A strong, early pulse of king salmon on southern and central Kenai Peninsula streams has runs off to a good start. But, managers say it is still too early to tell if the Cook Inlet’s ailing king salmon runs will rally from the last few years of poor returns.

Thirteen days after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began counting early run king salmon on the Kenai River, there are hundreds more fish estimated to have passed the sonar by the end of May than the last two years combined. On the Anchor River, there were more kings counted in the river by May 30 than any year since 2007.

But multiple years of poor king salmon returns have led to fishing restrictions on both rivers. The Kenai River has been closed to early run king salmon fishing for the past two years, while managers closed two weekends typically open to king salmon fishing on the Anchor River and restricted the area available to fishing on the remaining opening weekends.

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