I normally don’t get involved in the salmon disagreements on the peninsula, because I’m just a fisherman who fishes for the needs of my family. And since it’s only my wife and I now, it usually doesn’t take much. I’m usually satisfied with the 10 or 20 reds I can dipnet out of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.
Well, that’s how many I used to get in the ’80s, and mostly through the ’90s, but then I started seeing an annoying trend, especially in the Kasilof. Where I used to be able to net them 8 to 10 feet from shore (sometimes right next to it), I found myself adding 4, 5, 6 feet of pole to the net handle each year just to make it out to the fish, until finally if I wasn’t fishing in the middle of the river I wasn’t getting anything.
The size of the fish went down dramatically, so that the fish now shoot right through the gill net that used to work fine. I went down to four or five medium fish, then then for couple years, and finally to none last year.
On two different occasions I stood out there for at least four hours. I had water up to the top of my chest waders, and my net was planted firmly on the bottom in the middle of the river. I got two bumps from fish so small that the gill net barely slowed them down.
I’m no expert, people, but there is something definitely wrong out there. If the commercial fishermen aren’t catching them, we are in big trouble.
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