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Time to limit fishing pressure on Kenai River

Posted: July 30, 2013 - 2:36pm  |  Updated: July 31, 2013 - 8:38am

I guess I should not be shocked that the East Side Setnetter has once again been completely shut down in 2013 due to the low return of Kings to the Kenai River. At least this year we had a few decent fishing days as opposed to last year which ended up being the worst season since 1959. The amazing thing to me in this whole scenario is how the average non-Setnetter does not seem to see the amount of human pressure put on the Kenai River as part of the problem. As I drove to Anchorage to return to South Carolina on Friday I was astounded by the amount of people I saw along the banks of the Kenai fishing for sockeye. Then I read articles about high bacteria levels and bank erosion along with sport fishing guides who have possibly damaged king salmon spawning beds. Also the guides have been efficiently catching the largest fish possible for 30 years now which has had an obvious effect on the reason the kings have gotten smaller.

How can this amazing pristine river continue to be pressured like this? I understand that we all need to share in king salmon conservation but I believe it is way past time that we limit sport fishing pressure on the Kenai the way Setnetters were limited in Cook Inlet over 40 years ago. It should be an amazing honor for any non-resident (including myself) to be able to cast a line into the Kenai River. Perhaps a lottery drawing much like a big game hunt is in order to help reduce the pressure. This should add money to the state while making the river more prestigious at the same time. I’m afraid if something is not done soon we stand to lose a lot more than a low return of kings!

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KenaiKardinal88 07/31/13 - 10:46 am
Commie Fishers Got Filthy Rich - Sports Fishers Got Zip

ADF&G's bias toward comm fishing interests was in full display this year. The average Alaskan sports fishers are on track for one of the worst salmon seasons in decades.

The puff article above tries to paint a picture of pain for commie fishers, but the facts are just the opposite.

Also, in addition to the setnetters killing lots of king salmon this year, the drifters are still catching the stressed, and in mortal danger, king run.

Many commie fishers are not year-round Alaska residents and their default rates on loans from Alaska have historically been sky high. In other words, they take everything and leave nothing but garbage.

jpblough 08/01/13 - 09:41 am

So how many people are you going to allow along the banks of the Kenai and boats in the river? I grew up in Alaska and was a resident until 1999. I use to fish for Sockeye near the Soldotna airport when I was 12 in 1989 and would think there was a crowd if 4 other people were there. I visited that same hole with my resident sister and kids last summer and found it to be very similiar to the Russian River area with around a 100 people in that one small stretch. I had to beg a guy from California who had his limit to move over so my 12 year old resisent neice would have a chance to wet her line. The change made me sad and disgusted. So I ask you Mr. Kenai Kardinal or Kenai123 how many people on the river is enough? Once there is a million weekly users would you consider reducing pressure or do you think the eco system could handle 3 or 4 million? And if you terminate the commercial fishing in the inlet you would have to control escapement some how. Maybe more dipnetters is the answer and raise their bag limit to a couple hundred a day. I am sure that would have no environmental impact on the river either. Please think logically..... without limits it will one day be gone!

WRO 08/01/13 - 11:02 am
I did

I grew up fishing the kenai, Its always been crowded. ADFG has done a great job limiting the erosion to the bank etc by limiting fishing areas and installing boardwalks etc. With the King dismal king runs and the soon to be reduced halibut limits, the tourist crowds are starting to self regulate down. (not good for the economy IMHO)

As for the bank erosion, one good flood event will do more change in a week than all the boats will in 10 years.

Over escapement is a myth and as soon as people stop believing it, the better off the fisheries will be. Both sports and Dipnetter saw about 1.5 good weeks of fishing this year. The brunt of ADFG's reactionary management style has affected all users.

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