A torrent of red salmon into Fish Creek near Knik has prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to open the Mat-Su stream to personal use dipnetting through the end of the month.
Dipnetters can work from shore or boat from markers at the mouth of the creek to markers a quarter-mile upstream of Knik-Goose Bay Road.
Through Sunday, 91,220 red salmon had been counted at the weir nearly a mile upstream of Lewis Road -- the biggest return since at least 1993. However, the peak appears to have passed. On Sunday, only 155 reds passed the weir.
The creek's minimum escapement goal of 20,000 reds was exceeded in a single day last week and nearly reached on two other days. The opening was triggered when the run exceeded 70,000 fish, the upper boundary of the ideal escapement range. An Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit and sportfishing license or ID card for seniors is required to dipnet at Fish Creek.
Fish and Game is reminding dipnetters that most of the property adjacent to Fish Creek downstream of the Knik-Goose Bay Road bridge is private, and they must stay off. Legal access to the mouth of Fish Creek is restricted to below the mean high tide line.