There is absolutely no valid reason to ban bait and hooks for silver, humpback and sockeye salmon fishing in the lower Kenai River between Aug. 2 and 14 this year.
In the last thirty years I have “accidentally hooked and released” about 10 kings while fishing other salmon during this time period. That is about a king every 3 years and they were all released in good shape. So if each angler catches 1/3 of a king each year and there are about 100 anglers fishing everyday below the Soldotna bridge, that would be about every third person accidentally hooking and releasing a king each year. That would be about 33.3 kings accidentally hook and released each year. Maybe 3 of those
kings would die annually from hook and release mortality. We are really talking about a grand total of 3 kings dieing annually from the whole Kenai River sport fishery, while using bait and multiple hooks from July 31 to Aug. 14.
This is a specific example of our ADF&G micro-managing our fisheries while it magnifies the meaningless and miniaturizes the meaningful. This is also a specific example of how our ADF&G projects to the public that it has little idea what they are actually doing. Three king salmon per season is not enough of anything to make any kind of fisheries management decision. Our ADF&G is now officially functioning as a political body, as they somehow attempt to placate shutdown Cook Inlet commercial gillnetters. Further destruction of our Kenai Peninsula’s economy with unwarranted “collateral Kenai River king salmon restrictions” are absolutely outrageous. These political ADF&G fisheries managers must be held accountable for their ridiculous use of politics within freshwater fisheries to resolve saltwater problems. Our ADF&G is the problem on this one.