Area Sport Fishing Reports
The 2022 preseason inriver forecast of 2,974 king salmon was below the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 3,800-7,600 fish. Given the uncertainty with recent annual runs, preseason restrictions were issued. King salmon escapement was monitored on the South and North forks of Anchor River beginning in early-May and continued throughout the run. The preliminary escapement estimate was 3,147 fish, which did not achieve the SEG. The cumulative run-timing mid-point (June 23) was 9 days late compared to the historical average mid-point of June 14. The sport fishery occurred for 12 days prior to closing by emergency order. Fishing was described as poor over the season.
A preseason emergency order effective May 21, 2022, restricted sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lures and king salmon fishing was limited to catch and release through June.
On June 11, 2022, the Anchor River and Deep Creek were closed to all sport fishing through July 15.
No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2022 wild Ninilchik River king salmon run. Hatchery king salmon are stocked in the Ninilchik River to support the inriver sport fishery. The fishery occurred for the three 3-day weekends with preseason restrictions that prohibited the retention of wild king salmon but liberalized the hatchery bag and possession limits from one to two fish 20” or longer. The use of multiple hooks and treble hooks were also prohibited with preseason restrictions. Inseason restrictions limited gear to one unbaited, singlehook artificial lures on the 3rd weekend. Fishing success was described as poor over the weekend fisheries, but anglers did harvest small numbers of hatchery king salmon. The fishery was closed for the continuous season that begins June 16 due to the low run size of wild king salmon. The SEG of 750-1,300 wild king salmon was not achieved in 2022 for the first time since 2009.
King salmon escapement was fully enumerated just above the fishery at approximately two miles upstream from the mouth. An instream video weir was operated from mid-May to early-August at this location, and the count was 1,011 wild king salmon and 2,347 hatchery king salmon. The mid-point of the wild and hatchery runs to the lower weir were June 30 and July 5, respectively.
The broodstock collection weir, located approximately five miles upstream from the mouth, was used to monitor escapement in regard to meeting the current SEG of 750 - 1,300 wild king salmon. The broodstock collection weir location also used instream video and was operated from mid-May through mid-August. After accounting for the removal of broodstock, the escapement was 687 wild king salmon, which did not meet the SEG. Based on weir counts at both locations, 73% of the wild king salmon and 79% of the hatchery king salmon counted through the lower weir also reached the broodstock collection weir.
A preseason emergency order effective May 28, 2022, changed the king salmon limits to restrict the harvest of wild fish and increase the bag and possession limits of hatchery king salmon, 20 inches or greater in length, from one to two fish. The use of multiple hooks and treble hooks were also prohibited.
On June 11, gear was restricted to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure through July 15.
On June 16, the Ninilchik River closed to all sport fishing through July 15.
No preseason forecast was estimated for the 2022 Deep Creek king salmon run. The sport fishery began with preseason restrictions based on management actions for the Anchor River. Deep Creek has a SEG of 350 king salmon and is assessed post-season via a single aerial survey. No survey was conducted in 2022 due to a lack of funding. In 2022, the Deep Creek king salmon sport fishery occurred for six days before closing by emergency order. Fishing was described as poor due to high, turbid water conditions.
A preseason emergency order effective May 21, 2022, restricted sport fishing gear to one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure and king salmon fishing was limited to catch and release through June.
On June 11, 2022, the Anchor River and Deep Creek closed to all sport fishing through July 15.
Sport fishing for king salmon in Cook Inlet was popular in the Winter (September 1-March 31) and the Summer (April 1-August 31) fisheries. The summer fishery north of Bluff Point began with preseason restrictions to protect king salmon returning to Cook Inlet drainages. The performance of these fisheries are only assessed post season with the Statewide Harvest Survey and charter logbook data, and harvest estimates will not be available until 2023. In the winter fishery, more favorable marine weather allowed anglers to fish more than usual from January through March, but success was slow. During the summer fisheries, limited fishing opportunities occurred in Upper Cook Inlet so most of the effort occurred south of the latitude of Bluff Point in Lower Cook Inlet.
A preseason emergency order effective May 1, 2022, in the Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.), reduced the king salmon annual limit of fish 20 inches or greater in length from five to two fish and closed king salmon fishing within a mile of shore.
On June 15, 2022, king salmon fishing was prohibited, including catch-and-release, in the Upper Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.) through July 15.
On July 17, 2022, king salmon fishing was prohibited, including catch-and-release, in the Upper Cook Inlet saltwaters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00' N. lat.) through July 31.
In 2022, the stocking goals were met for Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (NDFL) on the Homer Spit with approximately 315,000 king salmon smolt and 120,000 coho salmon smolt. This year’s king salmon stocking was the fifth consecutive year with a 30% increase over historical king salmon stockings. The Statewide Harvest Survey estimates harvest for these fisheries and will not be available until 2023. Overall, the king salmon fishery was likely below-average harvest for recent years and the coho salmon fishery was also likely below-average. There were several hundred king salmon harvested by anglers during the period open to snagging.
On June 29, 2022, snagging was allowed in the NDFL through July 1 to harvest the remainder of the king salmon milling in the lagoon prior to coho salmon returning.
No management actions were implemented during the 2022 coho salmon sport fishery season.
The China Poot Creek personal use dip net fishery does not require a permit for participation so there is no harvest and effort data available for 2022. The Commercial Fish Division conducts weekly foot surveys to count sockeye and pink salmon. There was a large build-up of over a thousand sockeye salmon in the creek when the fishery opened on July 1, 2022. Success through most of July was fair to good. The success is this fishery is most likely attributed to changes in commercial fishing and cost recoveries operations associated with the stocking. No emergency orders were issued to extend the season since very few sockeye salmon were still in the creek at the end of the season.
No management actions were implemented during the 2022 season.
All East Cook Inlet beaches remained closed to sport and personal use clamming in 2022 due to the continued below average abundances of adult-sized razor clams at Clam Gulch and Ninilchik. The affected area runs from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit. Abundance surveys were conducted in April and May at both Clam Gulch and Ninilchik beaches. Adult-sized razor clams remained below average at both areas.
A preseason emergency order effective January 1, 2022, closed all East Cook Inlet beaches to personal use and sport clamming for all clam species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit for 2022.
The West Cook Inlet beaches remained open to commercial, sport, and personal use clamming in 2022. Harvest estimates for the sport fishery are not available yet, but clammers report good success at Polly Creek and Crescent River Bar areas with larger clams being found at Crescent River Bar.
No management actions were implemented during the 2022 sport and personal use fisheries season.
No trawl surveys were conducted in 2021 so the limited fishery was implemented for the 2021-2022 season. The sport and subsistence fisheries occurred from October 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022. The preliminary combined sport and subsistence Tanner crab harvest in the Cook Inlet & North Gulf Coast area was 6,622 male Tanner crabs. During the 2021-2022 season, 1,770 sport and subsistence permits were issued. Of these, 92% reported and will be eligible to receive a permit for the upcoming season. In total, 140 individuals did not report and are ineligible to receive a permit for the 2022-2023 season. Permits are only available through ADF&Gs online store.
No management actions were implemented for the 2021-2022 fishery season.