Over the past 10 years or so I've seen a dramatic increase in the number of trout that are missing mandibles or are otherwise scarred up in the Kenai. I believe most of this damage is probably a result of barbed hooks being removed from the fish to release them. It seems rarer and rarer to catch a 20+ inch rainbow these days that has no significant scars or has two complete mandibles. Likely, there's mortality associated with the use of barbed hooks for these resident, repeatedly caught fish. Is it time to go barbless? Please vote on the idea below:
Only single, barbless hooks may be used for trout and char in those portions of the Kenai River and its tributaries between the mouth of the Killey River upstream to the southern end of Kenai Lake from from August 15th through June 15th each year.
This allows the sockeye flippers to continue to rip sockeyes, but provides protection to the rainbows and dollies during peak fishing times. Note that this includes Quartz and Ptarmigan Creeks. It also allows the bait soakers targeting silvers from the Killey downstream to continue soaking bait.
Please vote and comment. I'm considering proposing this or something like it to ADF&G. Thanks!