Fish and Game sportfishing regulations released, booklet printed with errors

Graphic Courtesy Alaska Department of Fish and Game This graphic shows, in red, the correct portion of the Kenai River, between the Upper Killey River and Skilak Lake, which should be subject to the May 2 to June 10 fishing closure. The Fish and Game regulation book was printed with a smaller area of closure than what is currently in regulation.

Just over 228,000 copies of the Southcentral Alaska sportfishing regulations book were printed and are being dropped off in communities all over the Kenai Peninsula as the area prepares for an influx of summer anglers. However, three errors were included in the summary.

Portions of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game booklet covering the Deshka River drainage, Slikok Creek and the Kenai River contained regulations that were changed during the 2014 Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting — but some of new information did not make it into books before they were printed.

Some information, like the new seasonal closure of fishing from the Soldotna Centennial Campground boat launch was listed, but other changes were lost in the shuffle.

“Our reg books end up going through a fair amount of review through different people ... obviously something just slipped between the cracks at some level,” said Southcentral Regional Supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game James Hasbrouck.

He said several people read through the summary again after the errors were discovered.

“Hopefully what’s online and with the news release, everything should be good to go,” he said.

The books were released along with an announcement of corrections and changes made to the online version of the regulations. Still, the errors could cause some confusion.

“As with any new regulation, there’s a period of education we go through,” said Fish and Game area management biologist Robert Begich. “This doesn’t make that education any easier.”

Hasbrouck said Fish and Game spent $53,700 to print the books.

Part of the problem, Begich said, was the short period of time between the Board of Fisheries meeting, when certain regulations were changed, added or taken out of the fisheries, and the deadline to get the regulation books printed.

“We’re in a hurry to get the new regs out,” he said.

Despite the inaccuracy in the printed books, Begich said he did not anticipate a problem, at least not with the expanded boundary change on the seasonal fishing closure between the Upper Killey River and Skilak Lake.

That fishing closure, which runs from May 2 to June 10 closes a portion of the river between the Upper Killey River and the outlet of Skilak Lake, has been expanded to include the river down to a Fish and Game marker about one mile upstream of the Lower Killey River.

“Very few people use that area of the river,” Begich said.

Fish and Game staff will spend a weekend drifting down the river and educating anglers about the changes, Begich said.

“The best thing that we can do is spend some time (on the Kenai River) and let people know before it closes,” he said.

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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