I moved to Alaska in May 1981 and I went fishing on the Kenai/Russian River several times that first summer. Fishing for reds has always been a great way to share the outdoors with friends. I started fishing for kings a couple of years later. After a couple of years fishing out of a friend’s boat, I was convinced that I should buy my own boat. Soon after that, I purchased a 27-foot trailer and I had my own camp on the river.
Before I retired in 2007, I purchased land and I built a house close to the river. Over the years, I estimate that I have spent a small fortune entertaining friends and fishing for kings. I have had several friends make an annual pilgrimage to the Kenai to fish with me. We have all noticed the size of the kings caught was getting smaller over the last ten years. This is our chance to change our ways and preserve this great run of big fish. The tourist dollars spent on hotels, meals, guide trips, etc. will all be lost if this fish is allowed to become extinct.
I am concerned that our children and grandchildren will not have the opportunity to catch a fish over 50 pounds. Sportsmen from the world over will not be coming to Alaska for trophy fish if they can catch bigger fish elsewhere. Fishermen spend big dollars here and they will continue to come to Alaska after the oil is gone ... if we have the fish they want.