An well known contributor to this website has posted the following on a different website (Piscatorial Pursuits).
I thought the folks on this BB should know. The author is EyeFish. Also, known as FishDoc, and several other monikers. His discussions and debate with Marcus and others on the Fisheries Management site is legendary.
I am not looking for a conversation or a response or a rant or a discussion on the future of the Kenai River and it's famous fishery and how it got there. I'm posting this for information purposes only. No need for anyone to reply, although I realize some folks probably will......
"The post I dedicated to f4b got me thinking about my own fishing journey over the seasons, esp the Kenai. Since moving to WA in 1994 I've kept pretty meticulous annual notes. Way back, I often fished the river only 2-3 days as part of a more diverse trip. The fishing was good enough that we never worried about getting blanked out on big fish. Putting someone on a fish of 50 pounds or better was just a given. Fish of the trip is a special honor each year. Since '94, I've been fortunate enough to claim it four times, my brother Noel three, and f4b twice. The other 10 times have been one hit wonders... evidence that my brother and I just spread the love around.
And just how big a fish are we talking here? Well, out of 19 seasons, we've broken 40 pounds on 15 trips, 50 pounds on 12 trips, 60 pounds on 8 trips, and 70 plus on 4 trips. But despite what may sound like pretty impressive numbers, the truly astounding numbers are the tremendous rod hours logged on the water to earn every Kenai king that comes to the boat. And while there are notable exceptions, as the years go by, it translates to ever more rod hours for ever smaller and ever fewer kings. More and more impact on the habitat in pursuit of a diminishing precious resource. Just like "peak oil" in Alaska, we have experienced "peak kings" on the Kenai.
From the time Spence DeVito put the Kenai on the map with a very famous photo of his 76 pound fire-engine plastered on books magazines and brochures, the fishery experienced tremendous growth. A little more than a decade later Les Anderson's world record Kenai king would forever seal the fate of Alaska's most popular sportfishing river. The late 80's and early 90's would see the maniacal rise to the pinnacle of King Fever, with limits of ginormous MEGA-bucks receiving generous doses of wood shampoo to fill cold dark aluminum fish boxes and giant MEGA-hens killed to restock bait coolers to do it all over again. No one thought twice about killing the biggest baddest breeders in the run. Just how long could it last?
The past two decades have seen the progressive collapse of the chinook fishery nearest and dearest to my heart. Pretty interesting how the rise of the fishery pretty much mirrors its utter collapse in time scale.... it only took about two decades in each direction. Seems to be a pretty reproducible pattern for every prime wild salmonid fishery touched by the hand of man.... dead in about 40 years.
Since moving to WA, I have returned to the Kenai exactly 19 times. It's with great remorse and regret that I've decided that there will be no trip #20. Bottom line, the fish have been over-exploited, and the habitat continues to be stressed by collective over-use.... yes, even by those who profess to love it most.... myself included. And even though I preach a conservation-minded message for harvest reform on my first "home river", my very presence on the water makes me a part of the problem.
While I conscientiously strive to limit my individual impact, like tens of thousands each season, I too have left my hydrocarbon footprint in her glacial green flows, muddied her banks with my wake, trampled the vegetation on her banks, and killed more than a few of her precious kings. Until the management of this once-mighty river and her one-of-a-kind chinook changes for the better, I'll have a very difficult time returning to fish for Kenai kings.
At no time in history have the words "less is more" been more true.
One less for 2013. "
End of essay.