ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska king salmon shortages produced emergency orders Tuesday from federal and state authorities, closing the Kenai River to fishing for kings and restricting fishing on the Kasilof River until at least the end of the month.
An emergency order from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closes the Kenai downriver of Skilak Lake to subsistence fishing for kings, effective from 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 22 through 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 14.
“Through June 18, all indices used to assess the abundance of early-run Chinook salmon in the Kenai River indicate a run that is well below average and lowest on record,” wrote USFWS biologist Doug Palmer. “The present passage rates of early-run Chinook salmon into the Kenai River indicate that insufficient numbers of Chinook salmon will reach the Kenai River to achieve the optimal escapement goal of 5,300-9,000 fish.”
A separate order from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game closes the Kenai, from its mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, to fishing for kings from 12:01 a.m. on Friday through 11:59 p.m. on June 30. Another provision of the order closes part of the river, from Fish and Game regulatory markers 300 yards downstream of Slikok Creek’s mouth up to the outlet of Skilak Lake, for kings from 12:01 a.m. on July 1 to 11:59 p.m. on July 14.