Saturday, February 13, 2016

Kenai King Forecast 2016

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has come out with their forecast of the 2016 Kenai King salmon run.   For the early run (May/June) the outlook is below average with a run projected at 5,206 fish.  This would be at the lower end of the optimum escapement goal (OEG) of 5,300-9,000 fish. Keep in mind this is a forecast.  Last year the preseason estimate was 5,300 king salmon and the actual count came in at 6,300 fish.  Nonetheless, based on ADFG's history of taking a conservative approach to the early run, I expect they will announce restrictions to the fishery soon.  Most likely fishing will be closed to start the season, but as the run progresses the possibility of lifting the restrictions becomes real.  As always, I'll let my early run clients know when ADFG takes any action.
There's better news for the second run (July) of Kenai King salmon. Although the outlook is below average, the forecast calls for 30,011 fish.  This is comparable to last year's run and will fall in the upper end of the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 15,000-30,000 fish (last year the forecast was 22,100 fish and the actual run was 32,900 fish). My prediction is the second run of king salmon will be fished much like last year. We'll begin July 1st without the use of bait and as the run progresses and strengthens, bait will be allowed.

Volatile?  You betcha! Such is the nature of a dynamic, ever changing king salmon fishery.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service


George French said...

I like it! Guess I need to buy a lottery ticket, Looking forward to July 2016

Dave Anderson said...

Can you say Mille Lacs?

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Not quite the same as Mille Lacs. When walleye fishing is closed or restricted, there is still a world class muskie fishery, and smallmouth fishery to guide anglers to. It also has a pretty darn good pike fishery, perch fishery, and crappie fishery for people/guides to pursue. When the Kenai closes, it closes and there is no "plan B" to guide anglers on the Kenai. Last year the economic loss for the May/June Kenai River closure for the towns of Soldotna and Kenai (population around 10,000) alone was 7 million dollars. Much more of an impact peninsula wide.