The Kasilof River King Salmon is the second most popular king salmon fishery on the Kenai Peninsula. A combination of wild-run king salmon and hatchery produced king salmon at the Crooked Creek hatchery create really great opportunities for catching really big fish! Crooked Creek is a small tributary of the Kasilof River that meanders through the Caribou Hills before meeting up with the Kasilof River near the Sterling Highway bridge.
Kasilof River King Salmon Fish Counts
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Kasilof River King Salmon Fish Count Introduction (Crooked Creek Weir)
Like the Kenai River, the Kasilof River has two distinct runs of king salmon. These monster king salmon share this amazing river with nearly a million sockeye salmon each year, a fall run of silver salmon, rainbow trout and steelhead.
The Crooked Creek hatchery was established in the early 1970’s and was a hatchery for more than just king salmon. In fact, the first king salmon were not released until 1975. Over the years the hatchery stopped rearing sockeye, coho, and steelhead and now, only produces king salmon.
Kasilof River king salmon fish counts are not actually done by underwater sonar like many other sites throughout Alaska. Instead a weir is used and the counts are done manually.
Kasilof River King Salmon Fish Counts - Daily Fish Counts (Crooked Creek Weir)
The Kasilof River king salmon fish counts are a bit more complicated than the other rivers on the Kenai Peninsula. First there are wild run king salmon and there are hatchery king salmon. Hatchery king salmon are identified because they have had the adipose fin clipped before being released into the wild.
The fish counts for the Kasilof River are actually taken at the Crooked Creek Weir and the counts are made up of only natural wild-run king salmon. It does not include returning hatchery fish.
Some of the returning wild king salmon will go up past Crooked Creek to spawn in the Upper Kasilof and these fish will not be counted either. So, to summarize the Kasilof River king salmon fish counts are of only naturally produced king salmon and we don’t actually get reported accounts of returning hatchery fish. However, we know the numbers are good because we catch a bunch of them!
Kasilof River King Salmon Escapements (Crooked Creek Weir)
The targeted escapement goals for the Kasilof River king salmon escapements have been modified slightly over the last couple of years.
Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon Sonar Location
The Kasilof River sonar site is located at River Mile 7.8, just above the Sterling Highway bridge in Kasilof and adjacent to the Kasilof River State Recreational Area. The sonar site consists of two counting stations located across from one another on the banks of the river.
Conditions for operating sonar in the Kasilof River are nearly ideal due to the river’s natural features. The Kasilof River sockeye salmon fish count sonar is one of ADF&G’s longest-running sonar sites.
Information collected at the Kasilof River sonar site is used to produce abundance estimates for sockeye salmon and draws strong interest from personal use and commercial fishermen. Situated in a publicly accessible location just upstream of a Sterling Highway bridge on the Kenai Peninsula, sonar site crew members frequently answer questions from visiting fishermen interested in the site’s counts and operations.
Kenai Peninsula Fish Counts
Want to know more about the fish counts on the Kenai Peninsula? Follow the links below to learn about the fish counts and when to fish all of the Kenai Peninsula’s major rivers and salmon species. Kenai River King Salmon (early run / late run), Kenai River Sockeye Run, Russian River Sockeye (early-late), Anchor River Chinook, Ninilchik River Chinook, Deep Creek Chinook