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Thread: ER Didson Questions

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    So as of July 2, the Funny River weir count was 333 fish. July 2 is traditionally around the 50% point of the early run passage through this weir. Funny river weir historically averages 16% of the total Kenai Early Run Chinook inriver return. Additionally, tagging data by the department indicates that very few of the 88 tagged fish have passed the Funny River receiver, giving credence to the assumption that there are plenty more fish yet to pass the weir. Assuming we are at the midpoint of the run, it's reasonable to estimate the Funny River escapement will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 666 fish. That would mean that Funny River weir escapement accounted for 32% of the ER escapement, over double the historical average. If the Funny River weir is truly around 16%, then we are looking at an escapement closer to 4,000 fish, nearly double the department's current estimate.

    ADFG has determined that there is a correlation between ER and LR run strengths (VERY debatable), and management decisions about the Kenai/Kasilof sockeye fisheries have been predicated upon ER data, which seems to be a little shaky.

    Currently, the Kasilof is on track to be over escaped with sockeye yet again because commfish was not given extra openings in order to save LR Kings due to disastrously low ER counts.

    I hope this isn't 2012 all over again.

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    Nothing even close to 2012. ER performance has not affected prosecution of the ESSN's to date.

    Last year the beach nets got bupkis thru this date. Why? Because Kasilof started out way behind for sockeye and Kenai was in conservation mode for chinook. There were actually EO's taking REGULAR openers away.

    This year, each Kasilof section regular period has been fished and/or extended and additional days have already been EO'd due to a bumper crop of Kasilof reds.

    So far, the reported Kasilof section chinook catches are in the toilet.... about 280 fish in 4 openers, or about 70 fish per day.... perhaps 40-45 of them Kenai bound. Speaks volumes about another extremely POOR Kenai late run. ESSN's were just given another EO for an 8 hr opener for Saturday (that would be today now). If another poor showing of Kenai chinook occurs in the catch, count on some restrictions for chinook conservation.

    In it's inaugural LR summary, ADFG is already bracing the public for pending restrictions on Monday. I see only three possible stepdown measures left for 2013.

    1) Close chinook retention in the PU fishery,
    2) Close chinook retention in the rec fishery,
    3) Close the chinook rec fishery altogether.

    The longer they delay 1) and 2), the greater the likelihood of invoking 3).

    Count on it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Nothing even close to 2012. ER performance has not affected prosecution of the ESSN's to date.
    Comon Doc, that is just not true. The Kasilof has the highest Sockeye escapement to date ever recorded. Any other year, the ESSN's would have started before the 27th, and both Drifters and ESSN's would be fishing ALL of the time allowed in the management plan ESPECIALLY if they were not killing many LR Kings.

    I realize this is a tough call for fisheries managers, but don't try to say that ER performance hasn't affected decisions.

    You completely ignored the facts I presented, which raise honest questions and give hope that things may not be as disastrous as you have been convinced they are from day one. Instead, you push for more restrictions and more closures.

    Why are you so anxious to see things fail?

    DOC, DO THE WEIR COUNTS MAKE YOU QUESTION THE ACCURACY OF THE DIDSON SONAR???

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    Placeholder . .

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    You must explain your point. Don't just stir the pot. No value in your last post. You have many good points in you most of your posts don't stoop to a lower level.
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    Placeholder . .

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    Doc, what do you think would have happen if ESSN's would have caught 400 kings on the last opener? Do you think we are getting a good count of what is being caught in the set nets?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    You must explain your point. Don't just stir the pot. No value in your last post. You have many good points in you most of your posts don't stoop to a lower level.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Placeholder . .

    MGH, if your post is addressed to me, I have no point. My "Placeholder" post is simply a means to subscribe to this thread and see where it goes.


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    400 kings would have given managers some hope that there's any hint of steam in this late run.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Nothing even close to 2012. ER performance has not affected prosecution of the ESSN's to date.

    Last year the beach nets got bupkis thru this date. Why? Because Kasilof started out way behind for sockeye and Kenai was in conservation mode for chinook. There were actually EO's taking REGULAR openers away.

    This year, each Kasilof section regular period has been fished and/or extended and additional days have already been EO'd due to a bumper crop of Kasilof reds.

    So far, the reported Kasilof section chinook catches are in the toilet.... about 280 fish in 4 openers, or about 70 fish per day.... perhaps 40-45 of them Kenai bound. Speaks volumes about another extremely POOR Kenai late run. ESSN's were just given another EO for an 8 hr opener for Saturday (that would be today now). If another poor showing of Kenai chinook occurs in the catch, count on some restrictions for chinook conservation.

    In it's inaugural LR summary, ADFG is already bracing the public for pending restrictions on Monday. I see only three possible stepdown measures left for 2013.

    1) Close chinook retention in the PU fishery,
    2) Close chinook retention in the rec fishery,
    3) Close the chinook rec fishery altogether.

    The longer they delay 1) and 2), the greater the likelihood of invoking 3).

    Count on it!
    Doc, some perspective on management approaches. If one wants to harvest Kasilof River sockeye salmon and be as clean as possible on chinook salmon it needs to be done early. The escapement is 175,000 fish which is over half way to the upper end of the goal for sockeye with over a month of fish yet to come. It should be around 75,000 at this point so 100,000 fish went up the river unharvested. Yet as you point out the chinook harvest from the first periods are low. That is actually a good thing at this point. Lots of sockeye harvest potential for little chinook cost - mixed stock fishery management looks for these types of opportunities. The Department did not take full advantage of this opportunity. The genetic data I believe supports that the majority of harvest to date is not Kenai bound.

    So what is the next move in this chess game. The Kasilof sockeye total return is probably around 300,000 to date given the harvest. With a forecast of 900,000 that means 600,000 fish left. With 125,000 fish for escapement which is the upper end of the goal that means a harvest rate of 79% which is not possible given the likely hood of the chinook return and other stocks. So Kasilof sockeye escapement is probably going over the upper end by a considerable amount or ADF&G will have to fish more when chinook to sockeye ratios are less favorable. There is the terminal fishery but I doubt that will be used in Kenai/Kasilof have chinook restrictions.

    This discussion just points out why management biologists need lots of experience in UCI to see how these things develop and look at options. The failure of harvesting Kasilof early is due mostly to the political nature of UCI not that managers did not know they needed to fish the commercial nets. They requested a day or two early opening and were denied. That would have taken 50,000 Kasilof sockeye and reduced the pressure to fish hard latter or to take more chinook per sockeye. You cannot manage UCI from Juneau which is being done right now.

    Relative to the counting issue smithtb raises some good points and I think he is suggesting ADF&G look at up river Didson counts (which they said they are not looking at in-season), other indexes, and make sure we have the best estimate of actual escapement. Counting too few makes for restrictions that may not be necessary and counting too many causes over-harvest issues. Both lead to management failures.

    For the record the early run/late run comparsion (based on Baysian statistics and not actual counts) was used as a rationale not to fish more on Kasilof river sockeye. But here is where the counts can hurt you if are wrong. At 2000 early run fish this projection is for a late Kenai chinook run of 10,000 to 14,000 per ADF&G. However, if the early run is really 4000 that projection goes to 20,000 to 28,000 and whole different mind set.

    I think ADF&G knows this and thus they are fishing in a conservative mode ( both fisheries) and as time goes past this will sort out as it is too early to tell what the late run is doing right now- no chinook on the beach could mean nothing more than another late run timing. This does not mean that not having that additional one period before the season opening date was a good call - it was not. The rule is kill Kasilof sockeye when it is as clean as possible.

    One additional point is that ADF&G is failing to use the drift fleet in the expanded corridor to harvest Kasilof - this is a mistake as again all indications are that Kasilof in late June was the only stock in the inlet - no coho, no Kenai, no Susitna - so fishing hard with the drift fleet, even when the set nets were closed would have been appropriate. Not sure why that was not done but I suspect the Valley pressure for coho conservation got mixed up with Juneau politics on not fishing the drift fleet as much this year as last.

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    Not gonna disagree with a thing Nerka posted. His perspective on prosecuting the cleanest possible fishery for maximizing commercial harvest of Kasilof reds when chinook encounters are low is spot on.

    The reality is that Kasilof will certainly go over the top of goal given the restraint that must be shown to conserve chinook in the weeks ahead. The chinook constraints can only become more acute in the coming weeks. Unfortunately there is no way to take back the past.... the fish have already passed upriver. But to characterize it as a repeat of 2012 is clearly inaccurate.

    With so much uncertainty swirling around LR Kenai kings, the over-riding factor this year is erring on the side of caution for chinook. To hang our hats on extrapolated Funny River data would be premature and risky. The 16% number smithtb cited is NOT etched in stone. The contribution of each trib fluctuates year by year. One could just as easily speculate that Funny could be having an exceptionally good return in the face of an exceptionally small ER. The data is simply NOT there to confidently use Funny as an index/surrogate to make an expanded run size estimate.

    Given that uncertainty, a more precautionary approach is ruling the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Not gonna disagree with a thing Nerka posted. His perspective on prosecuting the cleanest possible fishery for maximizing commercial harvest of Kasilof reds when chinook encounters are low is spot on.

    The reality is that Kasilof will certainly go over the top of goal given the restraint that must be shown to conserve chinook in the weeks ahead. The chinook constraints can only become more acute in the coming weeks. Unfortunately there is no way to take back the past.... the fish have already passed upriver. But to characterize it as a repeat of 2012 is clearly inaccurate.

    With so much uncertainty swirling around LR Kenai kings, the over-riding factor this year is erring on the side of caution for chinook. To hang our hats on extrapolated Funny River data would be premature and risky. The 16% number smithtb cited is NOT etched in stone. The contribution of each trib fluctuates year by year. One could just as easily speculate that Funny could be having an exceptionally good return in the face of an exceptionally small ER. The data is simply NOT there to confidently use Funny as an index/surrogate to make an expanded run size estimate.

    Given that uncertainty, a more precautionary approach is ruling the day.
    You're right, Doc. 16% is not etched in stone. It's historically 10-25% with an average of 16%. 32% is DOUBLE that. Pretty unlikely.

    You've been shouting "Eee-eye! EO! shut er all down!" for weeks now based soley on Didson numbers. When someone presents information that may indicate something positive, you call it 'premature and risky'. You continue to push a 'precautionary approach' that admittedly cost my community $1,000,000 worth of Kasilof Sockeye already (and saved VERY few kings), when you know full well that the issues I raised should and could be further examined. You and I both know there is more than 1 trib weir and Didson counter on the Kenai.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Unfortunately there is no way to take back the past.... the fish have already passed upriver. But to characterize it as a repeat of 2012 is clearly inaccurate.
    That is EXACTLY the part of 2012 I'm talking about!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Not gonna disagree with a thing Nerka posted. His perspective on prosecuting the cleanest possible fishery for maximizing commercial harvest of Kasilof reds when chinook encounters are low is spot on.

    The reality is that Kasilof will certainly go over the top of goal given the restraint that must be shown to conserve chinook in the weeks ahead. The chinook constraints can only become more acute in the coming weeks. Unfortunately there is no way to take back the past.... the fish have already passed upriver. But to characterize it as a repeat of 2012 is clearly inaccurate.

    With so much uncertainty swirling around LR Kenai kings, the over-riding factor this year is erring on the side of caution for chinook. To hang our hats on extrapolated Funny River data would be premature and risky. The 16% number smithtb cited is NOT etched in stone. The contribution of each trib fluctuates year by year. One could just as easily speculate that Funny could be having an exceptionally good return in the face of an exceptionally small ER. The data is simply NOT there to confidently use Funny as an index/surrogate to make an expanded run size estimate.

    Given that uncertainty, a more precautionary approach is ruling the day.
    Doc, not sure smithtb is saying this is an exact repeat of 2012 only the potential for major management error is possible. Do not want to speak for him but one thing is certain in UCI - it is about risk to future yields for Chinook and sockeye salmon not a conservation issue. Remember ADF&G is saying that maximum sustained yield for late run Chinook is in a range starting at 13,000 spawners. So if the escapement exceeds 13,000 good yields in the future have a higher probability. In contrast, for sockeye going over the upper end of sockeye goals has the potential to reduce future yields on average. So it is a yield question for the two stocks. If and when Chinook get to the threat to the stock point ADF&G will take significant action and close fisheries as they should - the early run Chinook is a case in point. If the true escapement is less than 2000 fish no one should be fishing. Unfortunately, you and I know that early run fish are being harvested as we write and read this with the no bait restriction. So what this all comes down to is what trade-offs will be made for social/political considerations relative to yield of the two late run stocks.

    If you are a Chinook fisherman then it is natural to favor Chinook management - if you fish sockeye commercially/personal use/sport sockeye it is natural to favor those higher yields. What is missing in this whole discussion are Board of Fish members, ADF&G leadership, and community leaders on how and when to make those trade-offs. So we start another year of battle in UCI over that issue. Last March the BOF had a chance to enter into those discussions. They punted as UCI decisions could lead to their removal as BOF members. KRSA showed that with the removal of Webster and using late run Kenai Chinook as the reason - hiding behind conservation for an allocation agenda.

    It really is unsettling that a world class Chinook fishery and Sockeye salmon commercial/sport/PU fishery is receiving so little effort to have a rationale discussion of these trade-offs. Smithtb does not want this forum hijacked as he posted questions about the Didson counter and its ability to count Chinook salmon. If in two weeks there are significantly more fish in the Killey and Funny River than counted by Didson corrected counts then a serious external review of the whole project is needed. Remember, the split beam counts were rejected for similar error bounds if smithtb hypothesis is correct.

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    Agreed... counts at the trib weirs COULD blow the DIDSON numbers outta the water. Certainly numbers that many of us would be interested. But we ain't there yet.

    For the record, I am NOT dismissing Todd's concerns about weir counts as they relate to the accuracy of the DIDSON. The confidence to use speculative trib numbers to make an in-season decision simply is NOT there.
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    [QUOTE=smithtb;1300970. If the Funny River weir is truly around 16%, then we are looking at an escapement closer to 4,000 fish, nearly doubl

    ADFG has determined that there is a correlation between ER and LR run strengths (VERY debatable), and management decisions about the Kenai/Kasilof sockeye fisheries have been predicated upon ER data, which seems to be a little shaky.

    I hope this isn't 2012 all over again.[/QUOTE]

    your hope has come true, it is not the same as 2012, it is worse if you belive what you have written, and what you have written is correct. I was told more fish were spawned in the funny river last year than 666. Last time I looked the web page fish and game has 5,000 something is the number for Kings. You say it is going to be 4,000, I do not get this argument. So the river was closed and mostly remains closed so what 4,000 is less than 5,000. I hope it is incorrect by more than that and believe me I am not the only person who thinks that. 5,000 is way, way way low anyhow.

    a lot of what I have read on this web page I am beginning to think is written by people who are very distant from in river fishing for kings. The river should be be closed period to fishing king salmon like most of it is now but the last part of it also needs to close and be closed so that we can now get enough late spawning kings hopefully there will be more than what the didson says a lot more.

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    Please don't make this personal Doc. We're not on a first name basis yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Agreed... counts at the trib weirs COULD blow the DIDSON numbers outta the water. Certainly numbers that many of us would be interested. But we ain't there yet.

    For the record, I am NOT dismissing Todd's concerns about weir counts as they relate to the accuracy of the DIDSON. The confidence to use speculative trib numbers to make an in-season decision simply is NOT there.
    Not to argue Doc but weir counts are much better than sonar/netting estimates. All estimates of final escapement numbers are speculative. The question is how good are they over time. The Funny River weir has a short history - since 2006. However, they are real counts as opposed to the Baysian guess on what the escapements were in the past because of a failed sonar system.

    Powerline - you are correct. This year even with error the probable escapement is below the MSY goal or near it. However, we know from 2012 that under counting can cause a major disruption of the fisheries and impact on the economic well being of the community. So while under counting in 2013 did not cause a major issue with early run management decisions it certainly could cause a disruption with the late run sockeye management and has already because of the relationship of early to late run chinook ( of course this relationship has not been peer reviewed outside the Department and that needs to be done,).

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    Default Signs of life no where in sight....

    ESSN's took only 81 kings in y'days EO.... now a total of 364 for the season over 5 openers. That's an average of only 75 fish per day.

    I think the writing is already on the wall. Like the ER, every index of abundance shows this LR is gonna be another BUST.

    With so few kings ascending the Kenai, the impact from the PU and rec fisheries (now in retention mode) hardly registers a blip. Flipping the switch to NON-retention in those fisheries, while prudent, isn't likely to generate much real savings. Why?

    Chinook-directed effort is at an all-time low and success rates have been in the toilet. Bottom line, there are very few fish being taken because there are so few fish to take.

    Monday is almost here...
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    ESSN's took only 81 kings in y'days EO.... now a total of 364 for the season over 5 openers. That's an average of only 75 fish per day.

    I think the writing is already on the wall. Like the ER, every index of abundance shows this LR is gonna be another BUST.

    With so few kings ascending the Kenai, the impact from the PU and rec fisheries (now in retention mode) hardly registers a blip. Flipping the switch to NON-retention in those fisheries, while prudent, isn't likely to generate much real savings. Why?

    Chinook-directed effort is at an all-time low and success rates have been in the toilet. Bottom line, there are very few fish being taken because there are so few fish to take.

    Monday is almost here...
    I agree, there are few kings in the river I have 2 friends that went today that is two boats 5 people. They did not even get a bite at 12:30 or so in afternoon one of them called me and after I said hello he said I should have went to church. He said water is great but there are no biters in the river he did not see hardly anyone out and everyone in boats he talked to said the same nothing caught. Time to close the river down the physician is correct the writing is on the wall let's put an end to it.

    Nerka you need to get out on the river and stop worrying about disrupting of economic well beings and look for your own eyes ther are few kings in the Kenai. I honestly hope there is more three times more and they are just not biting. If you want to harvest sockeye in the ocean go ahead just stop saying there are plenty of kings to justify your fishing it is really sad just say that please so to realize this because there is not many kings in the river, it needs to close to king fishing so what gets in can get home and spawn. I really don't care how much you fish just stop saying there are more kings than people think because there are not many kings in the river, please your opinion is hard to believe and is counter to what everyone I have been talking to is saying. You say there is more but it is still not enough. It is not the ocean it is the river and it does not look good at all for kings. My buddies also told me when they first went out people were fishing for sockeye at usual places but it didn't last long, the sonar count was a joke for saturday so expect not great sockeye numbers again today based on lack of fishing for sockeye it ain't gonna be a 30,000 sockeye fish day. I like many hoping the river will close soon all of it to king fishing. I plan to do my part like friends who have fished for them and start calling fish and game to ask them to close it or get an explanation for not closing. For me economic disruption is not going to make sense because no one is out there and people who are can't catch any so nothing will be disrupted. You can't disrupt what is not there all you can do is try to save what might be in the river that's what I think so even physician thinks there are few to take I still think it is not worth taking them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerline View Post
    I agree, there are few kings in the river I have 2 friends that went today that is two boats 5 people. They did not even get a bite at 12:30 or so in afternoon one of them called me and after I said hello he said I should have went to church. He said water is great but there are no biters in the river he did not see hardly anyone out and everyone in boats he talked to said the same nothing caught. Time to close the river down the physician is correct the writing is on the wall let's put an end to it.

    Nerka you need to get out on the river and stop worrying about disrupting of economic well beings and look for your own eyes ther are few kings in the Kenai. I honestly hope there is more three times more and they are just not biting. If you want to harvest sockeye in the ocean go ahead just stop saying there are plenty of kings to justify your fishing it is really sad just say that please so to realize this because there is not many kings in the river, it needs to close to king fishing so what gets in can get home and spawn. I really don't care how much you fish just stop saying there are more kings than people think because there are not many kings in the river, please your opinion is hard to believe and is counter to what everyone I have been talking to is saying. You say there is more but it is still not enough. It is not the ocean it is the river and it does not look good at all for kings. My buddies also told me when they first went out people were fishing for sockeye at usual places but it didn't last long, the sonar count was a joke for saturday so expect not great sockeye numbers again today based on lack of fishing for sockeye it ain't gonna be a 30,000 sockeye fish day. I like many hoping the river will close soon all of it to king fishing. I plan to do my part like friends who have fished for them and start calling fish and game to ask them to close it or get an explanation for not closing. For me economic disruption is not going to make sense because no one is out there and people who are can't catch any so nothing will be disrupted. You can't disrupt what is not there all you can do is try to save what might be in the river that's what I think so even physician thinks there are few to take I still think it is not worth taking them.
    Powerline and Doc, if you look at posts from last year the doom and gloom was at the same pitch as this year for this time period relative to the late run. Yet post season the late run return had 29,000 fish estimated. Now if you want to say the Didson is not counting correctly that makes my point. Last year for the early run the indications are that it over counted significantly. No idea for the late run. The point smithtb made is that without a reliable counter and cross checking significant management errors can be made. To call for a complete closure on the 6 of July is absurd from a management perspective. Management has three objective - sustain the returns, have orderly fisheries, and meet social/political objective (community economics). The reason we manage salmon is for the economic well being of the State of Alaska measured by the public good. So managers cannot ignore the economic issues and when a call is made it should be made with all three of the above in mind. Sustainability takes priority but so far the late run Chinook are not in any conservation mode.

    Relative to getting out on the water - no thanks. I left that zoo years ago when guides got nasty to the general public and I was targeted by some for harassment. However, I still work hard for habitat and sustainability of the resource so please do not imply that I am using this to justify my fishing. I do not commercial fish, sport fish, or pu fish for chinook or sockeye salmon these days - bad back. I have never commercial fished.

    I would challenge anyone who thinks 2012 was a correct management year to defend the actions taken. Even ADF&G senior personnel admit they made a number of critical mistakes. Smithtb just does not want to see that happen again.

    Frankly the early run of Chinook cannot support the fishing effort being placed on it in-river. A run of a few thousand fish cannot be harvested in June and July by the intense sport fishery. That happened in the past and Doc knows for years I have tried to warn people about this pressure, the major issues with the split beam sonar and now the Didson, the mis-representation of the harvest figures with the cut off date of July 1, and the list goes on. I tried to get the Slikok Creek closed waters increased as this tributary was very vulnerable to over harvest. Both the guides and ADF&G did not support this action. So for 30 years some of us, Doc included, have been trying to get the public and ADF&G to take action on the early run Chinook with little success. I guess one reaps what one sows and the public is now paying the cost on the early run - it is a management failure plain and simple but all the responsibility does not lie with ADF&G on this one -

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