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Fishery managers increase Seward sockeye limit to 12 per day amid banner season

People fish in Resurrection Bay near Spring Creek with the Seward waterfront in the background on Saturday, June 7, 2019. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)

A huge return of sockeye salmon to Resurrection Bay has prompted biologists to increase the bag limit to a dozen fish per day.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order Thursday raising the bag limit for the Resurrection River and the northern salt water of Resurrection Bay to 12 fish per day and 12 in possession. The new rules go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and remain in effect through July 31.

The decision was made after biologists counted nearly 12,000 fish past the Bear Creek weir through June 11. The department manages the Bear Lake sockeye run for a sustainable escapement goal of 700 to 8,300 fish.

“Fishing for sockeye salmon in the saltwaters of Resurrection Bay has been great,” area management biologist Jay Baumer said in a Fish and Game statement. “With the number of fish passing through, we hope this will provide anglers an additional opportunity to get some fresh sockeye.”

The area includes the fresh water of the Resurrection River downstream from the Seward Highway and Nash Road to the Fish and Game saltwater markers as well as the marine waters of Resurrection Bay north of a line from Caines Head to Thumb Cove.

Anglers may snag salmon in salt water, but snagging is illegal in the fresh water of the Resurrection River. The department has markers denoting fresh and salt water in the river. For complete regulations, visit

Sockeye returns in Southcentral Alaska have been larger than expected so far this season, with the Resurrection Bay and Russian River fisheries already expected to reach or exceed their escapement goals. On Thursday, the Russian River bag limit was increased to six fish per day by emergency order.

Most of the fish that return to Bear Lake are hatchery-raised fish that originate at the Trail Lakes Hatchery near Seward.

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