In answer to Greg Brush’s question, “Are our Kenai kings done?” published in the Peninsula Clarion on Aug. 4, no, Kenai kings are not done, but the big Kenai kings might be, and, as I see it, it is the guides and sport fishery in general who are to blame.
What rancher in his right mind continually, year after year, kills off and harasses the biggest and best of his herd and expects anything but ruination?
Moreover, I believe that the great, unacknowledged villain decimating the big kings is catch and release, which, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game mortality studies, kills outright one of every 12 kings subjected to catch and release. Additionally, either God or nature has programmed those fish entering the river to spawn with enough vigor to accomplish that goal. How many times must a big king be caught, played with, and released before its spawning vigor is compromised, before it no longer retains enough vitality to dig a redd and spawn?
The sport fishery is reaping what it has sowed, and the proof of that fact is the first run of Kenai kings, which is not subjected to gill-nets at all yet. It too is being decimated by sport anglers.