Summer fishing on two Kodiak rivers restricted

The Ayakulik Adventures lodge is seen June 29, 2009 at the mouth of the Ayakulik River in southwestern Kodiak Island. (Amy Fredette photo)

The Ayakulik River will be restricted to catch-and-release and the Karluk River will be closed for the first half of the summer for king salmon sport fishing due to low escapement numbers.

According to two Alaska Department of Fish and Game emergency order releases, the escapement on both rivers, which are located on the southwest side of the island, has not reached biological escapement goals many times over the past nine years.

The Ayakulik River’s goal is 4,000 to 7,000 fish escaping up river to spawn, and the goal was not reached in the years 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014.

The Karluk River’s goal is 3,000 to 6,000 fish, and the goal has been reached twice since 2006, the release said.

Fishermen on both rivers are only allowed to use an unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure to catch fish and must release them immediately without removing them from the river, the releases said.

“Although escapements improved slightly in 2011 and 2012, the recent trend of poor runs and a very low escapement in 2014 warrant closing the inriver sport fishery,” stated the Karluk release.

“Restrictions to the sport fishery have been taken in an effort to achieve the BEG since 2006,” stated the Ayakulik release. “Expectations of poor king salmon runs and uncertainty over how quickly the run may rebound from recent poor returns, as well as poor king salmon forecasts statewide, justify starting the 2015 season conservatively.”

The Ayakulik release also stated there is potential for increased fishing if the run is “stronger than anticipated.”

The Karluk release added, “Additional management action for the sport fishery may be considered as the run progresses.”

The emergency orders are effective from June 1 to July 25.

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