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Thread: One less angler on the Kenai Rv in 2013..... A familar name

  1. #1
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    Default One less angler on the Kenai Rv in 2013..... A familar name

    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?

    It couldn't.

    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.

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Me in Manokotak, Alaska, on the banks of the Igushik River, July 1976; approached by an old old Yupik Eskimo named Kusma who watched me (fresh from Sitka) catch and release one dolly varden after another: "Hey, you shouldn't do that. Pretty soon fish not come back, you just let'em go like that.".
    After that day I became a C&K fisherman for life.

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    Thanks for sharing . . .

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    About time he gets it. Been sayin' it for years... the only fix is to stop fishin'. Until the majority of people realize that "they" are screwing it up, not the "other" guy, the sooner we can get on with some healing.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  5. #5

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    Good read...and I concurr that the only way to fix it is stop fishing it...exactly what I did many years ago. I haven`t fished for kings there since 1983.


    Heavy Hitter Fishing
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Yep not enough for out of staters and locals any more in many places.Thats why folks should live where they play.JMOFO
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    As Marcus once spoke of it to me: "... pimping the river.".
    You reap what you sow every single time. Why do people always think that a resource can be raped forever without it dying off?

  8. #8

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    Yes, just one of the real factors listed in the Dispatch article I posted in the 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' thread we should have been allowed to explore.

    Fortunately for me - my dogs have meanwhile grown opposable thumbs, have laced an old man's boots, and will see to it I get outdoors and spend Far, Far less time here watching important topics succumb to hijackers. (Maybe that was the goal.)

    Thanks, Cohoangler for posting this perspective!

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    Thumbs up, FnP! (I'll have to hunt down one of your other posts for some rep). I don't always agree with you on exactly how to "get there", but I've never doubted the strong conservation ethic you wear on your sleeve.

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    I think Francis makes some excellent points. I haven't fished kings for 3 years now and I rarely run my boat....just fish for reds and silvers off my dock. Very few of us have that option but I can at least feel that I am helping one tiny bit.

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    Well, this was the only possible outcome for a true conservationist, kudos to Francis.

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    It's ironic fNp mentions Les and Spence as sealing the fate of the Kenai. I know them closely, and have fished with them both. Spence had foresight way back in the 1970's when he first saw the demise coming, and he had the unselfish willpower to do something about it. His conservation efforts, through the first licensing, limiting, and organization of guides, were ahead of the time. But he was overwhelmed with the political and social-economic steamroller - so in 1978 he put aside his own passion for the mighty King, sold his guide business, and to this day has never fished for Kings again. Les and Bud never fished with the same leisure either. Les' management suggestions to limit guides, curb exploitation, and promote conservation also fell on deaf ears in the midst of political power-houses like Bob Penney and the KRSA, who took advantage of the marketing Les' fish brought them. Bud told me he hasn't fished Kings in years. Les died unsettled with the fallout from his famed catch, calling it "maddening".
    Last edited by Brian M; 11-27-2012 at 12:24. Reason: personal comments

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Now if he could talk all the Washington permit holders to do the same
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    To me the Kenai Reds are the real draw. I have never caught a Kenai King. I just cant see chasing them when they numbers are where they are. C&R in my book is a joke. Why beat them up before they spawn and with the river choked with reds why not fish them? To me the Reds are where its at. a resource that is doing great and limits the last two years have been upped to harvest more of them. Kenai reds are incredible on the grill or in the broiler and one does not have to feel guilty killing a few. I will just keep on chasing reds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Well, this was the only possible outcome for a true conservationist, kudos to Francis.
    A true conservationists doesn't continue to fish Kings for 19 years when he knows the run is in trouble...and then quits fishing only after the fish are gone and the season is closed. That's like saying sorry only after getting caught.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Well, this was the only possible outcome for a true conservationist, kudos to Francis.
    Conservationist. noun. A person who advocates or strongly promotes preservation and careful management of natural resources and of the environment.

    Pretty well describes fNp.

    Even though he won't participate in 2013, I'm sure his passion will continue for all things Kenai.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcman View Post
    Conservationist. noun. A person who advocates or strongly promotes preservation and careful management of natural resources and of the environment.

    Pretty well describes fNp.

    Even though he won't participate in 2013, I'm sure his passion will continue for all things Kenai.
    I guess it is all about perception then. I personally do not view catching and releasing king after king as "careful management". To me it seems that the game just ran out on him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I guess it is all about perception then. I personally do not view catching and releasing king after king as "careful management". To me it seems that the game just ran out on him.

    Perception is reality, sayak. It is possible to have one's heart in the right place and one's head in the wrong place. Poop in, poop out . . and all the good intentions in the world can't and won't change that.

    Killing kings is killing kings.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    After giving this some thought, I'm not entirely comfortable having this discussion without the consent of the member who is the focus of the thread. He posted this note on another forum, not here. I'll attempt to get ahold of him to see if he would like to be involved in this discussion. If not, I'd rather allow him to have the discussion on the forum that he chose to post this on in the first place.

    Edit:

    I've been in touch with fNp, and he gave his consent for his words being used here. We can continue the discussion, but please remember that our forum rules prohibit negative personal comments.
    Last edited by Brian M; 11-28-2012 at 16:24.

  20. #20

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    I don't think that several years of poor escapements is a reason to write an entire fishery off. Lets not forget that just several short years ago, we were enjoying very strong returns of Kings to the Kenai. One bad cycle is not exactly a collapse. The 100 years of commercial harvest data show that it's happened before. It's true that the early run is in much worse shape, and yes, there are less large Kings in both runs, no doubt due in part to years of selectively harvesting large fish in the river. Yes we have habitat issues, and despite the fact that organizations like KRSA call themselves conservation based - we must fight their constant suppression of these issues. It seems they are more interested in preserving the funding that gives their people 6 figure salaries rather than the fishery or our resources.

    It's refreshing to see that many have reached the logical conclusion - you can't allow unlimited access to a limited resource. The commercial industry, despite their faults, realized this many years ago. We must now insist on some resonable limits be placed on the commercial inriver industry, and limits placed or creative solutions be imployed to mitigate the impacts of increased private angler use as well. It's great that many of you choose to target Kenai sockeye instead, but hundreds of thousands of people fishing the river for Sockeye will lead to many of the same problems.

    It's time for limits on all of our fisheries. It's time for us to realize that our rivers are the smallest, most sensative ecosystem that our Salmon spend the most vulnerable parts of their lives in. Perhaps some conservation measures need to be implemented on our rivers, despite the fact that they would be unpopular. Fishing the Kenai in a drift boat has much less environmental impact. Is it less enjoyable?

    Encouraging thread.

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