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Pressure continues on Kenai River

Posted: June 26, 2013 - 9:02am

King salmon fishing on the Kenai River has been closed due to lack of fish. This is the right thing to do as the king stocks have been falling steadily for the past several years. Last year when the second run of kings was closed, the guides went elsewhere to satisfy their clients and to earn their guiding fees. They took their clients red fishing. The portion of river from Bings Landing to Skilak Lake was choked with guide boats. Guides can only fish four clients at a time from a boat but can put several groups at a time out on the bank to fish for reds. Guide boats could be seen taking  groups of clients up river and dropping them off. They would then go back for another group repeating the process until they had at least three groups out on the bank at various locations. There were so many fisherman in that stretch of river that it was sometimes impossible to find a place to fish. Bing’s Landing and Dot’s Fish Camp were so full that vehicles pulling boat trailers were parked all the way to the highway. Can the river take this pressure and If this is allowed to continue how long will it be before the reds go the way of the kings? 

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smithtb 07/03/13 - 06:58 am
Kasilof has different rules

The Kasilof, which is largely a drift boat only river, has some rules to combat this as well. Guides can only take one boatload of clients per day. While the guide association tried to overturn this during the last BOF meeting, I think it is a good thing for the Kasilof,, especially because it has also seen increased use due to the Kenai King closures. (It is also seeing a much stronger King run than the Kenai)

Perhaps the Kenai needs this rule as well.

Also, let us not forget that the Kenai River management plans obligate the Board of Fish to take action if inriver fishing pressure is causing a loss of riparian habitat. It may be time to take a look at that.

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