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River bank upstream of Soldotna Creek closed to fishing

Posted: June 27, 2013 - 7:53pm

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced that shore-based sport fishing will close at 12:01 a.m. Monday along a 475-foot section of the Kenai River shoreline immediately upstream of the Soldotna Creek-Kenai River confluence to protect riparian fish habitat.

According to a Fish and Game news release, the area being closed is on the north bank of the Kenai River approximately between river miles 22.1 to 22.2 and is posted with regulatory markers. This closure is in addition to the 17.5 miles of Kenai River shoreline closed by regulation each year along the Kenai River from July 1 through August 15. These other seasonal riverbank closures along the Kenai River are described on pages 52 and 53 of the Southcentral Alaska sport fishing regulation booklet.

In these areas, fishing is only allowed from a boat located more than 10 feet from shore and not connected to the shore or any riparian habitat. “Riparian habitat” means all areas within 10 feet in either direction of the Kenai River waterline.

The riverbanks closed to sport fishing are identified by red/orange and white colored department signs marking the closed riverbank areas.

— Staff report

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kenai123 06/30/13 - 12:04 pm
Does the ADF&G know what it is doing?

This is a prime example of how our ADF&G hovers over her nest "attempting to protect it" while eating her own eggs. Why only close 17.5 miles of Kenai River shoreline? Why not close the total shoreline? Anyone with any common sense can see that this is the future for the Kenai River. Complete shoreline closure is the eventual ADF&G shoreline goal. Then also complete boat access closure with a ten foot high glass case lining fence for the shoreline so historic anglers may purchase a license to (once a year) approach a selected location, press their faces up against the glass and catch a glimmer of the river. Then an ADF&G official will punch your license and you will not qualify for viewing privileges until next year... Is this where you desire to see the Kenai River in the future? That is where our ADF&G is headed.

The truth is that while our ADF&G "guards the nest" it is at the same time destroying our fish stocks in the ocean. Our ADF&G is so controlled by commercial fisheries profits that they are willing to destroy one fish in order to allow commercial fisheries to profit by harvesting another fish. It is completely illogical to close down all Cook Inlet to public king fishing because of a lack of kings and then open those same waters to the commercial gill net slaughter house. But that is what the ADF&G is doing. Gill nets are non-selective, they will kill EVERYTHING in the water. Our ADF&G has zero creditability on this as they attempt to speak out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.
It is not logical to try to save our river banks while destroying our ocean.
It is not logical to close down public fishing while expanding private commercial fishing.

Come on ADF&G, either we have a monster king problem and EVERYONE should be closed down or the ADF&G has no idea what it is doing regarding our king stocks. There isn't a third choice ADF&G. In what reality can you get away with declaring a fisheries disaster and then keep hammering away at the disaster with gill nets? Remember, that is what our federal fisheries managers did back in 1959 when they totally destroyed our salmon stocks. Is this what the ADF&G is after? Total king stock collapse statewide? Well we may get their total king collapse but we certainly won't have to worry about the shoreline of the Kenai River. Those banks will be in perfect condition, there will not be any fish in the river but the banks will be perfect.

Closing down people mashing the environment on the river while at the same time "commercially mashing" our fish stocks is not logical fisheries management. Our ADF&G appears to not know what they are doing.

JOAT 06/30/13 - 01:50 pm
Talk about lack of logic

K123, please step away from the COMMERCIAL GUIDE scene for a moment and try to take a neutral view of the big picture. The ADF&G is not "controlled" by any commercial interest, and that includes both the ocean-based commercial fishermen AND the river-based commercial guides.

You need to learn a thing or two about how gillnets work. They do not "kill everything in the water" as you claim. There is a ton of science and decades of real world experience involved in the method that our local commercial fishermen use to selectively target the abundant sockeye resources of our area.

Your bias is completely out of whack and your "logic" is far off base if you can give a pass to the hundreds of commercial guides and thousands of sport fishers from all over the planet rolling in to trample down the banks, rip the lips off countless fish just to kick them back in the water, sneak out 2 and 3 times a day to different spots to get multiple limits, leave the banks and waters littered with tons of garbage, fishing line, and human waste. And then they get back in there RVs and head home without a second thought given to our community.

Fact is, the bank draggers on the Kenai do exponentially more damage to the fish than any setnet site could possibly do. Closing down the banks was the only tool that ADF&G had left in the box after begging people for years to stay off the banks while fishing. They continued to do it, so the law had to make it illegal.

Let's compare that to the commercial setnetters. Many, many years ago, there were drops in the early run King numbers and there have never been many sockeye during the early run. So, the commercial setnetters voluntarily quit fishing the early runs of June. When they stopped fishing, it had no impact on Kings, which have seen a continued decrease in returns that has done nothing but worsened. The only people fishing in June have been the Commercial GUIDES on the river along with their hoards of sport fishers. All those people, destroying habitat and targeting only the biggest fish have brought the King runs of June to the brink of extinction. But out of the other side of their mouths, those same guides sit there and claim that it is the setnetter's fault.

Absolutely amazing, and very sad, that there are people out there who buy into the guided lies that have been put out. Why on Earth would anyone believe guides who are being paid to lie and cheat just so some tourist can hook a "monster" fish, kill it, and toss it back in the river? And then they get bent out of shape over our commercial fisheries that are feeding hundreds of thousands of people one of the most important protein sources on the planet. Crazy, corrupt, or just stoopid, people need to gather some facts.

Alaskaborn 07/04/13 - 03:55 pm
Read the emergency order

If you read the emergency order, you will see where it says "The warranty deed and conservation easement for parcels in this plan contain restrictive covenants including restrictions to sport fishing, along the Kenai River shoreline of parcels." This means when the property was given to the state, it stipulated that the riverbanks would be closed to fishing.

123, your post missed the mark because you failed to either read the justification in the emergency order or understand what it said.

kenai123 07/05/13 - 12:20 am
joat is one very confused person

Joat you are one very confused person on just about every issue you list. I will attempt to address all 11 of your confused points.

1.] You believe sport fish guides to be commercial fishermen. You are completely wrong on this issue as our courts have ruled over and over that you must first catch and then sell a fish for direct momentary gain to be legally labeled a commercial fisherman. It does not matter how many rants you make or the number of times you wish it were different, this is the only way anyone may become a commercial fisherman. If you want to make up some kind of fair-tail go ahead but as far as the law is concerned you are plainly wrong.

2.] You do not understand that our ADF&G is controlled by politics and money. You need to understand that since commercial interest have more money than the public, that extra money results in our ADF&G being ultimately controlled by commercial interests.

3.] You believe gill nets don't kill everything in the water because there's "ton of science" out there allowing them to selectively target the abundant sockeye and not the kings in our area. Cook Inlet set netter recorded killing 20 - 30,000 kings annually before the king issue went ballistic back around 1980. After that the reported number of kings plunged to 8 - 10,000 kings annually. The same nets were fishing the same water, the same fish were swimming by but the reported catch of sockeyes went up as the reported king kill went down. Is this the "ton of science" you are referring to?

4.] You believe sport fish anglers are on a (search out and destroy mission from hell) to destroy the planet, "without a second thought to our community." Sport fish anglers are the only humans on this earth who regularly patrol up and down the Kenai River collecting any visible trash which might accumulate there. I have participated with this effort and in thirty years never met a single commercial fisherman there interest in helping. Sport fish public anglers are the very person who have elected the officials who have supported and protected all the rivers on the Kenai Peninsula. That is about 50,000 people voting in elected officials with maybe a couple thousand commercial fishing permits, with maybe 5 - 10,000 commercial fishermen resulting. The non-commercial fishing public is the group which has protect and cleaned up our waters and land. That has all resulted with very little help from commercial fishermen. So as you cast your gill netting shadow across the general public, try taking a look at your own user group which has historically never ever participated in any real pro Kenai Peninsula environmental concerns.

5.] You believe preventing the public from accessing the Kenai River to be a good thing because of your above reasoning. You have no idea what you are speaking about.
These are the same people who have lived and died to protect the Kenai River. There are abusers and big mouths in every user group but in general the public is not out to destroy any of our fisheries. If a blade of grass gets bent over or sockeye bodies build up somewhere, it did not result from a desire to destroy. These possible negative results may happen accidentally as a person attempts to place a fish on the dinner table. Even this negative result is no different that an ESSN trampling a king salmon in order to catch a sockeye salmon. The two events are the same but you attempt to confuse these issue into somehow becoming different.

6.] You believe set netters voluntarily stopped fishing the June. This is a complete lie. The regulations were changed as part of user and ADF&G agreements which allow set netter to get this for that. Your confusion over the history in this area has no doubt resulted from either incorrect word of mouth or you are just confused again.

7.] You believe the only people fishing in June are sport fish anglers. You believe that these June anglers have brought our king runs to the brink of extinction. Again you are painfully
ignorant with regard to who is really fishing in June. Each year our Kodiak commercial gill net fisheries begin around June 9th and therefore impact most of our Kenai River June run of kings. In 1980 Kodiak commercial gill nets were recording king by-catches of only around 1 - 8,000 kings, those same nets ramped up their king by-catch to 40,000 kings by 1990 and 80 - 100,000 kings by 2001. This was all happening while our Cook Inlet set nets were reporting catching less and less kings with more and more sockeyes each year with the same gear in the water. This is all happening while commercial fishermen all over Cook Inlet hear of all the sockeye being caught off the Kenai River so they move to fish excessively off the Kenai River, year after year. This is happening while Kenai River anglers are reporting catching less and less kings each year. At the same time our commercial herring and crab fleets were busy wiping our herring and crab off the map. By 1980 - 1990 this commercial fleet saw that the resource was gone so it began converting its boats into pollock trawler. They then began stalking the waters of the Gulf of Alaska by 1990 and destroying both our great pollock and king stocks. Pollock directly and kings as by-catch. Commercial fisheries destroyed our marine food web and then when it was gone, moved to wipe out our halibut, pollock and kings. It has all been happening right under your nose but you find it in your heart to blame a statewide ocean king loss on a few anglers on the Kenai River? We have dozens of rivers around the state with the same king loss problem and they have zero anglers fishing them but again you claim our statewide king problem to be a few anglers on only the Kenai River. So much for your confusion on who has brought our kings to the brink of extinction.

8.] You believe that anglers blame set netters for the loss of our kings. You bet anglers blame ESSN for being PART of the reason for our king losses. As you can see above there is plenty of blame to go around for a whole lot of people. Maybe if you are just one of these commercial users you fail to see the impact from just what you are doing but the cumulative result is the death from a thousand cuts. You are right, the blame cross hairs are on the ESSN fishery but they are also on the all the other commercial users between the Kenai to the Gulf of Alaska and beyond.

9.] You believe that sport fish guides are lying about something ?? and are doing it because they are being paid to lie and cheat just so anglers can abuse fish. You are totally confused on this one because the average sport fish guide actually is trying to protect the resource and catch fish, even the ones that appear to not care about anything. These guides would actually rather quit fishing and go do something else than knowingly and directly lie about the fishery. That said these guides do not do everything correct all the time and that is because they are actually human. I have a feeling that your confused belief in this area is driven by the people you rub shoulders with lying and cheating to make a buck.

10.] You believe that commercial fisheries have a God Given Right to catch our fish cause they are "feeding the planet". Being the self appoint feeder of the planet must be a really tough job. For your information there is no such thing as a God Given Right to catch our fish or feed the planet. Our Alaska Constitution allows our ADF&G to sell our "extra" fisheries to the world and extra is clearly defined as being what is left over AFTER public fisheries have received their common use fisheries needs. This means that if we have a billon public fisheries users, that there will no doubt be zero remaining commercial fisheries allocations. "The God Given Right to catch our fish" actually resides with the Alaskan public and not a private commercial limited entry system. This all means that if someone is going to lose, it is going to be limited entry fisheries. You are very confused as to who actually legally owns these fish.

11.] You believe that you are the possessor of the holy truth and that other less knowledgeable persons should become as enlightened as you. As you can see you are pretty much off base on most of these issues so I will not attempt to debate who possesses the holy truth within this claim.

These are all basically groundless claims Joat. The reason for your confusion is rather simple. The problem is that you are not a common use fisherman. You are in fact only a limited entry, commercial set net fisherman who will attempt to continue catching, killing and selling as many salmon as you can, for as long as the law will allow you to do so. Once you sold your first fish to that first customer you crossed a magical line. That transformation happened to you when you caught and sold that first fish. After that you transform into a person who can no longer be satisfied by the thrill of hooking into and landing a single fish. You acquire the madding cash fish fever, which is much like gold fever. That fever infects your mind, eventually making you fish crazy and willing to sell your best friends, relatives and natural resources down any drain just as long as you can catch and sell (just one more fish). I do not blame you personally in this regard because money can make everyone crazy. I do blame anyone when they volunteer for this crazy effect and allow their logic or reason to take a backseat as you have shown with each word you have typed which is favored to somehow allow you to acquire that next fish. Catching and selling fish must eventually become an outrageous addiction, much like alcohol, drugs or gambling. I suggest that you go get a little (fisheries rehab) rather than trying to convince the planet that the east side set nets do not catch our Kenai River kings. These nets are slaughtering our Kenai kings, they need to be closed down unless they can find a way to stop by-catching our kings. I do not expect you to be involved in finding a way for nets to stop killing kings because you are addicted to the money which flows from the selling of our fisheries heritage to appease your commercial fisheries money addiction. Those solutions will come from others out there but not from Joat.

kenai123 07/04/13 - 11:23 pm
Alaskaborn, story is about a waste of state time and money

The ADF&G is again going after Kenai River shore fishing within the above story. The justification in the emergency order is the same as has been used over and over on the Kenai River as the DNR and ADF&G pound obnoxious looking signs all over the river. I have watched these sign from their beginning and nine times out of ten those signs are pounded into river banks which have NEVER in my thirty years of watching, had ANYONE fishing on them. The program is pure politics as usual because my guess is that 90% of the areas NEVER had anyone even attempt to fish from their banks. Once in a while they pound a sign down river from a popular bank fishing area and those signs suddenly go missing. Most of this program is meaningless and not protecting riparian fish habitat.

My claim attempts of show how our ADF&G wastes our funds and its time doing the wrong things. While the ADF&G is wasting time pounding signs into river bank never fished by anyone, they could be attempting to address what is going on out in the ocean with regard to our marine food web being wiped out thus destroying our plankton, phytoplankton, zoo-plankton, crab larvae, crab, herring and finally our king salmon. We can all see that the story is proclaiming the meaningless efforts of pounding signs into places most people would never fish in a million years. This story generates response which remarks at the unbelievable waste of our public resources. The waste is the real story even as the writer intended that we all say "oh isn't that great, the state cares so much for our river banks". The writer may not of intended to announce that this is a great waste but I say that the story is actually about great waste.

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