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Thread: Gulkana Fishing:

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Gulkana Fishing:

    As most of you know the Upper Copper River has been shut down to catch and release and no bait for Kings. This is frustrating in many ways and I am glad the AF&G is taking a conservative approach as the fish are renewable and we need to protect the stock most of all. The counting tower is 5 full days (via fish) from the mouth where I am located and we are seeing good numbers of nice Kings being taken by our groups. On the 22nd one of my groups hooked and landed 6 kings and maxed out on reds. It is my feeling that the numbers are on the way and with any luck the fish biologist may reopen the fishery if the numbers rise but we will see.

    Reds: Only one word can describe the number of Reds that we are seeing and that is THICK! Most of my groups are limiting out on reds quickly and having a ball along the way. Looking at the AF&G web site (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCo...displayResults) numbers at the counting tower you will see to date we have had 19,700+ Reds pass the tower and when compared to 2010 on this date the numbers were a whopping 5,000 fish. On 6/20 & 21st 2011 we had 4,300 Reds blast by the tower and compared to the same dates in 2010 the count was just over 800 fish.

    Well in closing the Kings are catch and release but you can still have a blast hooking them while youíre filling the raft with Reds. We are seeing historic numbers of Reds, donít miss out on the fun!


    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    Mile 127.5 of the Richardson
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com
    907-822-4290
    We are right on the River!

  2. #2
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Walt without picking a fight I would be like to know what the potential mortality rate might be for playing with our food. Not to say the fish numbers will not or are not picking up I hope they do and hope and trust you have a very good season. Just can't see promoting the C&R on spawning fish with currenlty depleted numbers. IMO a stressed fish is a dead fish if played for to long.

    Just sayen.

  3. #3

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    IMO it all depends on how the fish is caught and released. There is a right way and a wrong way to catch and release fish. As long as someone follows some simple rules, I don't see a problem with it. They are gonna live long enough to spawn as long as you keep them in the water. Don't touch the gills. Don't overwork the fish while fighting it. As long as those basic rules are applied I don't see a problem with catch and release. I know studies have been done showing an increase in cortisone levels from the stress of catch and release, but I think that applies more to fish that aren't anadromous. But again, the is just my opinion. Keep on catching them Walt.

    Bushwhack Jack

  4. #4
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    IMO F&G has really screwed up in managing this fishery this year. There are likely enough kings in the river system, but F&G looks only at the fish counters. Never mind that king catch rates are up all through the river system with the huge commercial opener and plentiful kings being seen by dipnetters and those fishing the lower Gulkana.

    At this points all plans to head that way are cancelled this year. If I want king salmon this year I will buy it from Fred Meyers after the commercial guys process, freeze it, and ship it to Seattle.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  5. #5
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    I agree with what your saying and the fish must be fished, landed and returned the right way. I opperated out of Kotz for years with our target being Dollies in the 18-20+ pound range on the Kug, Kelly and Wulik rivers. All of my fly fishing groups were died in the wool catch and release fisherman and very few of those big spawners died. A fish that is hammered will see a higher death rate than one who is returned with a kiss!

    Keep your rod tip up and I will see ya on the river!

    Fish On!

  6. #6

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    Agree with Blue Moose on this one. I am not a Bio or fish expert but know a handful and have just a bit of personal experience dating back 30 years or so. The reason for not allowing the removal from water of salmon being released in the UC system anymore (for pictures and such) was because of studies demonstrating mortality from improper handling. I think there is a difference as well as to how far up the river a fish is caught. I have successfully released lots of kings on the lower river but I think the further up you go the odds of survival are diminished (though I've released plenty of fish there as well). Last year I felt terrible in having to keep a king which I simply sucked the life out of. After about 15 minutes of trying fish CPR I decided to pull the plug. The result was a dirty red fish with soft meat in my cooler. The fact is this run is in trouble and signs have been pointing there for over 5 years or so. All of us need to work together to find some solutions. I have been feeling pretty guilty about the few fish my family and friends caught in early June. No one thinks that keeping just one king is a big deal. However your one king, my three, the guy with the fishwheels four or five, and the commercial catch all add up. Simple math, if over a certain period of time diminished numbers return they can only produce so much offspring. Hopefully some good ideas will generate as to how and make the fishery rebound. The great thing about Alaska is that we still have habitat, spawning grounds, etc. to produce healthy runs.

  7. #7
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Great conversation guys. This as well as the other Gulkana thread is full of great ideas. I am sure there are some ADF&G peeps checking in on the thread however I will get with the Fairbanks and Glennallen people and pass some on. I am really really guilty of not being able to make most of the recent meetings and comment periods concerning this fishery. email is a wonderful tool. Walt as always yout a class act keep up the great work and business venture a qaulity outfitter and rental place was needed in that area and you seem to be filling that need to the utmost. Cory I am on your page I had to kill a nice bow on B creek a couple of years ago my fault 100 percent went in under geared for the size of the fish in the system at the time and I knew better. They take to long to grow that big so I no longer chase them with a 3 W fly rod down there during the peak of season.

    Thanks again guys for the quality input. On a lighter note my wife knows how I screw up typing bad so she got me a new shirt stating Dyslexicts have more NUF! I will wear it with pride.

    Tight Lines to all.

  8. #8
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_s...-River-opener?

    How many of the 1,700 kings caught during the first commercial opener on the Copper River would have made it past the counting tower by now? Just asking.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  9. #9
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    Well its good by to the keepers on the Gulkana in just a few hours. Today was huge on the Gulkana. I have never seen so many kings taken! We were maxed out today and every boat I sent out today caught kings. I still think there are lots of Kings in the river. The river was not that busy but the number of nice fish landed was crazy! I saw very few reds to day as everyone was zoned in on Kings.

    Needless to say the Reds are thick! Come on by and toss in a few flys guys, beats the Rat Race most other rivers by a bunch!


    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com
    907-822-4290

  10. #10

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    Good to know the fishing is still good! We will be down there next weekend whether we can keep a king or not! Out of curiosity, what kind of water should we look for when targeting reds? We've fished the Klutina, but that is a different beast altogether! Cheers.

  11. #11

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    What are some good campgrounds or public areas where one can bank fish for reds on the Gulkana?

  12. #12

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    Second Nuke4U's question. We just picked up a new truck at the Alyeska Auction and want a trip for it and our new camper and Gulkana sounds like it could be a good spot next weekend. Are there any campgrounds and bank fishing opportunities that you all can point me to.

  13. #13
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    Lots of good choices to stay when you come on down to the Gulkana River:

    You can camp at Saliors Pit which is an unimproved campground right on the river, mile 129.5 of the Rich. Gakona RV park has all of the good stuff and they are at mile 4.25 of the Tok Cut off 822-3550. Gulkana River Ranch has cabins on the River and you can fish and launch your raft from there as well, 822-3130. Gakona Lodge is very nice and they are at mile 2 of the Tok Cut off 822-3482. Gakona Junction is at mile 0 of the Toke Cut off and has cabins 822-3664.

    If you need any other assistance or gear call me or drop a line.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    mile 127.5 of the Rich
    822-4290
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com

  14. #14
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    Lots of good choices to stay when you come on down to the Gulkana River:

    You can camp at Saliors Pit which is an unimproved campground right on the river, mile 129.5 of the Rich. Gakona RV park has all of the good stuff and they are at mile 4.25 of the Tok Cut off 822-3550. Gulkana River Ranch has cabins on the River and you can fish and launch your raft from there as well, 822-3130. Gakona Lodge is very nice and they are at mile 2 of the Tok Cut off 822-3482. Gakona Junction is at mile 0 of the Toke Cut off and has cabins 822-3664.

    If you need any other assistance or gear call me or drop a line.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    mile 127.5 of the Rich
    822-4290
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com
    Walt won't lead you astray. I met him Friday and his good advice led to a spot to camp and a nice fat king. I'll be renting a raft from him next time for sure.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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