Kasilof River dipnetting area widened

The increase in area is justified by high passage of sockeye salmon on the river

Hours after the personal use dipnet fishery on the Kasilof River opened Tuesday, the State Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order expanding the area of the river available for fishing. The expanded area is effective starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and continues until the fishery closes on Aug. 7.

Where previously fishing was only allowed at the river’s mouth, the new order says that fishing is allowed onshore from department regulatory markers on Cook Inlet beaches upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Dipnetting from a boat is allowed from the same Cook Inlet markers upstream to another department marker located around River Mile 4 of the Kasilof.

The increase in area is justified by high passage of sockeye salmon on the river, projected to exceed the department’s biological escapement goal for the species.

Fish counts available from the department show that nearly 100,000 sockeye salmon have been counted on the river so far this year — 12,000 counted on Tuesday alone. The escapement goal for the species, counted through Aug. 27, is between 140,000 and 320,000 fish.

“Current sockeye salmon passage into the Kasilof River is looking strong and we’re on track to exceed the biological escapement goal,” Area Management Biologist Phill Stacey said in an advisory announcement. “To provide more opportunity to Alaska residents, the personal use dipnetting area for boat and shore anglers will be expanded.”

Only Alaska residents can participate in the dipnet fishery. Both an Upper Cook Inlet personal use permit and a 2024 resident sport fishing license are required to participate. Dipnetting is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

King salmon may not be retained or removed from the water. They must be released immediately.

For more information on fishing regulations and availability, visit adfg.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.