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Some good news on the fishing front

Posted: June 14, 2013 - 1:29pm

Finally, a couple of positive pieces of news about fishing on the Kenai Peninsula.

First, we heard this past week that sport anglers fishing on opening day on the Russian and upper Kenai rivers were greeted with clear skies, pleasant temperatures and lots of sockeye salmon in the river.

That’s certainly great news, particularly as we continue to be concerned about king salmon runs across the Kenai Peninsula, and what those returns will mean for commercial and sport fishery management decisions in the coming months. But for today, we’re grateful to have some fish in the river.

We’re also pleased to see Stormy Lake in Captain Cook State Recreation Area restocked with native fish following efforts to eradicate invasive northern pike.

Pike have long been a concern on the Peninsula, where they are a threat to other species. Government agencies have tested a number of techniques to address pike-infested lakes, from netting to chemical treatment.

Pike in Stormy Lake were of particular concern because of the lake’s proximity to the Swanson River, and its run of coho salmon.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said that all indications are that the eradication effort was a success, the Clarion reported last week. The final step was to restock the lake with native fish, including arctic char, longnose suckers, rainbow trout and coho salmon, which was completed Thursday.

A great deal of time, effort, expertise and funding has gone into combatting pike in Peninsula water bodies. Ideally, pike would never have been introduced in the first place.

However, we’re hopeful that this project will be a long-term success in restoring the treated lakes to their pre-infestation states, preventing the spread of pike to other sensitive areas, and in raising public awareness about the impacts of invasive species. And we hope the knowledge gained from this project will help biologists address any future issues that may arise.

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