Reader questions logic of river decisions, actions

Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2005

An open letter to Fish and Game Director Kelly Heppler:

While guiding on the Kenai River this year, I have had plenty of time to reflect back on some of the stupid decisions-laws the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has made.

Let me start with the miles and miles of bank closed to fishing now. Do you really think that has improved the fishing? How many millions of dollars have been spent on bank restorations? Has that improved fishing in any way? If we doubled the millions spent so far, would fishing be twice as good?

I am talking about our only remaining wild runs of salmon. I can imagine you scratching your head right now, so I will help you. I am talking about kings, silvers and pinks.

Do you feel that the 35 horsepower limit has improved our fish counts? I know that a 10-year study was done, and after 10 years you weren't quite sure yet, but can you give us just a gut feeling? Do you feel that taking away the fifth passenger from guide boats has increased the king count?

I would like to hear from you how by limiting us to one single hook, it has improved the number of kings entering the river. Here is another question: When you took away the guides own personal rod during silver season, by how many percent did the run increase? How many more coho now enter the Kenai River since you decreased the sportfishing bag limit by 33.3333333333333 percent?

I have taken 14 clients silver fishing on the Kenai so far this month, and we have caught a total of zero. My wife is a guide, and she has caught three for 19 clients. My daughter is also a guide, and she has caught one for 12 people. That is four coho salmon for 45 paying clients!

I would like to hear from you, sir, about how you think you are doing a good job. I dare you to answer me in this newspaper. I'm sure everyone would all like to know your answers to these simple questions.

Please drown us with more of your data, pie charts, graphs, etc. We're waiting to hear back from you.

Jeff Webster

Soldotna



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