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Fish and Game restricts Kenai River early run king fishery

Posted: May 9, 2013 - 8:30pm  |  Updated: May 10, 2013 - 8:44am

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Thursday issued an emergency order restricting king salmon fishing on the Kenai River to catch-and-release/trophy salmon fishing only, effective May 16.

According to the emergency order:

■ From 12:01 a.m. May 16, through 11:59 p.m. June 30, in the Kenai River drainage, from the mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and less than 55 inches in length may not be possessed or retained, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately. Harvest of king salmon less than 20 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length is still allowed.

■ From 12:01 a.m. July 1, through 11:59 p.m. July 14, in the Kenai River drainage from Fish and Game regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge, king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and less than 55 inches in length may not be possessed or retained, may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Harvest of king salmon less than 20 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length is still allowed. Use of bait is prohibited in the Kenai River drainage from Fish and Game regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake, and in the Moose River from its confluence with the Kenai River upstream to the northernmost edge of the Sterling Highway bridge.

According to a Fish and Game press release, the restrictions are designed to achieve the optimal escapement goal of 5,300 to 9,000 king salmon while providing sport fishing opportunity throughout the early run.

Fish and Game reports that the preseason outlook for early-run Kenai River king salmon is for a total run of approximately 5,300 fish, making it prudent to start the early run fishery as catch-and-release until inseason data indicates that some harvest can be allowed or that further restriction is necessary.

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pengy
250
Points
pengy 05/10/13 - 10:33 am
0
0
How could ADF&G make this

How could ADF&G make this change without any new data? The sonar doesn't go in until 5/15 so what is the basis of this change? I'm for the fish but this order at this time makes no sense to me.

beaverlooper
2785
Points
beaverlooper 05/10/13 - 10:50 am
1
0
Better safe than sorry.

Better safe than sorry.

pengy
250
Points
pengy 05/10/13 - 10:59 am
0
0
Agreed. But couldn't they

Agreed. But couldn't they have made this decision to go catch and release months ago when the forecast was first made? There's no new data since the forecast was first made.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/10/13 - 01:53 pm
3
0
NO TO CATCH AND RELEASE

Come on Alaska Fish & Game. Grow some gonads!

Catch and release does nothing to help sustain a healthy king salmon population. Most of the Kings that are caught and battled up and down the river will probably not survive to spawn.

Catch and release does nothing except put some $$$$ in the pockets of the guides. Furthermore, most tourists sport fishers did not come up here to catch and release fish.

Catch and release also opens the window for illegal fishing activity.

Either close the sport fishing or open it to retention of Kings.

Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 05/10/13 - 05:08 pm
1
0
Management plan? What management plan?

Seems that the inriver fishery and the guides are finding themselves in the same position the setnetters were last year on June 25th - closed to harvest before a single King has been counted.

Yes, early run Kings are having issues, and everyone expected restrictions. But we have management plans for a reason, and it would be nice if ADFG not only followed those, but went back to managing on data rather than predictions.

Sad that they have replaced scientific decisions based on data made at the local level with political decisions made in Juneau. Sad that one organization keeps lobbying in Juneau, and everyone keeps letting them get their way...

Excellent to see most locals on the same page.

radiokenai
562
Points
radiokenai 05/11/13 - 08:17 am
0
0
EXCELLENT CALL ADF&G!
Unpublished

Lets get the word out early to all Guides and Tourist that have decimated the Kenai river King Run, "don't waste your time visiting the Kenai....you have wiped them out!"

I say "Close the whole King Fishery down for several years!" All it does is pay the "Outside Guides" to exploit our rivers!

Go Home! There are no more fish for you to fry on the Kenai!

isnarewolves
2
Points
isnarewolves 05/11/13 - 09:15 am
0
0
Who keeps the fish?

So once again Alaskans are forced to a catch and release. Yet commercial fish is allowed to scoop the Kings by the tons and sell them back to us.
What a great management plan, make us all buy fishing licenses and stamps. Collect revenue, to pay for management, But not allow any harvest.
Thanks Board of Fisheries and ADF&G.

Our only recourse is not to buy the license and stamp. to show civil protest

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/11/13 - 10:12 am
0
0
The outlook for the early run

The ADF&G make their 5,330 king claims on the 2013 early king run projection at "The outlook for the early run of Kenai River Chinook salmon in 2013 Memorandum".
http://www.adfg.alaska.govindex.cfm?adfg=ByAreaSouthcentralUpperKenai.fi...
The Kenai River early king run needs at least 5,300 to
allow a harvest and the paper they are working from claims there will be no room for harvest. The paper shows McKinley and Fleischman, (M&F) and Ricker escapement modeling projection references and projects early run king escapement into the Kenai River. I see the difference between the M&F and Ricker (state space projection modeling) as the Ricker adding on a time and productivity element. It appears that the M&F modeling reference claims that we are just as likely to go over our Kenai River, early run king OEG, as go under it when it states a 95% probability that the run will be between 3,330 and 9,894 Chinook salmon. I conclude that the Ricker modeling is claiming that it can go beyond the M&F modeling and pin-point or project an actual king escapement number of 5,330 kings because it uses a (time specific productivity element) when making its projection. This time specific productivity element appears to reference king productivity
efficiency within the early run, over many years in the past. The claim appears to be that because of the additional (efficiency and time reference), a precise number of kings can then be projected escaping into the Kenai River during the early run. I would love to see the data used within this (time specific productivity element) of the Ricker time specific productivity element?

I am sure that many people would like to understand how one can collect (in river test net king escapement data) from acceptable king runs and then calculate or project data results from that data, which concludes that future king runs from those parents will be unacceptable? I see the M&G modeling saying that it is very difficult to make this kind of a future data projection and the (Ricker state space modeling) saying that making that leap is relatively easy. Because the two models appear similar, I am concluding that the difference between the two has something to do with the (time specific productivity element) used by the Ricker modeling. If my assumption is correct I am then assuming that the (time specific productivity data) would shed some additional light on how the Ricker modeling can display
evidence of how acceptable run data can project unacceptable future run projections. This is the reasoning our ADF&G and Tim Mckinley are using to support their
claim that there is no harvest able surplus.

riversharkes
7
Points
riversharkes 05/14/13 - 10:51 am
1
0
saltwater kings

they should also close king fishing in the inlet...lot's of kings getting caught down by ninilchik/happy valley....everybody should have skin in the game to protect the fish.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/14/13 - 12:23 pm
0
0
computer program

No new information? It's not new information the ADF&G have been working on for the past few months. It is there new fangled computer program which takes all their incorrect sonar fish count numbers, which they have been collecting for thirty years and crunches them into one giant computer program. Toss in a couple mathematician and software programmers, flip on the blender and you have their latest "self-aware, self correcting, know all, see all, do all," fisheries computer entity.
Our ADF&G has now presenting this silicon wonder to the public as a substitute for our Alaska Board of Fisheries process. We don't need public hearings anymore to figure out our fisheries allocation issues, we just ask the magic know all computer our Fish War questions.

What is the definition of over-escapement? Just ask the magic computer and its spits out its magic and correct answer. Not enough kings in the river? Just ask the computer which user group gets its head lopped off. What's that, you think the magic computer made an error? Sorry but that is not possible, it has its own built in error detection / correction programing. Are you seeing what is going on here?

BigRedDog
659
Points
BigRedDog 05/15/13 - 06:12 am
2
0
WAY TO MANY GUIDES!!

I got disinterested in fishing the Kenai back in about 1982 when I thought the guides were over running the fishery. Now with over 300 guides daily plying their trade it's even harder to get excited about fishing Kings on the Kenai. These folks have gotten SO used to pillaging the fishery for a living that they think it ought to be legal to plunder this fantastic fishery. The combat fishing, bumper boat mentality, slot limits, tourist and no-bait, and lodges everywhere kind of take the thrill out of the prospect of landing the big one.
Then I look at my old framed copy of Les Anderson holding up the FAT BOY in the Cheechoko News and re-read the story of Les and his brother-in-law Bud Lofsted landing the giant. Then I wonder, should I trust my old monofilament or use the 50# braid? Every time I see the smile on old Les's face and the strain to hold the Biggest king ever caught, I am reminded of my first thought when I heard Les had caught the BIG one. I dare say every fisherman on the River had the same feeling I did. That if I couldn't be the one to catch the BIG one, thank the Lord above that he blessed Les with this fish. He was just that fine a person, it should be an example to all fishermen everywhere. I think the Lord just looked down on the River and gave Big Boy to the most loved person on the River that day. Want to catch bigger Fish? Give of yourself as much as Les did and maybe you'll hook up a big one too.

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