Historic run: Salmon strong at Russian River


Sockeye salmon are back in droves on the storied Russian River. So much so, that an emergency order has come from Alaska Department of Fish and Game last night: The Russian River/Upper Kenai bag limit has been increased to nine per day starting Wednesday at 12:01 am, with 18 in possession.

Folks in the region can’t remember a time when this happened in the past. It’s an historic run.

This is the first run of sockeye on the Kenai, and they are typically smaller fish, but these salmon are coming in at about 7 or 8 pounds, said Ben Mohr, executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

“This shows that if there is an abundance of fish, and opportunity, Alaskans will come and harvest those fish with hook and line,” he said. “It’s been busy down here, but this speaks to who we are as Alaskans, and the desire to provide for your family off of the abundance of the land.”

Reports to Must Read Alaska say fishers are catching their limits within just a few hours.

“I encourage people to carpool down, and give yourself plenty of time because there is construction on the highway, be a good neighbor with other Alaskans out there. And there are also bears, so follow recommendations they have there: Keep your fish on a stringer, and keep your backpack within reach,” Mohr advised.

He also recommends because of the historic nature of the run, the increased limits, and with so many Alaskans fishing for them right now, that fishers don’t fillet their fish on site. Instead, head and gut your catch, cut up the discards, and throw it into fast-moving water, then put your fish on ice and fillet it when you get home.

Over the past few days, between 5,000 and 8,000 fish a day have been seen crossing the sonar on the Lower Kenai River. This means fishing should be good on the Upper Kenai and Russian Rivers for at least the next week, he said.


  1. I find it interesting that the Kenai River Sportfishing Association “encourages Alaskans” to catch fish on hook & line… Where are they when I take a week off work, bring my kids to the mouth of the Kenai to dip net the late run & get hosed because they give unlimited access to commercial fishermen??? I call BS on Kenai River Sportfishing Association… You don’t give a rip about Alaskans…you are bought & paid for by all those out of state commercial fishermen who rape our lands!!!

    • I feel the same about dipnetters who scoop up all the fish before the line fisherman get a chance. The true sport fisherman is at the end of the line and have been getting “hosed” by those who feel a need to keep there freezer full. Does it not seem unfair that a family with giant hoops get to stand at the mouth of the river and haul in a butt load of fish while the guy with a hook can only catch 3. This has been the case for years. So while I feel your pain with the commercial fisherman realize you are miles ahead of the true Alaskan sportsman who provide the most revenue to the state.

  2. Actually, the Kenai river sport fishing association is bought and paid for by bob penney and those that bought the current governor’s office. I find it sad that they did not whatsoever acknowledge or ask Alaskans (and others) to respect the habitat along the banks of the Russian and Kenai Rivers. Just go out and get yours, mind the “recommendations” (they’re actually laws), and remember KRSA helped get sport fishing people all the access to all the fish. Oh yeah, there’s also road construction.

    Let’s remember that in the early 90’s the banks of the Russian were falling apart. It’s taken a long time for habitat rehabilitation in that area, so please remember to respect that work, and ultimately respect the fish. The fish don’t seem to care about carpooling or your ability to access them in “times of abundance,” they actually respond better to healthy habitat and clean water – things KRSA never really seems to honestly care about, except when they’re in the way of sportfishing or dipnetting access. Don’t forget the lessons of the past!

  3. First time ever sockeye fishing in Alaska and first time ever going to Alaska. Took my son was well worth the trip the native people were very friendly and helpful. Just got home today and filled our freezer. From North Carolina.

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