Ship Creek will be closed to sportfishing Saturday through mid-July to protect king salmon

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will close Ship Creek to all sportfishing from this Saturday to mid-July to ensure the department meets its king salmon broodstock needs at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery.

In an emergency order issued Wednesday, Fish and Game said the portion of Ship Creek from its mouth to a cable 100 feet downstream of the Chugach Power Plant Dam will be closed to sportfishing from 6 a.m. this Saturday to 11:59 p.m. July 13. The area will reopen to sportfishing July 14, but anglers will not be allowed to retain kings for the rest of the year, the order said.

Ship Creek has typically closed to king salmon fishing on July 13, said Brittany Blain-Roth, the area management biologist.

“Due to poor stream survey conditions and our inability to fully assess the amount of king salmon that are above the fishery, it is necessary to close sportfishing for the next couple of weeks to ensure we meet our broodstock needs at the hatchery,” Blain-Roth said in the emergency order.

In a separate phone call, she said the department is taking a precautionary measure to ensure it gets enough fish to meet its escapement goal.

The last time Ship Creek was closed to king salmon fishing for the season was in 2018, Blain-Roth said, and it was around the same time of year. That year, the department did not meet its escapement goal, she said, and king salmon numbers so far this year are tracking similar to 2018.

Fish and Game staff will continue to monitor escapement as king salmon return to the hatchery, the order said.

[From January: Conservation group petitions for Alaska king salmon to be listed as an endangered species]