Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Simple solutions to in-river fishing problems being ignored by state

Mr. Lesterson, you question the "professionalism" of the other guides and yet you attack your colleagues in public. There are many solutions to the problems that we are facing in the Kenai River; unfortunately, these will not be answered by those who govern us.

We have addressed the state Department of Fish and Game on the issues, not the ones concerning commercial fishing, but "in-river" solutions for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers and yet the department refuses to look at these. One recommendation is doing a simple "Hatch Box

Program" to place fish up in the lake to stretch out the amount of pressure that the Kasilof is seeing when the Kenai has failed to produce. (As commercial fishing has been able to use this as their own sockeye enhancement grounds.)

This would stretch 100 boats from two miles of river to 13 miles, and not only that, but it would not cost the state of Alaska a penny to implement.

The situation with the Kenai at this moment is a problem of Mother Nature. If the counts are correct, the fish are there. But we all know that salmon barely bite on a rising river, so should I blame commercial fishing for a rising, dirty river? I am too afraid of being struck by lightning to blame God.

As for Mr. Johnson, he has carried the torch to help keep you working as a fishing guide. Nevertheless, you come against a man whose very heart is to make sure that there will be kings and silvers left for a future generation. When you consider that the percentage of the salmon harvested in this state is 98 percent commercial and 2 percent sport, the total amount of salmon harvested in this state, he has every right to try to educate this community on the truth.

Mr. Lesterson, I don't know who you are, where you fish or how much you care, but I was raised on this awesome river. It is all I know and all I do. I have personally fished the

Kasilof maybe 10 times in my whole life, and I don't have a professional guide association sticker on my truck or boat, but I consider myself to be a professional guide.

As for my husband, I am grateful that he is a willing man who gets up every day throughout the winter and does what he needs to in order to provide for myself and children who are not his own.

As for your attack on the entire guiding sector of this state, if your feelings are that strong against us then maybe you should retire your oars.

Shella (Mrs. Jeff) Webster Another Kenai Warrior, Soldotna

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