King Salmon escapement in two Kodiak Island rivers is lagging behind Fish and Game’s goals, so the department is implementing restrictions in hopes of boosting those numbers.
In an emergency order issued yesterday afternoon, Fish and Game announced the closure of the Karluk River to king salmon sport fishing beginning after midnight tonight. In addition, anglers fishing for other species may only use a single, unbaited artificial lure within the Karluk River drainage to reduce the possibility of accidentally hooking a king salmon.
The escapement goal is between 3,000 and 6,000 fish, and despite previous efforts, only 1,522 have passed the weir through Wednesday. The run at this point is about 1,000 less than last year at this time. That’s in stark contrast to the sockeye return, which is the largest in six years. The department recently increased the bag limit for reds, boosting it to 10 per day, 10 in possession, through July 15th.
Return numbers for Ayakulik River king salmon are also well below the desired range of 4,000 to 7,000 fish, so Fish and Game is restricting chinook fishing to catch-and-release only, beginning just after midnight tonight. Through Wednesday, only 1,808 kings have passed the weir. In addition, only an unbaited single hook artificial lure may be used anywhere in the Ayakulik drainage.