- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

KENAI, Alaska (AP) - Wildlife officials are waiting for the king salmon run to develop, but say preliminary signs near the Kenai Peninsula are positive.

Homer-based Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet told The Peninsula Clarion (https://bit.ly/1JeGM26) that preliminary numbers of king salmon are better than they’ve been in several years.

“We are still waiting for the run to develop,” he said.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game started counting early run king salmon a little over 13 days ago. Hundreds more fish than the last two years combined have been recorded so far by Kenai River sonar.

King salmon fishing was restricted on the Kenai River in 2012, causing the closure of a nearby commercial fishery and impacting sport fishing and tourism. The U.S. Department of Commerce declared a fisheries disaster and millions were paid to Cook Inlet fishermen.

Soldotna-based Fish and Game area management biologist Robert Begich says the strong early signs this year could be due to king salmon starting to migrate earlier, and may not mean a strong run is coming.

“It’s not clear yet,” he said. “It’s too early in the season.”

Begich says anglers are anxious to start fishing, but that he’s more interesting in seeing king salmon numbers improve.

“A few hundred fish a day, that’s what we want to see rather than just dozens trickling in each day,” he said.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, https://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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