Fish and Game has just closed the Kenai River to king fishing for the month of June, and has limited native king fishing in the Kasilof River, ostensibly to assure maximum escapement for spawning in a very low run year. There is no question escapement should come first to assure reasonable king runs 5 to 9 years from 2010. However, limiting king harvest should not be restricted only to the rivers' fisheries! That action penalizes only the river guides! The source of mature spawning kings is the ocean and Cook Inlet, which should also be closed to harvesting kings. If the Kenai Peninsula rivers are closed for kings for the month of June, it should be obvious to Fish and Game that both tourists and locals will simply move to the saltwater to troll for kings using bait. And the king spawning escapement will be reduced even more than Fish and Game's current forecast.
To assure maximum escapement for spawning, especially for the Kenai kings, I strongly recommend that Fish and Game immediately close the Cook Inlet salt water fisheries to all king salmon harvest through June, 2010. If Fish and Game chooses not to do this, its management of the Kenai Peninsula king fisheries is truly suspect!
Richard Hahn, formerly of Soldotna
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