Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts

Alaska FishTopia

Want to know more about fish counts on the Kenai River and throughout Alaska? Download the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App.  All graphs and information presented on these pages are courtesy of Alaska FishTopia!

Daily Fish Counts & Escapement Averages

Kenai River King Salmon 3 year escapement Average and 3 Year Average Daily Fishcount

The Kenai River has two runs of king salmon known as the early-run, from May 15 – June 30, and the late-run, which is from July 1 – Aug 20.  It’s important to remember that these fish counts are the primary in-season management tool used by fish and game. This data is really for fishery management but as sport fisherman we can use it as well.  

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts
Escapement & Daily Fishcount Averages

The graph on the left shows the escapement of both the early-run and late-run Kenai River king salmon. Escapement simply means the total number of salmon that have crossed the Kenai River sonar counter at RM14 as described above and added up every day to get a total number. You can notice that within the last 3 years, both the early run and the late run did not even meet the minimum escapement goal as set by Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  This is extremely unfortunate but has, unfortunately, largely become the norm.  If the Kenai River king salmon fish counts are too low, Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a tool called an Emergency Order that they can use to restrict the fishery. These include restricting the use of bait, moving the fishery to catch-and-release, and then if things look particularly bad even shutting down the fishery all together.

The graph on the right shows the daily Kenai River king salmon fish counts averaged over the last 3 years. Notice that the peak of the early run, takes place on June 7th with an average of 140 king salmon crossing the sonar. We can also see that the salmon never stop entering the river, or crossing the sonar, but the low point between the two runs, which is really only demarcated by the date July 1, is on June 25th with 60 fish crossing the sonar.

Regarding the late run, it’s really easy to see that the Kenai River king salmon late-run is much larger than the early run. On average, the Kenai River king salmon late-run peaks on July 21st with 452 fish entering the river. It’s important to keep in mind that on any given year this number can be much larger than this, but also on any given year the number can be much less – this is the last 3 years average. 

Another interesting factor regarding the Kenai River king salmon late-run is that this fishery is officially closed by regulation on July 31st at midnight. You can see that on July 31st there were still 381 fish coming up the river, and if you examine the escapement graph, it’s easy to see that almost half of the total king salmon that enter the Kenai River to spawn enter the river after July 31st. The run is still very strong at that point but it ends by regulation on July 31

 

Kenai River King Salmon Fish Counts - Sonar & Location

Kenai River King Salmon Fishcounts And Sonar Location
The Kenai River king salmon sonar is located at river mile 14 of the Kenai River

Kenai River king salmon are some of the most prized fish in the entire world. The world record king salmon was caught on this river and every year trophy King salmon are pulled out of this river. 

The Kenai River king salmon fish counts are achieved through the use of an underwater sonar located at RM 14.  The photo above shows what RM14 looks like in relation to the 14 miles of river downstream as it empties into Cook Inlet.  The second photo shows a magnified view of the sonar location and the surrounding geography and even some of the underwater geography during the summer.

The second photo was taken during early spring when the water levels were still very low and there was still significant snow and ice. It shows that there is a deep channel surrounded by what will be much shallower water during the summer.  This topography makes this a great counting location as those fish will attempt to generally come up the river right in the deep channel. The shallower water makes accessing equipment easier than it might have been in other locations.

 

 

River Mile 14 Kenai River Chinook Sonar Location

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Alaska FishTopia Mobile App Screenshots

The Alaska Fishtopia fishing app is one of the best mobile companions you could want for Alaska fishing. When it comes to successfully planning a fishing trip in Alaska an angler needs every piece of information he can get.

Built for the entire state of Alaska, the Alaska FishTopia mobile app is unmatched in features and information:

  • Fish Counts & Fish Count Sonar locations
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  • Fish Species Info
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Alaska FishTopia

Want to know more about fish counts on the Kenai River and throughout Alaska? Download the Alaska FishTopia Mobile App.  All graphs and information presented on these pages are courtesy of Alaska FishTopia!