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Thread: Spawning kings in salt water

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    Default Spawning kings in salt water

    Something that really bothers me is people fishing for feeder kings being excited to catch and keep one they know is a spawner headed for one of the local rivers. One guide on another site likes to point out the large "Kenai spawner" in the days catch. I've seen others posting similar reports. Personal use set net got shut down early over concerns that people might catch some kings. The Kenai River is shut down. What is the outlook for the commercial setnetters? Not to good I'm afraid. Through all this, salt water sport fishing continues to catch kings headed to spawn. Most people who have been on the water enough, which should be all guides, can tell the difference between feeders and spawners. How about releasing the spawners like everyone else. If we refuse to do the little bit that we can to save the kings, we are just as guilty as anyone else for the kings demise. Just my thoughts, I may be completely wrong, but I'd like to hear some other opinions on the matter.

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    I have been catching salmon for many years, and I get very excited when I open up what I think may be a 36lb spawner and it's a feeder . If it is open and the client want's to kill a fish it is their call. Just like killing a big halibut.

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    That is part of the problem "If it is open and the client wants to kill a fish it is their call." I don't know what percentage of "clients" are local and what percentage are from out of state, but the out of state clients only have a vested interest in the here and now. They have their short time to get a fish. If the kings aren't here five years from now, the out of staters might be a little disappointed, but they will just go somewhere else to satisfy their need. Those of us who live here are the ones who are getting hurt by it. Education goes a long way. If we educate the clients about the need for spawners to live, they may just opt to be happy with all the feeders they are catching. If I see pictures posted pretty regularly from one guide with a boat full of feeders and one to two large spawners, I assume he is not the only guide doing that. How many spawners would you figure then are being harvested by guides and others each day? Maybe some others might chime into this discussion and give us some idea. Maybe they won't because they would rather people not realize how many spawners are being caught in salt right on the doorstep of being able to spawn. What everyone needs to realize is that every king that doesn't reach the spawning beds affects the king population whether it be because of commercial over fishing, commercial by catch, sport fishing, setnetting, etc. It is going to take everyone doing what they can to save the kings. That means even one or two fish at a time.

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    I see how you think by your use of words. You call it commercial over fishing, but not sport over fishing. Why is that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by didger100 View Post
    Something that really bothers me is people fishing for feeder kings being excited to catch and keep one they know is a spawner headed for one of the local rivers. One guide on another site likes to point out the large "Kenai spawner" in the days catch. I've seen others posting similar reports. Personal use set net got shut down early over concerns that people might catch some kings. The Kenai River is shut down. What is the outlook for the commercial setnetters? Not to good I'm afraid. Through all this, salt water sport fishing continues to catch kings headed to spawn. Most people who have been on the water enough, which should be all guides, can tell the difference between feeders and spawners. How about releasing the spawners like everyone else. If we refuse to do the little bit that we can to save the kings, we are just as guilty as anyone else for the kings demise. Just my thoughts, I may be completely wrong, but I'd like to hear some other opinions on the matter.
    So I guess what you are really saying is you are very upset with Fish and Game for allowing the legal retention of these/those saltwater kings?
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    My opinion is instead of playing the blame game lets do what we can for the resource and let the spawners go.
    At this point in the season it we need every one on the spawning beds regardless of whose at fault for the situation the run is in.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    I have a 22-250 that would do a good job on seals. Can I help make sure more kings make it up the river? As for the kings in the salt the fishing in K-Bay has never been better in the last ten years thanks to the numbers of feeder kings. Out of all the kings that we have taken not one was a AK spawner, and I only know of three out of over 500 fish.
    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    My opinion is instead of playing the blame game lets do what we can for the resource and let the spawners go.
    At this point in the season it we need every one on the spawning beds regardless of whose at fault for the situation the run is in.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I understand what you are saying completely.....I personnaly don't see the difference between keeping one that is heading for the river now versus one that is heading for the river in 2 yrs, eitherway that fish isn't spawning. This has been on my mind for a long time now, how many kings are killed in the salt every year, us salt sport fisherman are jsut as much of a problem as everyone other sport guy. It's nothing to pull boat king limits all summer long down here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    So I guess what you are really saying is you are very upset with Fish and Game for allowing the legal retention of these/those saltwater kings?
    Why do we need Fish and Game to tell us what to do? Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. I think we can choose to make these decisions regardless of what Fish and Game has to say about it. My understanding is that feeder kings are generally fish that spawn in Canada, Washington, etc and not in Alaska. As long as those fisheries are healthy I am all for catching feeder kings. Just for the record, I am not mad at anyone or trying to blame anyone, I am just pointing something out to generate some discussion on the topic. This in turn will help me to understand the situation. I want my understanding to come from hearing everyone's view point or my understanding of the situation will be very limited. I am very open to the idea that after discussing this on the board with people from different perspectives I might come away with a different view on this subject then when I started. That is why we should have these discussions.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    I understand what you are saying completely.....I personnaly don't see the difference between keeping one that is heading for the river now versus one that is heading for the river in 2 yrs, eitherway that fish isn't spawning. This has been on my mind for a long time now, how many kings are killed in the salt every year, us salt sport fisherman are jsut as much of a problem as everyone other sport guy. It's nothing to pull boat king limits all summer long down here.
    One thing to consider is the origin of the fish. So for instance in Cook Inlet and Kachemak bay tagging studies indicate most of our feeder kings are not of Cook Inlet origin. I believe they come mostly from Washington or maybe Canada. I know Homerdave knows more about this and could shed light on it a bit more.
    The spawners we know are of Cook Inlet origin and are on their way to spawn.
    So if you keep a Cook Inlet feeder king you are keeping a fish not from one of the troubled Cook Inlets troubled king runs. But if you keep a spawner you definetly are.
    Or we can put our heads in the sand continue catching spawning kings in cook inlet and blame the other guy.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    On a good note, a forum member was fishing up in the kelp and reported seeing kings swimming by his boat. Lets hope they make it if they were spawners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    I see how you think by your use of words. You call it commercial over fishing, but not sport over fishing. Why is that?
    I don't know what you think I think. I have no problem with using the term "sport over fishing". I am not trying to play the blame game, just making some observations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by didger100 View Post
    ...My understanding is that feeder kings are generally fish that spawn in Canada, Washington, etc and not in Alaska...
    Not to criticize your view, but do you know of any studies that have been done on this, that prove this point? I'm not sure that anyone knows where our kings go once they enter the saltwater, and where feeder kings are ultimately bound. Are the fish being caught off Kodiak fish that would have spawned in the Kenai, or the Susitna system? Where do the feeders caught off Anchor Point eventually go? How about those caught in Southeast Alaska?

    I would think that genetic sampling (DNA) would reveal where these fish "belong", but does anyone know where they are headed to spawn? To me the answer to the question of where our river stocks have gone is a mystery. We have sketchy answers, but nothing that for certain gives us a cause for the free-fall in numbers that we've seen in the last handful of years. Bycatch is certainly a factor. It has to be, with the numbers involved. Have we seen a huge increase in that in the last few years? Are the Japanese getting them over on their side? Certainly they are very efficient fishermen, and they don't appear to share our conservation ethics at all. I hesitate to say, "if it swims they will kill it", but I think that's pretty close. Is climate change a factor? Are we dumping too many hatchery fish into the ecosystem? Certainly that has to be a factor. Nature achieves a certain "balance" on its own, and when we interfere by dumping millions of metric tons of hatchery pinks into Prince William Sound, those fish have to eat. Certainly that has a negative effect on existing stocks. Is that impacting our kings too? I don't know that anyone knows the answer to that, but we have taken huge risks with some of our decisions in the past. In the latter example of the hatchery pinks in PWS, I remember talking with a representative of the former "Prince William Sound Aquaculture Association" concerning the potential negative effect these hatchery fish would have on the ecosystem. I asked him if any studies were done prior to the introduction of these fish and his response was a condescending, "Well, you know... the ocean is a really big place...." I responded by telling him that he was saying, (in other words), "No". As far as I know, no studies were done at all. Were our "Kenai kings" and our "Susitna kings" feeder kings in PWS that we starved out with hatchery fish? Did the numbers of fish taper off to a tipping point where the population can no longer sustain itself through natural spawning? Are the chickens of past poor decisions on our part now coming home to roost? Does anyone know?

    Mark my words. We will probably never figure out why these runs are in the shape they are in, but we will attempt to fix it through the hatchery system. And not by cutting back on the tremendous surplus of fish we are creating (PWS is one example), but by adding even more artificiality to the system. A hatchery fish is nearly twice the size of a wild fish of the same age, when it is released into the wild. What do we think will happen to our wild stocks when we continue to dump millions of tons of those fish into the system? Do we really think we can do this with no consequences? I realize that I am focusing on only one aspect of this, and certainly there are other aspects. But we have foolishly seen the ocean as a vast grassland where we can put millions of buffalo. We know better, but we got greedy. Are we now going to content ourselves with artificially-produced fish, as those living in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California have done? We may still have an opportunity to fix this, but it's going to require some hard work and real honesty to admit, own and fix our mistakes. But I fear that we won't do that.

    I agree that we must be really careful right now about what happens with our kings, but I don't know that we have hard data that supports a decision on what we do on the saltwater yet. Perhaps the Board of Fisheries will take a conservative approach by shutting it down on the salt too, but if they do that, they are going to want to see some hard science behind the decision.

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    But you didn't and you should have. If we don't keep people from fishing kings on the spawning beds we will never see a good return of kings. The first run of Kenai kings has been beat the death over the years. First run kings that spawn in the main river get pounded all season.Look back at some of the pics of boat loads of kings after the 4 of July some bright and the others turned red all the red ones were early run fish.
    Quote Originally Posted by didger100 View Post
    I don't know what you think I think. I have no problem with using the term "sport over fishing". I am not trying to play the blame game, just making some observations.

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    [QUOTE=Michael Strahan;1297652]Not to criticize your view, but do you know of any studies that have been done on this, that prove this point? Post #10 indicates that there have been tagging studies done that support this. These are the same type of studies that I have heard of. Do I know this for a fact myself, no, just going on the information that is available. Thank you for including your observations on hatchery fish. There are a lot of variables in this equation.

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    MGH55 If you are going to be upset about people catching spawners in the river, how's come you think it is ok to catch them in the salt?

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    Now Mike, how are the fisherman to continue to work for 3 months of the year so that they can have the rest of the year off if the PWSAC doesn't keep adding more hatchery fish into the mix? (noted with a slight tongue in cheek, so as to not get blasted too much)......You are SPOT ON.......... Humans messing with nature has never been a good thing.

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    I know Homerdave has eluded to tagging studies done on Cook Inlet feeder kings. Hopefully he will chime in here and remind us what those studies discovered.
    While there may not be tons of data recovered from these studies even a handful of tagged fish being recaptured gives us an idea where they come from.
    I do know there is a current study going on in cook inlet in regards to king salmon and how, where and at what depth they travel up cook inlet. That study should help fisheries managers with the commercial side of things. Regulating fishing corridors etc. to protect these kings on their way up the inlet.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Because the fish are more aggressive after being in fresh water protecting their spawning area making them easier to catch, just like hunting deer in rut, they not so smart I am not upset at all about killing kings at all. I am more upset about all the BS about them people cause pointing fingers wanting to stop people fro making a living that did not cause this problem in the first place. KIRSA is leading the list and others are not far from the top. As for killing kings in the salt I would say one out of a hundred kings I kill is an Alaska fish. Kill them all and be done with it!!!!! (joke)
    Quote Originally Posted by didger100 View Post
    MGH55 If you are going to be upset about people catching spawners in the river, how's come you think it is ok to catch them in the salt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by didger100 View Post
    Why do we need Fish and Game to tell us what to do? Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. I think we can choose to make these decisions regardless of what Fish and Game has to say about it. My understanding is that feeder kings are generally fish that spawn in Canada, Washington, etc and not in Alaska. As long as those fisheries are healthy I am all for catching feeder kings. Just for the record, I am not mad at anyone or trying to blame anyone, I am just pointing something out to generate some discussion on the topic. This in turn will help me to understand the situation. I want my understanding to come from hearing everyone's view point or my understanding of the situation will be very limited. I am very open to the idea that after discussing this on the board with people from different perspectives I might come away with a different view on this subject then when I started. That is why we should have these discussions.
    Whoa. I didn't say we need too do what fish and game tells us to do. I just asked u a question. I will say that certain people are paid by the public to do specific work. One just happens to be protection and regulation of our fisheries. That's just fact. In other words, there is someone that CAN fix your concern. To take this thought a step further, one might say either the problem is not as bad as we may believe OR someone is failing in their paid mission.
    I would agree with Mike that our high seas fishery is suspect ( I'm being kind with my language here.) When trawlers are throwing 50 thousand and more kings over board as unwanted bycatch, we have a problem Houston. That amount alone is enough to wipe out several river's entire king runs in one swoop.
    Anyone here happen to know any big names in the high seas fishery game ?
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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