Board of Fisheries proposal seeks to clarify Anchor River boundary

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Dave Martin, United Cook Inlet Drift Association President, thumbs through the day's agenda during testimony at the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting on the Lower Cook Inlet Monday Dec. 9, 2013 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Thomas Hagberg is tired of looking for plywood markers around the mouth of the Anchor River.


The Cook Inlet fisherman proposed a change in how Alaska Department of Fish and Game managers mark the boundary line on the southern end of the Anchor River that anglers targeting winter salt water king salmon cannot cross.

Each year, the Fish and Game staff take at least six 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood out of storage and run them up the beach on the east side of the Cook Inlet where they are placed around the mouths of the Ninilchik River, Stariski Creek and the Anchor River to protect them from fishing pressure.

From a mile out, those red-painted boards can be nearly impossible to see, Hagberg said.

His proposal, which only addresses one of the markers, would change the boundary line on the Anchor River to the U.S. Coast Guard managed Anchor Point Light, about a quarter of a mile away from its current location.

However, a snafu in how his submitted proposal was printed in the Board of Fisheries Lower Cook Inlet proposal book led many users to believe that Hagberg wanted to change the boundary line to Bluff Point — some 6.8 miles south of its current location. Representatives from the Anchorage Advisory Committee, Kenai and Soldotna Advisory Committee and others widely condemned the move during their board testimony until the original intent of the proposal was clarified.

For Hagberg, a charter fisherman who said he has enough location equipment on his boat that he does not necessarily need to see the boundary, the proposal is less about geographic distance and more about having a marker that is clearly visible and that people can recognize as a boundary line.

“It’s guys from the (Mat-Su Valley) coming down who don’t know anything and they’re fishing right in front of the boat launch,” he said. “Those are the ones that are getting the citations, they don’t know any better, they don’t know what that (plywood) is all about.”

He said the boards are known to disappear, and another angler, David Lyon agreed.

“Occasionally the plywood will be blown over or a landslide will take it out,” Lyon said.

Hagberg interrupted with a grin and said, “Or somebody is using it for a picnic table that day.”

Further complicating matters, the plywood marking the boundary near the mouth of the river may not have been in the right place for a few years.

Mike Booz, a Fish and Game biologist from Homer, said the department heard from a user that it was in the wrong location and has since moved it to the right one.

“The marker is in the same place last year as it was in 2012,” he said.

Booz agreed with Hagberg that the Anchor Point Light would be much more visible than the current marker.

“Where we can, we like to use permanent landmarks as a permanent boundary because they’re more easily recognizable and you don’t have this problem with temporary signage,” Booz said. “But, as somebody else brought up... there are a series of these markers further up the beach for this same fishery and there’s no opportunity for a permanent marker in those locations.”

Rashah McChesney can be reached at


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