According to a press release from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, 2019 the king salmon sport fishery in all flowing waters of the Tanana River drainage will be restricted to catch-and-release. King salmon caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in all tributaries of the Tanana River drainage (including the Chena, Salcha, Chatanika, Nenana, and Goodpaster rivers).
The Tanana River drainage king salmon sport fisheries are managed under the provisions set forth in 5 AAC 74.060 Chena and Salcha River King Salmon Sport Harvest Management Plan using inseason estimated run abundance and escapement information from the Tanana River and its major king salmon spawning tributaries, the Chena and Salcha Rivers. The plan states that the fisheries will be managed to achieve escapements in the Chena and Salcha rivers that fall within the biological escapement goal (BEG) ranges. The king salmon BEG range for the Chena River is 2,800 – 5,700 fish, and the BEG range for the Salcha River is 3,300 – 6,500.
Through Sunday, July 14, the cumulative passage of king salmon was 552 fish in the Chena River and 666 fish in the Salcha River. Based on historical run timing, the projected king salmon escapements in the Chena and Salcha rivers will fall below their respective biological escapement goal lower bounds. Projected escapements based on current run strength indicate that the Tanana River drainage cannot support a sport harvest at this time. Restricting the king salmon sport fishery to catch-and-release in the Tanana River drainage is warranted to conserve Tanana River king salmon stocks.
The department will continue to evaluate escapements on the Chena and Salcha rivers. If escapements are projected to be met, restrictions to the king salmon sports fisheries will be relaxed.