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Thread: AF&G Gulkana Clousure

  1. #1
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    Angry AF&G Gulkana Clousure

    Ok I know this will not go anywhere because when the Fish and Game make a decision it is made with no change in direction ever. I am approaching this as an outfitter and fisherman and yes the bottom line is the Gulkana Closure hurts my bottom line for about 2 weeks each June.


    I called AF&G in Glennallen and the reason for the closure was due to "Anticipated Weak Returns" When I pressed them on what data set they were using AF&G cited Miles Lake sonar counts and I returned with the question "Can the Miles Lake sonar tell the difference between a Red and a King Salmon?" The answer was no. So I pressed on with what data were they using to justify the "Anticipated Weak Return" and AF&G came back with the Eyak fish wheel.


    See link:http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/pdf/fisher...07-5032009.pdf
    This is where I have a serious problem. The fish wheel is manned with my daughter and she gives me day to day updates. They have been operating for 7 days total and she is seeing 75-100 per day. I also looked up the historical data from the Eyak fish wheel and the data runs from 2001-2010. This 10 year period shows daily numbers ranging from 2-3 fish upward to 120 and the average daily count running between 40-50 fish. This is 2009 data and in 2009 the AF&G reports a total of 2400 Kings were tagged, and the tagging period ran from May 13 to July 1st.

    This year the wheel did not become operational until June 3rd or 4th because of the ice and flood conditions on the Copper River. Kelsie estimates that they have been tagging 75-100 fish per day for the past week which is right on the normal tag numbers. They will see a drop off after the major push goes through and historically that happened after June 18-20th at Miles Lake. If she averages 75 fish per day through June 20th they will tag about 1300 fish and they will still have another 10-15 days at reduced numbers. Without even considering the fish they could not tag in May due to the ice/high water conditions her numbers will be right in line with 2010 and 2009 tagged fish returns. It is important to understand they are only sampling a fraction of the total number of Kings that push through in to the upper Copper River.

    I know that we need to protect the fish stocks period but I really see red when the state makes these decision with no real data, just "Anticipated Returns". The Gulkana and most likely the Kultina will only catch and return King fishing this year, and I hope AF&G gets it right. The sad thing is we are seeing a loss of returning Kings across the entire state. Sport fishing is paying the price for the errors of commercial fishing. Until the state finds a way to reduce by catch we should expect to see King fishing in Alaska a catch and release sport. Tough to get the fishing public excited about catch and release every year and in every major drainage.


    One man's opinion

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com

  2. #2
    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    I understand your frustration. You know if they don't EO it even if the return is going to be decent then everybody will just move over to that river and pillage it just as they have done with the others. Its not as close of a drive as most of the other drainage's but I bet good money that if they left the Gulkana open with no restrictions the traffic would double at least for people trying to kill a king.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

  3. #3
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    All roadside king fisheries in SC Alaska are tumbling down like a house of cards. Any stream remaining open to harvest is gonna get pummelled.

    I wonder what things are like on the Deshka and Little Su?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    All roadside king fisheries in SC Alaska are tumbling down like a house of cards. Any stream remaining open to harvest is gonna get pummelled.

    I wonder what things are like on the Deshka and Little Su?
    The little su according to F&G is headed for a closure. Very few kings passing the weir. The Deshka fish are starting to roll in but its too early to tell there. We spent a few days out there boating and camping and were seeing quite a few fish roll and a few being caught every day. The mosquitoes on the other hand were having no problem multiplying.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

  5. #5

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    Fishing on the Little Su stinks. The very high water makes the few fish hard to find. The no bait on the Deshka is working like a charm. Very few being caught. A guide friend has logged 15 days over there with one very small fish to show for it. He did manage a few on the little su before the water came up. People say they see a few being caught on the Deshka, a few is not good with the number of people packed in there.

  6. #6
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Andy's blog for the month of June shows 11 trips for 39 rods with at least one of those trips on the LS.

    Those 39 guests in aggregate scored 18 bites, 17 hookups, and 10 fish landed.

    Half a bite per rod w/ just over half of those coming to hand, averaging just under one fish per group/trip.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  7. #7

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    Andy started late this year.... May 24th. Throw those numbers in the mix and the fishing up here is much worse.

  8. #8
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Who's worse? The commercial fisherman taking them in the salt of the charter guides killing them on the beds? It all needs to stop. Sustainability is NOT supposed to be about money in anyone's pocket.

  9. #9

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    Who's worse?? There is no difference between the gill netter, charter operator or the private angler when numbers are down. I would agree all king salmon fishing needs to stop so things can turn around. It worked in the valley when they did it in the 70's.

  10. #10
    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    Glad to see bill and dave lead by example, my hats off to ya, and totally agree we need a closure for several years. Just like the seventies....keep up the good work Francis....maybe I can come down and fish kings this fall with you...
    I ♥ Big Sheep

  11. #11
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    How's the river looking now, Walt? Seen any reds moving through yet? Have you sent any groups through the canyon lately?
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    I agree they need to just shut em all down, and in my opinion a full 4-6 years and let a cycle run without harassment. Every one so worried about getting their king, at this rate we wont have kings in the near future to catch. Plenty of other fish in this state to target, let the Kings have a break before its to late. Its not just a couple rivers either its just about all of them.

    I would love to go catch me a big o King but I feel it would be irresponsible on my part to inflict damage (C&R or C&K) on a species in current decline. People need to quit worrying about the money and do whats right.

  13. #13

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    I floated the Gulkana yesterday from Sourdough to Richardson bridge...water has less then 2" visibility. Banks are gouged out and melting the permafrost and trees are everywhere.IMG_0288.jpg

    My opinion is Keep it Open but limit one King for season...local economies would be less affected when a fisherman has a chance at a king

  14. #14
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Just read in the News-minus that the hatchery was damaged at Paxson. Big, brown, ugly, mean water.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheep man View Post
    Glad to see bill and dave lead by example, my hats off to ya, and totally agree we need a closure for several years. Just like the seventies....keep up the good work Francis....maybe I can come down and fish kings this fall with you...
    If the decision was made to shut her down for a 5 year period it would have to be done evenly...all King producing rivers otherwise it would be a dash to the rivers that are not shut down and ....All fisheries. They would need to include fresh water sport, salt water sport, set netters, drift netters, seiners, longliners, trawlers, dip netters and wheels as well. Good luck with that idea!

    If there is to be an impact it would have to cover the entire industry and be free from political influence. The problem is some sectors of the fishing world have deep pockets and lots of bought and paid for influnce.

  16. #16
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    We are seeing improving water conditions on the lower sections. There is a lot of water flowing out of Paxon right now and we are holding off on up river trips for another 4-5 days. Being that we are a rental outfit I have to assume that all of my clients have-0- experience and I like to error on the side of caution. My motto is "We bring um back Alive"

    Walt
    Gilkana River Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  17. #17

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    All I know is there was no king salmon fishing in the mat Su Valley in the 70s. it worked the king Salmon rebounded and in the mid 80s through the mid 90s it was a free-for-all. You could use Bait, no seasonal limit, fish 24 hours, continue to fish after you killed one then a steady decline to where we are at now. It does take baby steps. We can't have the Attitude that I won't stop if they don't. I know it hurts when they close a river. I guided on the Little Su for more than 20 years. I finally quit after last year. I could no longer be part of the problem. Also I felt bad taking money when I knew I was simply hoping for a bite or two when I had four in the boat. I am lucky just like you Walt, I have a decent winter job. Good luck with the rest of your summer. The bummer here is I think it will get worse. Our coho numbers have tanked as well. You have reds at least.
    Bill Booth....once Trophy Catch Charters

  18. #18
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    Well put and I do not suggest that we dont stop unless all stop but the pain must be felt by all sectors. Bill how is Matt P doing ths summer on the Little Su/Deshka?

    Any Colony Boys headed to Fargo? I am headed out July 6th with Gavin. The little monster is going to test the waters!

    Walt
    Gulkana Raft Rentals

  19. #19
    Member Mkay's Avatar
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    Let me start by saying I have dipnetted in both the Copper and the Kenai, but why are we allowing Kings to be retained in the Copper dipnet fishery when we have an E.O. closure on the Gulkana. Do we know those Kings are going somewhere else besides the Gulkana? I repeat....I am not anti-dipnettter.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

  20. #20
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    Rule of thumb is early kings belong to the Gulkana and the later ones are headed into the Kultins.

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