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Sockeye salmon limits increased on Russian River, portion of the Kenai River

Anglers fish in the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula.
Anglers fish in the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula.(KTUU)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:05 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anglers with their sights on the Kenai and Russian Rivers this month will get to take a few more fish home, if they can catch them. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Tuesday that bag limits for sockeye salmon for the Russian River and a portion of the Upper Kenai River have been increased.

The department has liberalized sportfishing regulations to allow anglers to catch up to six sockeye per day, and 12 in possession, according to the Tuesday emergency order. This change is in effect for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem of the Upper Kenai River, from midnight this Thursday through 11:59 p.m. on July 14.

The section of the Upper Kenai River where the liberalized limits are in effect is from the area that extends from Skilak lake to the department’s regulatory markers about 300 yards upstream from the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing. Also included is the Russian River from its mouth, upstream to the marker about 600 yards downstream of the Russian River Falls, the department wrote.

“Anglers are reminded that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing,” the order reads. “If a Russian River angler has more than six sockeye salmon in possession, then that angler may not fish in waters with a possession limit of six.”

The emergency order notes that more than 26,000 sockeye have passed the Russian River weir upstream of the falls as of Monday, and that the department estimates escapement will exceed the early-run goal of 22,000-42,000 fish.

“In-season projections of escapement from the Russian River weir counts are indicating the escapement goal is likely to be exceeded,” Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka is quoted as saying in the release. “Therefore increasing the bag and possession limits will allow anglers the opportunity to bring home more fish.”

Anglers are asked to respect riverbank restoration in the area, and to stay on established paths when making their way to fish. The order also asks them to not leave whole or gutted fish carcasses in clear water in the Russian River.

“If you clean your catch, take fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters,” the order states.

For more information on sportfishing regulations, visit Fish and Game’s website.

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