Bait ban in place for late-run Kenai River king salmon

No bait or multiple hooks will be allowed when the Kenai River's late-run king salmon fishery opens next week.

The ban was put in place by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game because the size of the early run of kings was lower than forecast.

Anglers will be limited to artificial lures and single hooks when the fishery opens at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The ban is in effect from the mouth of the Kenai upstream to Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge.

Fish and Game said the run will be closely monitored in case there is a need for further restrictions -- or if the number of fish is adequate enough to loosen the restrictions.

Through June 24, an estimated 1,384 early-run kings entered the Kenai River, Fish and Game reported. Using that data, biologists project a return of 1,700 to 2,200, well below the preseason forecast of 5,300.

"It is likely the Kenai River late-run will also experience below average run strength and be well below the preseason forecast," according to the department. "The prohibition on the use of bait during July will reduce the harvest rate of both early- and late-run stocks."



Anchorage Daily News