Buoyed by a small late bump in returning king salmon, the clear-water Anchor River on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula has achieved its minimum escapement goal for only the second time in the last four years.
As of Thursday, 3,949 kings have been counted at the river’s weir some 2 miles upstream from the mouth. Biologists say they need between 3,800 and 10,000 spawing kings spawning to secure healthy runs in the future.
Since July 16, nearly 100 kings a day have passed the weir, an increase from earlier this summer. Last year, only 3,530 king passed the weir. Typically, a few stragglers arrive throughout August.
The Anchor was closed to sport fishing on June 9 due to lagging king returns. At the time, state fisheries biologist Carol Kerkvliet estimated escapement between 3,314 and 6,319 fish.