Fish and Game issues preemptive restrictions on king salmon fishing

Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game has issued several preemptive restrictions on king salmon fishing in Cook Inlet waters in an attempt to protect the returning salmon populations.

In the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages, emergency order 2-KS-7-09-21 restricts the sport fishery to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure during the dates open to king salmon fishing, which are May 22 at 12:01 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on June 23.

“Restricting the gear will likely reduce the harvest of king salmon, but still provides anglers the opportunity to fish for king salmon in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages,” ADF&G Area Management Biologist Mike Booz said in a Monday, Feb. 1 press release. “Anglers that prefer to use bait will be able to do so in the Ninilchik River for hatchery king salmon.”

Emergency order 2-KS-7-08-21 impacts Cook Inlet salt waters north of Bluff Point from April 1 through July 15 and reduces the annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or greater from five fish to two.

Emergency order 2-KS-7-10-21 impacts the Ninilchik River drainage on May 29-31, June 5-7, June 9 and June 12-14. On those dates, the bag and possession limit for hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater is one fish. There are currently no restrictions on the hatchery-only king salmon fishery after June 16. June 9 is the Youth-only fishery, and there are no size restrictions that day.

“The Ninilchik River hatchery king salmon run has provided good harvest opportunities the last two seasons and there will likely be a surplus of them in 2021,” Booz said in another Feb. 1 press release. “While the wild king salmon escapement has been met annually, the broodstock collection goal has not been met in most recent years. Closing the harvest of wild fish will provide more fish towards these goals.”

In the Ninilchik and Anchor rivers, king salmon escapement monitoring begins in May. Run strength will be evaluated at that point to determine in-season management actions.

For more information on these emergency orders, contact ADF&G biologists Booz or Holly Dickson at 907-235-8191.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at