Fish and Game announces closure of sport fishing for king salmon on the Kenai Peninsula

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed sport fishing for king salmon on the Kenai, Ninilchik and Kasilof rivers until the end of July, as well as saltwater fishing of Cook Inlet at the moment.

“This year is off to a very slow start with most of our chinook salmon escapements being monitored here on the Kenai Peninsula based on stock or system,” said Mike Booz, area biologist for the Department of Fish and Game of Alaska.

So far, the number of original king salmon on the Kenai River is 1,030. The Department of Fish and Game considers an optimal early season return to be between 3,900 and 6,900.

Fish and Game has closed the early run of king salmon on the Kenai River until July 31 for sport fishing. The Kasilof River is closed until July 15 for kings, with catch and release from July 16. The Cook Inlet fishery is also closed to sport fishing for kings until July 15.

“We still don’t expect to hit the escape target in these streams,” Booz said. “For these races to achieve their goals, they have to be with some kind of unprecedented late race timing.”

These closures are difficult for people like Hunter Keogh, who operates Key-O’s guide service out of Ninilchik. Many places where Keogh offers its customers to fish have been affected by the closures.

“I’ve only limited my boat this year in May once on kings, which is insane,” Keogh said. “I normally limit probably 75% to 80% of the days. It sure hurts a bit. »

Keogh said the early-season shutdowns in May had a big impact on his business, but he doesn’t expect these latest shutdowns to be as difficult.

The long-running family guide service said that with restrictions on king salmon fishing becoming more common, they have made the difficult decision to rethink the way they do business.

“My dad runs the Kasilof River and the Kenai River and he hasn’t killed a king salmon in the Kasilof or the Kenai shooting like 8 or 9 years now,” Keogh said. “He has now become a sockeye and coho salmon guide versus a king’s guide.”

For a complete overview of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s statewide fishing closures and restrictions, click here.

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