Proposals sent to Fish and Game

Posted: Monday, February 02, 2004

The Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Board recently forwarded a number of proposals to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for department review in advance of the 2005 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting.

The passage of the proposals is the first step toward making changes to Alaska's fishing regulations. After the department has a chance to review the suggested changes, they'll comment on the proposals and send them back to the Kenai board. The public will then have a chance to weigh in on the proposals, which will again be voted on by the board. Any which again pass will be forwarded to the state for inclusion in the 2005 proposal book at the Board of Fisheries meeting.

The seven proposals passed on by the board last Wednesday deal mainly with Kenai River sportfishing issues, including several that deal with the issues of guides and nonresident fishers on the river.

The proposals passed Wednes-day include:

Repealing the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Kenai River closure for nonresidents in May and June, and replacing it with a regulation that says nonresidents may not fish downstream from Skilak Lake on Sundays in May, June and July.

Changing the section of regulations that governs guide operations to include both guide boats and commercial vessel operators, i.e. rental boats. This change would limit rental boat users to the same days and hours on the river as guides.

Amending the regulations to state that guide boats may not "interfere" with other sportfishers prior to their designated start time at 6 a.m. The board said it believes the change is needed in order to prevent guides from moving into prime fishing holes earlier in the morning than they're allowed to fish.

Changing rainbow trout regulations to allow for the harvest of rainbows measuring less than 18 inches in length for the entire river.

Changing Dolly Varden regulations to allow for the harvest of Dollies measuring less than 18 inches in length for the entire river. Both the rainbow and Dolly regulations were proposed as both a way to protect larger fish on the river as well as standardize regulations, which currently vary in different sections of the river.

Revising the Dolly Varden season upstream of the Moose River from a year-round fishery to the same season as rainbow trout, which currently cannot be targeted upstream of the Moose until June 15. The board stated that changing the rules would close a loophole in the regulations that allows anglers fishing above the Moose River to target rainbows while fishing for Dolly Varden.

Extending the coho salmon fishery to end on Oct. 31 instead of Sept. 30. The committee argued that Fish and Game still would be allowed to close the season if the coho run is poor, but under the old rules could not extend the season even when there were strong silver runs.

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