King Salmon at the Alagnak Lodge

In Southeast Alaska, long famous for its king salmon fishing, in 2018, the Fishery Board and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, are imposing severe and justified restrictions. These restrictions are a bit complex, but basically, you will be allowed to retain only one king salmon during the year. You will also be restricted in other ways, but you can still catch kings all day long at the Alagnak Lodge, one of the premier Alaska fishing lodges!

King Salmon Regulations

alaska fishing lodgesThese restrictions do not apply to the Alagnak River. As we are on a wilderness river, we have always been a low-pressure king salmon fishery. We have always been a pure-sports fishery, not a fishery visited by those who want to fill their freezers for personal consumption. The kings are not targeted by commercial fishing, although some are harvested as bycatch in the gill nets with their 5.5-inch openings. The commercial cod fishery did the real damage to our king population in Bristol Bay with their extensive bycatch that resulted in the dumping of unsustainable numbers of dead kings. That has somewhat been addressed, and our stock of kings has rebounded.

In most of Southwest Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has focused entirely on the sockeye salmon fishery, the big commercial money maker, and has virtually ignored king salmon. While they have some harvest statistics for kings, they have no records of the escapement for breeding. As a result, they don’t have the database they need for scientific action.

The Alagnak River

As a result, in 2018, the Alagnak River continues to have the same regulations in place for king salmon fishing we have had since 2016. Anglers staying at our fishing lodge, under regulations for Bristol Bay, can harvest one king daily over 28 inches, two between 20 and 24 inches, and up to ten under 20 inches. The annual limit for kings is five over 20 inches. Any king removed from the water is considered to have been harvested. Kings cannot be targeted or collected after July 31.

While we would prefer that all king salmon over 48 inches be released, that is not currently the regulation, and we follow the laws and regulations. We would prefer the more abundant fish become breeders and remain in the gene pool. The Alagnak River has its own gene pool for kings. They are good-sized kings, more significant than Nushagak kings but smaller than Kenai kings. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has no real catch statistics, but we often catch kings between 45 and 55 pounds. We see even larger ones up in the holding and spawning areas.

Alaska Fishing Lodges

At the Alagnak fishing lodge, one of the premier Alaska fishing lodges, we catch most of our king salmon in our tidal waters as they enter the fresh water. They are fresh, strong, and feisty. They also often hold in the lower river by the lodge before forming groups to push up the river to spawn. We still have a few openings for additional guests during the 2018 season, so please give us a call, and we will try to fit you in!