Early opening of sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River Sanctuary area

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The Russian River Sanctuary area will open earlier this year for anglers looking to fish for sockeye salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Monday. The Russian River Sanctuary area extends from approximately the Russian River Ferry to three ADF&G markers to the east, where the Upper Kenai and Russian Rivers converge.

Between June 22 and July 14, the Russian River Sanctuary will be open for sockeye fly fishing. For fish over 16 inches, anglers are limited to three per day with six in possession. For fish under 16 inches, anglers are limited to 10 per day with 10 in possession.

From July 15 to August 20, the refuge will be open to fly fishing for sockeye or coho salmon. For fish under 16 inches, anglers are limited to 10 per day with 10 in possession. For fish over 16 inches, anglers are limited to three per day with six in possession in combination. Of these, only one per day and one in possession can be a coho salmon.

In fly-fishing waters, anglers are limited to an unweighted, single-hook, unbaited fly with a tip-to-shank gap of three-eighths of an inch or less. The fly must weigh less than a quarter ounce and the weights, if used, must be located at least 18 inches in front of the fly, the division said.

Area management biologist Colton Lipka wrote in the division’s announcement that as of June 19, about 9,160 sockeye had passed through the Russian River spillway. He wrote that it should be a “medium sized run” and that the projected escapement goal will be met.

The division has asked anglers to remove fish carcasses from the clear waters of the Russian River and bring the fish to cleaning tables on the Kenai River if they wish to clean a catch in the river. The carcasses should be cut into small pieces and thrown into the deep running waters of the river.

The early opening of the fishery comes a week after the division announced a wave of sweeping closures affecting king salmon on the peninsula. These closures, announced in response to the continued low chinook salmon run, affect fishing in Ninilchik, Kenai, Kasilof and Cook Inlet.

More information on fishing closures and regulations can be found on the division’s website.

Contact reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at [email protected]


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