Slow fishing at Hatchery Kings on the Kasilof River; Cook Inlet halibut ‘just getting started’
The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Clarion Peninsula)
A report from Northern Kenai Fishing on Thursday said fishing for king salmon from the Kasilof River hatchery is starting, but slow, and fishing for halibut from Cook Inlet is just getting started.
In the Kasilof River, hatchery king salmon can be kept, but the fishery is “starting slowly”, the report says. Hatchery salmon do not have an adipose fin, and any naturally produced king salmon that has an adipose fin cannot be removed from the water and must be immediately released.
The running waters of the main Kenai River upstream of the Lower Killey River and all tributaries of the Kenai River remain closed to fishing until June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.
Rainbow trout fishing in the Kasilof River is still slow but should improve. All rainbow and rainbow trout caught cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Halibut surf fishing along the Cook Inlet beaches near the Kasilof and Kenai rivers is just getting started. The report says these Pacific halibut fisheries are managed by the federal government rather than the department, and encourages fishers to double-check these regulations.
For more information on halibut beach fishing, including regulations, the report points to “Online Fishing Forum: Beach Fishing for Halibut on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula,” a 2021 YouTube video produced by the department.
Sport fishing for king salmon in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of Bluff Point is closed. The report says any king salmon incidentally caught by anglers while fishing for other species cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Fishing on local lakes “should be good to excellent” now that the ice has dissipated. Fishing for rainbow trout, arctic char, arctic grayling and landlocked salmon should continue to improve as temperatures warm. The report recommends fishing with dry or wet flies such as an egg-sucking leech, pearl-headed nymph, or mosquito model; small spoons and spinning tops size #0 or #2; or small bait under a bobber.
Access to Spirit Lake (Elephant) is always closed for spring breakup.
Please review the Emergency Orders and Notices below in full before setting out on your next fishing trip.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-10-23 prohibits sport fishing for King Salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the upstream mouth to the outlet of Skilak Lake from 12:01 a.m. Monday, 1 May at 11:59 p.m. Friday. June 30, 2023. Chinook salmon fishing will remain closed from 12:01 a.m. Saturday July 1 to 11:59 p.m. Monday July 31, 2023 in the waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulation marker located approximately 300 yards downstream. from the mouth of Slikok Creek upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon cannot be kept or possessed; King salmon accidentally caught while fishing for other species cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Order 2-KS-1-11-23 closes the Kenai River to king salmon fishing and prohibits the use of bait and gang hooks in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to the ADF&G markers located at the outlet of Skilak Lake beginning at 12:01:00 a.m. Saturday, July 1 to 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 31, 2023. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for King Salmon, including catch fishing. water. King salmon cannot be kept or possessed; King Salmon caught while fishing for other species cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Ordinance 2-KS-1-08-23 prohibits the retention of naturally produced Chinook Salmon from 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2023. In addition, only one hook be baited, unbaited, or on an artificial lure may be used from Tuesday, May 16 at 12:01 a.m. to Friday, June 30, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. A single hook means a hook with a single point. Naturally produced king salmon have an adipose fin and cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Ordinance 2-KS-1-09-23 limits the length of fishing periods in the personal use gillnet fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof River. Gillnet fishing hours for personal use will be reduced from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Thursday June 15 to Sunday June 18 and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday June 19 to Saturday June 24, 2023.
Cook Inlet Salt Waters
Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 prohibits sport fishing for King Salmon (including catch-and-release fishing) in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point ( 59° 40.00′ N. lat.) 00:01 from Monday May 15 to Monday July 31. King salmon accidentally caught while angling for other fish cannot be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Emergency Order 2-NP-1-04-23 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey and Derks lakes for the 2023 season.
Emergency Order 2-DV-1-03-23 sets a catch and possession limit for Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake of one fish under 16 inches in length for the season 2023.
Contact reporter Jake Dye at [email protected].