Kenai sport fishing group urges catch-and-release kings



The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has asked Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten to restrict in-river fishing for late-run king salmon to catch-and-release. In a dramatic gesture to conserve kings, KRSA is also asking that commercial setnet fishing on the east side beaches be limited to no more than 24-hours per week.

The group’s board of directors passed a resolution on Thursday that said because salmon returns throughout Alaska in 2018 are struggling to meet minimum escapement goals, and because critically low numbers of king salmon in Cook Inlet have already required the closure of the Anchor, Deshka, Susitna and early-run Kenai River king salmon, the State should take a precautionary approach for Kenai kings this year. Beginning July 1, the State should designate a non-retention policy — catch-and-release.

“It’s time for action as currently fewer than 100 large king salmon are passing the counter each day and the forecast for the second run of Kenai kings is the third lowest run size on record,” said Ricky Gease, KRSA Executive Director. “We ask that these restrictions remain in place until in-season data warrants a more liberal approach.”

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, July 3, Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued an emergency closure to all Ship Creek sport fishing. The king salmon return appears to be both late and weak in this popular Anchorage rod and reel fishery.


  1. John: Can I assume that you would allow the set net fishers to kill and harvest Kings while not allowing C & R by the anglers. What number do you estimate are killed when Kings drop
    Out of the nets? What number do you think might be attributable to failure to report Kings hidden under a tarp? The Dept assesses a mortality factor for C&R and charges it against the in river harvest. Why not assess mortality for the drop outs that are stone cold dead? Or do you want just the in river users to bear 100% of the burden of conservation during the late run? Sounds like you and the Dept want just that. Fortunately this bias will quickly change when Walker is handed his hat in November.

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