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Russian River Confluence to open early to sockeye sport fishing

Section B shows the Russian River Sanctuary, which will open early this year to commercial sockeye salmon fishing.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Section B shows the Russian River Sanctuary, which will open early this year to commercial sockeye salmon fishing.

The waters where the Kenai and Russian rivers converge will open to sockeye salmon sport fishing Wednesday. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the opening Tuesday.

That section of the river, called the Russian River Sanctuary, usually doesn’t open to sport fishing until mid-July. But, the area’s already met its biological escapement goal. That goal is the number of fish the department says must escape the fishery in order to spawn for maximum fishery use by humans.

In a press release, the department said opening the waters early will give anglers more time and space to target the Russian River’s early sockeye run. The sanctuary is open to fly-fishing only through August 20. The number of fish an angler may possess and take home depends on the size of the fish caught.

For fish 16 inches or longer, anglers are limited to three per day with six in possession. Of those, only one fish per day and one in possession may be a coho salmon. For fish fewer than 16 inches, anglers are limited to 10 per day with 10 in possession.

The department asks that anglers who wish to clean their fish use cleaning tables at the Kenai River. Salmon carcasses should be cut into small pieces and thrown into a deep, flowing part of the river. Anglers should monitor their belongings closely and be mindful of cultural resource protection sites in the area, which are roped or fenced off.

Sport fishing regulations for waters on the central Kenai Peninsula can be accessed on the department’s website at adfg.alaska.gov.

Prior to joining KDLL's news team in May 2024, O'Hara spent nearly four years reporting for the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai. Before that, she was a freelance reporter for The New York Times, a statehouse reporter for the Columbia Missourian and a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. You can reach her at aohara@kdll.org