KENAI RIVER KING SALMON HARVEST RESTRICTIONS TO BE LIFTED BEGINNING TUESDAY JUNE 15 The 2010 Kenai River early-run king salmon sport fishery will reopen to the harvest of king salmon less than 46 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length on 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Through Sunday, June 13, a season total of 4,925 king salmon have passed the department’s sonar station in the lower Kenai River and the department is now projecting a total run of 7,000 to 11,000 early run king salmon. The most recent assessment of run strength indicates the run is sufficient to support a fishery that allows retention of king salmon and to achieve the optimal escapement goal of 5,300 to 9,000 king salmon.
Anglers are advised that the Kenai River king salmon sport fishery will be open as provided for by normal regulations and they should review the 2010 Southcentral Alaska Sportfishing Regulation Summary Booklet. Anglers are reminded that:
• Only one unbaited single-hook artificial lure is allowed.
• King salmon 46 inches or greater in length but less than 55 inches in length may not be possessed or retained and may not be removed the water and must be released immediately.
The department will continue to monitor the run with all tools available in the Kenai River, including, but not limited to, sonar projects, test fishing, and catch rate monitoring. If the run strength continues to increase, management options may include liberalization of the fishery.
With half the run historically in-river as of yesterday's count, the run-size forecast is now in the 9000-plus range ( confidence +/- 2000). At this pace it won't be long 'til the ERMP allows bait. Assuming 25% exploitation with bait, an escapement projection > 7100 will get us over 5300 threshold.