June 22, 2015
Think the popular Russian River is crowded with anglers? Just wait.
Beginning Tuesday morning, the bag limit will double to six fish, 12 in possession. The affected area is from Skilak Lake upstream on the Kenai River to a Fish and Game marker about 300 yards upstream of the Sportsman’s Landing boat launch and the length of the Russian from its confluence with the Kenai to about 600 yards before Russian River Falls.
Anglers looking to fill their freezers are benefiting from a strong early run that has seen more than 26,000 red salmon pass the fish-counting weir just below Lower Russian Lake.
Biologists aim for 22,000 to 42,000 Russian River reds to reach their spawning grounds.
“Sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River area will remain good to excellent for the next several days,” area management biologist Robert Begich wrote in a press release Monday.
The early run on the Russian appears to be mirroring last year’s, when nearly 45,000 of the hard-fighting salmon passed the weir. Early run counting ends July 14.
Last year’s early run was the biggest on the Russian since 2009, when more than 52,000 fish made it upstream.
Monday was only the 11th day the Russian red salmon fishery has been open, and parking spots in the jam-packed campgrounds that sit on the bluffs overlooking the river have been hard to come by since the fishery’s first hours.
“It’s kinda wild,” Jherrod Daniels, beginning his seventh summer working at the campground for Alaska Recreational Management, said on opening day. “A lot of people, they want to get their fish and go home.”
Now that the limit’s doubled, that may take a little longer.