Last year, August started out with a bait closure on the lower Kenai river to supposedly conserve Kings from being killed in the silver fishery. This closure had nothing to do with science. Fish and game was pressured hard by the set netters to do this as we all know that they were closed last year. The kings showed late and the bait restriction was lifted. Last years closure was nothing more than a pissing contest between the set netters ,and KRSA and the guides.
Fast forward to this year and we are at the same point. The department is using bad science and last years precedence, to justify this years decision. So who gets caught between this pissing match? You guessed it, Joe Fisherman. The commercial fishery has harvested about 2500 kings so far. The in-river harvest ( of which a large percentage was from the in-river commercial fishery) was about 1500. The department of f&g knew the king numbers were bad but allowed in-river harvest and additional beach fishing for way to long, basing their decisions on the premise that the kings were late like last year. Most of the local, private fisherman laid off the kings this year. We stayed away due to conservation concerns and just for the fact that king fishing has been so poor lately. How many kings does fish and game think they are saving with this closure? The only people catching kings in August are the back trollers and those who anchor in known king holes. Most of the " incidental" king fishing in August, is being done by a select few black sheep guides. All that had to be done was eliminate back trolling the first two weeks and 90 percent of the problem would be taken care of. Instead, all of the private anglers who have waited for the relaxed silver fishery have taken it in the shorts for another two weeks.