Anglers on the Russian River will soon be able to catch up to six sockeye a day and be in possession of 12, a year emergency order of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This is an increase from the current bag limit of three sockeye and possession limit of six.
When more fish than expected come into the river and the run appears to be meeting its escapement goals, catch and possession limits for sockeye salmon can be increased, said Colton Lipka, area management biologist for Fish and Game. He said this week that the exhaust numbers are exceeding expectations.
“So we increase the bag limits when our projections indicate that we will have no problem meeting the breakaway target, and at the moment our projection actually indicates that we will exceed the upper limit of our breakaway target. “, said Lipka. “We are increasing the bag limit to give people more opportunities to bring fish home.
According to Fish and Game, as of Wednesday, more than 17,000 sockeye had passed through the weir upstream. The department’s escapement target for the early run, which peaks around June 27, is between 22,000 and 42,000 sockeye.
Lipka warns anglers about the specifics of the new regulations, which only allow increased catch and possession limits in the Russian River, Russian River Sanctuary area and Skilak Lake – nowhere else in the region.
“You cannot fish in waters where you have exceeded your possession limit. If you went up and got more than six, and then wanted to fish for sockeye in the main Kenai, you couldn’t do it, because you had more than the possession limit in the lower Kenai. main river only allows it,” Lipka said.
If the bag limit is three in one area and six in another, Lipka also warns that this doesn’t means someone can own nine salmon at a time.
The Russian River can likely expect a busy fishing weekend, Lipka said, due to both the increased catch limit and the opening of the sanctuary, which happened on Wednesday.
The catch and possession limit change will take effect at midnight tonight – or more precisely 12:01 a.m. tomorrow morning – and will be in place until July 14.