View Poll Results: Would you support barbless only for trout/char, middle and upper Kenai drainage

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Thread: barbless for trout/char, middle/upper Kenai drainage

  1. #1
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    Default barbless for trout/char, middle/upper Kenai drainage

    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!

  2. #2
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    Default Yes with a caveat

    You may wanna also make an exemption for the Lake Trout fisherman on Kenai Lake. Those are fish for the table, not C&R.

    I like the idea for the Upper Kenai and Ptarmigan, Quartz, and (I assume) Primrose. I got 1 'bow last summer in the 28"-32" range that looked untouched, that was out of about 8 to 10 of that same size range I landed over the summer that all had some form of battle wound(s).

    Interesting to see how this plays out. Be a good model for future consideration in other drainages.
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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    I agree, for now make it all flowing waters tributary to the Kenai and it's lakes above the confluence of the Killey.

    NO exemption for sockeye... that would make the law completely unenforceable. Pale peach and white yarn on a barbed octopus hook can be used as a flesh imitation for rainbow/dollies... "Oh I was fishing for sockeye, officer."

    Barbless helps tremendously in the sockeye snaggery. They do NOT cost you any lost fish during the fight if you know how to keep a tight line. Foul hooked reds effortless fall off the hook when released with a simple "de-hooker" tool that allows an elegant "no-touch" release.

    All the resident trout that get ripped by the sockeye snaggers using barbed hooks suffer horrible handling practices. They too can be effortlessly released with a no-touch technique using the de-hooker.

    Click this link to see a demo of how it works.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthrea...wpost&t=100185

    (Sorry but the video link in that thread no longer works... too bad 'cause I had lots of Kenai demos on film there)

    A barbless reg is a no-brainer and LONG overdue. It should really be in place whenever existing regulations obligate the angler to release a significant portion of the potential catch.

    I would even support it river-wide, especially when the king slot limit is in force.
    Last edited by fishNphysician; 03-17-2007 at 00:54.
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    considering the fishery is 99% catch and release, why not go barbless? it makes a lot of sense to me. and i actually can't think of too many people who would be against this regulation. you wouldn't think it would get much opposition, but i guess i should know better than that.
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  5. #5

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    Why stop at the middle . If we are releasing ER kings make it river wide. It would be nice to see streamlined regs instead of the chopped up rules we have to try and adhere to now.
    There are arguments saying that a barbless hook spins around in the fish creating a larger hole and more damage. Although, I know it sure is easier to release fish with barbless.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    NO exemption for sockeye... that would make the law completely unenforceable. Pale peach and white yarn on a barbed octopus hook can be used as a flesh imitation for rainbow/dollies... "Oh I was fishing for sockeye, officer."




    .
    I have to disagree on this one. There are a ton of sockeye, they can deal with scar, they are going up and spawn and die and that's it.
    It's hard to land a fish with a barbless hook if you are not an experienced fisherman. There are lots and lots of inexperienced fishermen that come up and want to catch sockeye, and it's hard enough for them.
    I guess there might be a person trying to cheat by fishing for rainbows with a barbed hook and a piece of yarn, but I would guess it would be sort of rare. Rainbow fishermen are more likely to obey the law, and it would take too much away from the sockeye fishery. Just my opinion.
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    Default USGS study of Alagnak River rainbows. . .

    Evaluating the effects of catch-and-release fishing on the hooking injury and immediate physiological response of Alagnak River rainbow captured by catch-and-release angling —Julie Meka, et al. USGA (edited for length, emphasis mine)
    http://www.absc.usgs.gov/research/Fi...nd_release.htm

    Background and issues addressed

    Rapidly increasing angler use of the Alagnak River rainbow trout fishery since the early 1990’s led to concerns about the health of the population(s) and resulted in regulatory changes to catch-and-release fishing only beginning in 1996. Determined by the number of angler days per year, the Alagnak River is one of the most heavily used trout sport fisheries in the southwest Alaska wild trout management area. Alagnak River rainbow trout are subjected to stresses including exhaustion during the landing process, handling and air exposure during hook removal, and a high probability of hook injury with heavy catch-and-release fishing pressure.

    The effects of high incidences of catch-and-release captures on the physiological response by trout to acute stress and any sublethal effects resulting from hooking injuries remain unknown. Mortality and sublethal effects such as changes in reproductive behavior, resistance to disease, and growth suppression or a decrease in appetite have been an observed response by fish subjected to different types of acute stress. Fish with sublethal injuries may be at risk to opportunistic organisms, disease, or fungal infection, and certain injuries, such as eye injuries, may influence the feeding habits of fish. In 1997 and 1998, USGS biologists captured approximately 2100 rainbow trout, the majority of which were caught by hook and line. The number of obvious previous hooking scars was recorded for 1900 individual captured Alagnak River rainbow trout and over 30% of those captured had at least one distinctive mutilation most likely due to previous hooking. Numerous cases of angler dissatisfaction due to trout deformities or injuries purportedly resulting from repeated hooking by anglers have been reported to USGS biologists. The detrimental aesthetics of injured trout have reduced the overall appreciation of the Alagnak River by many anglers traveling to Alaska to fish pristine waters. Research on the various factors that influence hooking injury and the duration of the angling process may provide supplemental information essential in evaluating ways to reduce the severity of hooking injuries, angling mortality, and associated sublethal effects of Alagnak River rainbow trout.

    Hooking injury - Rainbow trout were caught by hook and line using different types of terminal gear in the Alagnak River and at outlets of Nonvianuk and Kukaklek lakes. Method of fishing (fly or spin) and hook type (circle hook barbed and barbless, J hook barbed and barbless) each angler used were randomized twice daily. All captured fish were weighed (g), fork length (mm) measured, and examined for present or past hooking injuries. Angler experience was classified as novice (fished < 10 days over their lifetime) and experienced (fished > 10 days per year) based on the fishing experience of anglers participating in this study. Anglers consisted of USGS and NPS biologists and volunteers, and volunteers from other governmental agencies or the general public.

    Hooking injury: Hooking injury results were similar in all years and methods remained consistent, thus the data were combined. Hooking injuries were defined as present if there was sufficient tissue damage to external areas that would lead to a permanent scar or if the injuries occurred in sensitive areas (e.g. tongue, gills), and past injuries were old injuries thought to have resulted from previous capture by angling. The majority of fish captured were hooked in the upper or lower external jaw (71%), with the eye or eye and jaw (10%) being the next most common hook locations. About 30% of fish captured had at least one previous hooking scar (mean fork length 410 mm) indicating a substantial portion of the population is subjected to multiple captures.

    Fifty-eight (n=386/666) percent of fish captured by hook and line experienced at least one new hooking injury (which would lead to a scar or was in a sensitive area). There was no significant difference in the proportion of newly injured fish caught with J hooks by fly fishing (57% injury rate) or spin fishing (62% injury rate), or fish injured while fly fishing with circle hooks (46% injury rate) compared to J hooks (56% injury rate). However, when examining internal injuries only, internal injuries (e.g. tongue, gills, eye, and esophagus) were more frequent in fish caught using J hooks compared to circle hooks, and internally hooked fish bled more frequently than fish hooked externally. Bleeding from new hooking injuries occurred in 25% of fish captured. Of fish injured using fly and spin fishing gear with J hooks (n = 355), significantly more fish were injured when caught using barbed hooks (67% injury rate) than with barbless hooks (50% injury rate). Barbed J hooks were more efficient at landing fish than barbless hooks, with fewer fish lost using barbed hooks, and J hooks were more efficient at landing fish than circle hooks. Barbed J hooks also took significantly longer to remove than barbless hooks. Novice anglers injured proportionally more fish than experienced anglers (70% and 56% injury rate, respectively). Experienced anglers took significantly longer to land fish than novice anglers. There was little variation in the size of fish injured in this study that were caught fly or spin fishing, or caught with barbed or barbless hooks. The degree of injury, as indicated by medium to heavy blood flow, was slightly higher in fish captured with barbed hooks (15%) as compared with barbless hooks (10%) for both fishing methods. Immediate mortality was observed in 8 fish (1.2%), the majority of which were hooked internally and experienced moderate to heavy bleeding from the hook wound or gills.

    Management Implications

    The results of this study will have direct application for management decisions regarding catch-and-release fishing throughout cold-water regions, and will provide specific recommendations for management tools to restore the naturally occurring rainbow trout population in the Alagnak Wild River to a more pristine state.

    Barbed J hooks caused significantly more new hooking injuries, took longer to remove, and were more efficient at catching fish than barbless hooks in this study. A restriction on barbed J hooks would reduce the frequency of injuries and associated bleeding rates, and reduce the amount of time fish are handled when removing hooks. Although circle hooks were not as efficient at landing fish as J hooks, and the overall injury rates were similar between circle and J hooks, the frequency of internal injuries were much less using circle hooks. Numerous studies on the effects of hooking injuries on mortality indicate that fish hooked in sensitive internal areas suffer the highest initial mortality rates. The use of circle hooks could provide benefits to minimize mortality by lessening the frequency of internally hooked fish, yet the poor catch efficiency of circle hooks may make them undesirable for use by anglers.


  8. #8
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    I fish barbless so I can roll cast off firetrucks
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    There are a ton of sockeye, they can deal with scar, they are going up and spawn and die and that's it.
    There are also tons of sockeye snaggers, indiscriminately ripping the water with their barbed hooks and skewering whatever happens to be swimming by.

    They body snag tons of trout, resident fish that aren't "just gonna die anyway, and that's it." If the trout survive being gored with large barbed hooks (as big as 8/0 in the lower and middle river), they are maimed for life.
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    I've been out with several guides on the upper river and most of them used barbless hooks.... I don't have an opinion about sockeye - I usually just dip net for them at the mouth of the river but I haven't lost many trout due to using barbless hooks - play 'em right and you can get them in just fine.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    There are also tons of sockeye snaggers, indiscriminately ripping the water with their barbed hooks and skewering whatever happens to be swimming by.

    They body snag tons of trout, resident fish that aren't "just gonna die anyway, and that's it." If the trout survive being gored with large barbed hooks (as big as 8/0 in the lower and middle river), they are maimed for life.
    That's terrible too. Those are some beautiful giant rainbows in the Kenai, with incredible value. I hear you and agree, I don't like it either, but I guess it's a vote and on this one I'll have to stick by my vote against barbless. Too many people don't have the skill to land sockeye without barbs, like young kids and plain inexperienced fishermen from the lower 48. You are an expert, and judging from pictures, your kids are pretty good too. Not everyone has those kind of skills, they fish once a year and travel a long way to do it. I could land rainbows and sockey without barbs with a lower success rate, but I doubt my kids could, and lots of people would catch zero and that would be sad considering the numbers of fish in the river and how far they travel to fish.
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    Default Is this the case?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    There are also tons of sockeye snaggers, indiscriminately ripping the water with their barbed hooks and skewering whatever happens to be swimming by.

    They body snag tons of trout, resident fish that aren't "just gonna die anyway, and that's it." If the trout survive being gored with large barbed hooks (as big as 8/0 in the lower and middle river), they are maimed for life.
    Can anyone else confirm this—"tons of trout" skewered by sockeye anglers? Granted I've little experience, but with what little I have had, I've never, ever seen a snagged trout.

    But I have seen more than a few trout with one eye and pieces of their faces missing from having been "gored" by baited king rigs.

    Let's stick to the topic. . .


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    I've only seen one trout with a scar anywhere but the mouth. It could be different in the mainstem but the russian river bows are incredibly good at not getting snagged (so are silvers, and kings)
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    That's terrible too. Those are some beautiful giant rainbows in the Kenai, with incredible value. I hear you and agree, I don't like it either, but I guess it's a vote and on this one I'll have to stick by my vote against barbless. Too many people don't have the skill to land sockeye without barbs, like young kids and plain inexperienced fishermen from the lower 48. You are an expert, and judging from pictures, your kids are pretty good too. Not everyone has those kind of skills, they fish once a year and travel a long way to do it. I could land rainbows and sockey without barbs with a lower success rate, but I doubt my kids could, and lots of people would catch zero and that would be sad considering the numbers of fish in the river and how far they travel to fish.
    Will, as it's written in bold in the original message, barbed hooks would be allowed during the peak red fishery.

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    Roger on the flowing waters addition, Hippie and fNp.

    As for the river wide barbless idea, my immediate focus is on a trout/char reg change. I need to look in the existing regs regarding changing it to barbless river-wide. I think it might require an additional, seperate proposal. I have this hunch that little steps might work better, too. Maybe someone can take that one on (river-wide barbless) and poll it as well (fNp :-).

    So far the poll as stands at 15 in favor, 5 opposed, though I believe some of the opposed may be opposed because they think this I suggested barbless for sockeyes, but I did not as it is currently written.

    Keep the comments coming!

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    Default Example from elsewhere

    There are some amazing densities of rainbows in several rivers out here that receive what in Bristol Bay's standards is quite a bit of pressure....I'd guess 10 percent of the Kenai. These fish are concentrated in a small area and get recaught many times. Hook related scars and deformities can range from 80 to 90 percent in some of these waters. But studies of these populations show them to be as abundant as they were before pressure increased to modern levels and all proposals for barbless areas have been denied. There are NO barbless areas within the state as of now, Fly only waters are as restrictive as it gets. This is starting to smell of the question "Do we manage PEOPLE....or POPULATIONS" . I don't like seeing a rainbow with missing parts either....but until it's conclusive that it has an adverse affect on the population....it will probably just create a more intensive management (which you will see is highly unpopular if you follow the Nelchina bou debacle and other threads) and an enforcement headache.

    If Bristol Bay's meager pressures can rack up that kind of hook scar ratios....barbed vs barbless aint' gonna help here and certainly not on the Kenai....there are just too many danged people on the river to have a virgin fish. Accept what the Kenai fishery is, mourn what it was, and just be glad you can still catch something at all. IF you get tired of it all, PM me and I'll direct you to a place where hook scars are less than 5 percent, I'd love to help folks (especially DIY residents) see this part of the state.

    I know it seems like it will help, but I've researched this myself and in the end it could possibly mean a prettier fish picture....but not more fish on your line. And the potential enforcement headache with an integrated sockeye fishery is a big red flag as well.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio View Post
    Will, as it's written in bold in the original message, barbed hooks would be allowed during the peak red fishery.
    Char,
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I still don't like it though. The regs are already too thick.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Can anyone else confirm this—"tons of trout" skewered by sockeye anglers? Granted I've little experience, but with what little I have had, I've never, ever seen a snagged trout.
    You can confirm it for yourself, John. Just come on down to the Riverbend boat launch and see for yourself just how many of those "pesky" trout are dragged out of the river by the belly or rear-first. At the height of the sockeye run I would conservatively estimate 50-60 trout get "ripped" by the flipNrip crowd each day. And that's just a measly 25 yard stretch of bank.

    The most common release technique is to grab the barbed 3/0 to 8/0 salmon hook with pliers, lifting the skewered trout with the pliers, then forcefully shaking until the hook is ripped out as the trout is simultaneously thrust upon the water. If that doesn't work, some folks resort to stepping on the fish to "stabilize" it while the hook is violently jerked out... the same way those same folks release their snagged sockeye.

    When gaping holes are left in the belly, I wonder how many of those fish die of overwhelming perotinitis?
    Last edited by Daveinthebush; 03-17-2007 at 22:56. Reason: Spelling
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    Default snagged trout

    I don't know how many of them die but i can confirm that a lot of them do get snagged and have witnessed many times the technique that fnp mentions. To most of the tourists and uncaring locals ripping and stripping it is more of an inconvenience than they think its worth and they show very little mercy in their release techinques. Barbless hooks certainly couldn't hurt anything. As for those that are concerned about losing a few reds without the barb i would say God forbid you learn how to fish!

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    Default Enforcement problem. . .

    If it's that bad, Francis and gotfish?, that's horrible indeed, and barbless hooks should be mandated in terms of wanton waste if for no other reason. The little sockeye flossing I've done has been miles upstream from that area, and while I've seen folks give a bit of a rip at the end of their drift, I've never seen folks blatantly ripping hooks through the water, deliberately snagging. Where the heck is enforcement down there?


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