sport fish harvest above the sonar site, including catch-and-release mortality, the escapement goal of the early-run king salmon will exceed 7,660 large fish, which is well above the established goal. Abundance indices from ADF&G sport harvest creel and size distribution netting projects are also above average.”
The maximum size limit came this spring from an agreement between the department and recreational groups, to attempt to protect larger and older salmon, while still allowing sport fishing.
The limit on kings between Skilak and Skilok Creek remains a maximum of 36 inches.