Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Early Run Kenai Kings

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,959

    Default Early Run Kenai Kings

    Why do we not do more to protect the early run kings? We spend lots of money on studies for late run kings and sockeye. This study http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...ntama_2013.pdf gives us some information, but no info on early run kings. I wounder if it is because the powers that be know that the only way to protect the early run is to take drastic in river actions. With no UCI commercial fishing on the early run kings the only action left is to shut down the river to king fishing until after all early run kings have spawned. All I hear is how the commercial fishermen, mostly ESSN are killing to many late run kings when this is not true they only get their fair share. It's time to take the actions needed to help bring back the early run kings. Cook Inlet commercial fishermen did their part many years ago, now it's the in river fishermen's turn. Lets save what we can of the early run kings. Action must be taken now!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    421

    Default

    I have not seen enough evidence one way or the other on early vs. late run kings. More specifically, there seems to be some doubt that the calendar is a useful guide and that the defining trait is mainstem spawning vs tributary spawning. If that is the case, (big IF), there may not be an "after all the early run kings have spawned".

    Limits on in-river fishing involving bait, scent, hook size and number and closure to fishing upstream of river mile X might offer useful limits. If the issue is a large demand from a lot of fishermen then there are allocation steps such as limited draw, increased fees, guide limitations and other such measures, much as is done in the game area.

    And as an aside, when someone says " they only get their fair share" that someone needs to go sit in the parking lot. There is no such thing in a legislated and rule-based allocation system. By definition all shares are unfair to some always and to all sometimes.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,959

    Default

    I would like to see the river remain closed until the lower goal is reached passing the upper river fish counter for what has been called the early run kings. Then open the river below the counter to fishing with no bait until the lower goal has been met for what has been called the late run. Only after both runs have met the lower goal should bait be allowed. If upper goals are reached then open up for more in river harvest. The river should not ever be open for just C&R of kings. If the river is closed to fishing for kings set nets should only be fished during the peak of the sockeye run and not be able to fish their inside net. In turn if the river is open set nets fish full openers.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,079

    Default

    What more would you like???, lets see, all the tributaries are closed to sportfishing, all the major tributaries have season long closures at the mouth, the sportfishing season starts out single hook, no bait, with a slot limit protecting about 20% of the run through the slot, last year the season started out c&r and later closed, in periods of low return F&G EO's closures from the Slikok closure to Skilak, and have the slot through July 15th above the bridge when fishing above the bridge isn't closed, there has been no bait above the moose river for the last many years until the middle of July when we did get bait in July, Fish and game has been doing radio tagging studies to track migration patterns and timing, they have been taking genetic samples from caught fish not only in the lower river but below the moose as well (right from the anglers on that section) in the ER as part of a ER genetic study.


    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    Why do we not do more to protect the early run kings? We spend lots of money on studies for late run kings and sockeye. This study http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...ntama_2013.pdf gives us some information, but no info on early run kings. I wounder if it is because the powers that be know that the only way to protect the early run is to take drastic in river actions. With no UCI commercial fishing on the early run kings the only action left is to shut down the river to king fishing until after all early run kings have spawned. All I hear is how the commercial fishermen, mostly ESSN are killing to many late run kings when this is not true they only get their fair share. It's time to take the actions needed to help bring back the early run kings. Cook Inlet commercial fishermen did their part many years ago, now it's the in river fishermen's turn. Lets save what we can of the early run kings. Action must be taken now!

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,079

    Default

    You posted as I was typing. Good response, thanks for giving ideas instead of just complaining like some do.
    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    I would like to see the river remain closed until the lower goal is reached passing the upper river fish counter for what has been called the early run kings. Then open the river below the counter to fishing with no bait until the lower goal has been met for what has been called the late run. Only after both runs have met the lower goal should bait be allowed. If upper goals are reached then open up for more in river harvest. The river should not ever be open for just C&R of kings. If the river is closed to fishing for kings set nets should only be fished during the peak of the sockeye run and not be able to fish their inside net. In turn if the river is open set nets fish full openers.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,530

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    What more would you like???, lets see, all the tributaries are closed to sportfishing, all the major tributaries have season long closures at the mouth, the sportfishing season starts out single hook, no bait, with a slot limit protecting about 20% of the run through the slot, last year the season started out c&r and later closed, in periods of low return F&G EO's closures from the Slikok closure to Skilak, and have the slot through July 15th above the bridge when fishing above the bridge isn't closed, there has been no bait above the moose river for the last many years until the middle of July when we did get bait in July, Fish and game has been doing radio tagging studies to track migration patterns and timing, they have been taking genetic samples from caught fish not only in the lower river but below the moose as well (right from the anglers on that section) in the ER as part of a ER genetic study.
    Yukon, how about a larger closed water area around the mouth of the Slikok Creek which I petitioned the Board to do at the last Board cycle and then two years ago and the guides fought - now when the fish are gone ADF&G puts in a proposal to do this. A day late and dollar short.

    How about supporting proposal 219 from KAFC which closes fishing in the main stem river to protect this component of the return from high exploitation rates because this component is fished on for 60 days instead of 30? I bet the guides will be opposed to this proposal. Has nothing to do with early vs late it has to do with overall exploitation rates.

    How about lowering the slot limit to really protect females from the larger age classes?

    How about stopping selective harvest in the sport fishery by requiring the first fish caught to be kept regardless of size.

    How about prohibiting the use of chinook salmon eggs for bait to keep the selective harvest of females down to a minimum for the near future?

    Can you agree to these additional protections?

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,959

    Default

    Nerka, I have a hard time with a slot limit because it is only C&R in sheep's clothing. I am all for first fish kept no matter what the size. Not so good on the chinook egg thing, bait or no bait depending on size of the run. To keep river fishermen honest a restriction on ESSN fishermen results in an in river closure. Steps must be taken to save the early run kings, and it must be done now!

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,079

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Yukon, how about a larger closed water area around the mouth of the Slikok Creek which I petitioned the Board to do at the last Board cycle and then two years ago and the guides fought - now when the fish are gone ADF&G puts in a proposal to do this. A day late and dollar short. The proposal that was put in was during a statewide meeting/out of cycle if I remember correctly, it also went all the way through Poaches Cove, which is too far, maybe if the proposal was through sunken island it may have a chance. I bet the locals would love for sunken and poachers to be closed, good luck with that.

    How about supporting proposal 219 from KAFC which closes fishing in the main stem river to protect this component of the return from high exploitation rates because this component is fished on for 60 days instead of 30? I bet the guides will be opposed to this proposal. Has nothing to do with early vs late it has to do with overall exploitation rates. F&G pretty much already does this, in reality, no one fishes kings above the moose river until Late July, and from the moose to Soldotna is closed/restricted by EO when numbers are low. F&G has the authority to close all these sections when needed and have proved that they will close/restrict in times of a poor run, no need to put it in regulation.

    How about lowering the slot limit to really protect females from the larger age classes? IMO, there isn't enough data or genetic justification, it is a feel good measure. That being said, I did support and am on record of supporting the slot when it was lower.

    How about stopping selective harvest in the sport fishery by requiring the first fish caught to be kept regardless of size. Harvest of first run fish is basically that, not much "high grading" going on, as if you are lucky enough to get one most guided anglers that I know/see keep their first fish. I don't think the locals would get behind this one

    How about prohibiting the use of chinook salmon eggs for bait to keep the selective harvest of females down to a minimum for the near future? This one is interesting, I fish both eggs and sardines, in relation to ER fish, which this thread is about, it starts without bait and only opened to bait if there is excess fish so I see no reason with using all forms of bait.

    Can you agree to these additional protections?
    F&G has authority to manage

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,530

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    F&G has authority to manage
    So basically you are saying keep the existing status and watch the early run go to very low levels and extinction of some sub-stocks.

    Yukon, as a guide, you should be leading the charge for protection not running from it.

    Just for the record the petition did not go to Poaches Cove it went to just below Sunken Island. But you did not answer my question. Would you support the expanded close waters in the proposal by ADF&G.

    Fish and Game does not close the river in all returns above Moose River - if fact in most years it is open to fishing. They only close this area when overall in-river numbers are low so you are allowing 60 days of fishing on main stem spawners that enter in June. That is the point. This is too high of exploitation rate on this component. If the existing regulations are followed then ADF&G will continue to allow this component to be over-harvested.

    The slot limit has had an impact but not one that was desired. The fishery still is selective for females when the slot was raised on the lower end.

    When you say not much high grading going on that flies in the face of the data on the river. Not sure how you got to that point. The comparison of the netting data to the fishery harvest age comp shows this without a doubt. The only other explanation is that large females bite more than other age or sex groups.

    My questions are to you as an individual guide. So given you have some misunderstandings do you still stick with keeping above Moose River and the Soldotna bridge open in most years even with the higher exploitation rate on this early component of the main stem spawners? If so how do you justify that given this component will be harvested at a much higher rate and probably over harvested?

    Also would you not agree that the fish caught in this section in early July are fish that entered in June? Yet the harvest is put in the late run data base. The tagging data supports this point so in reality ADF&G is not accounting for the harvest correctly in the data set.
    Last edited by Nerka; 01-13-2014 at 13:14. Reason: correct mistake in typing

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,079

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    So basically you are saying keep the existing status and watch the early run go to very low levels and extinction of some sub-stocks. No, things have changed over the years with F&G management and they have been doing a good job at using their EO management authority to protect the fish. We are seeing declines in most runs, Kasilof, Anchor, Deep Creek and Ninilcik, they have all been dropping. F&G has been doing a good job of a closing and restricting as needed.

    Yukon, as a guide, you should be leading the charge for protection not running from it. I am for protecting the resource, I am not running from it.

    Just for the record the petition did not go to Poaches Cove it went to just below Sunken Island. But you did not answer my question. Would you support the expanded close waters in the proposal by ADF&G. no, I don't think the additional steps are necessary, the Slikok closure has been extended to the end of the season and the drop in numbers of slikok creek has been parallel to the dropping in stocking of the Kasilof, one reason for the lowering of stocking in the Kasilof was straying into Slikok, which may have accounted for inflated numbers. If I saw some data I may be talked into supporting the closure through sunken island.

    Fish and Game does not close the river in all returns above Moose River - if fact in most years it is open to fishing. They only close this area when overall in-river numbers are low so you are allowing 60 days of fishing on main stem spawners that enter in June. That is the point. This is too high of exploitation rate on this component. If the existing regulations are followed then ADF&G will continue to allow this component to be over-harvested. In most years there is enough fish to keep it open it is open, given sufficient returns. You also have some season long closures in that section as well. F&G has shown they are managing conservatively, especially in recent years, and have given adequate protections through their EO authority. If you look at the data main stem spawners spawn throughout the river regardless of when they come into the river, above the moose does not see kings until very late in July, if you really want to protect them you would try and close the lower river. The effort above the moose is very minimal a few guides in late july and mostly locals that live up there.

    The slot limit has had an impact but not one that was desired. The fishery still is selective for females when the slot was raised on the lower end. what is the impact? data? What is F&G's position?

    When you say not much high grading going on that flies in the face of the data on the river. Not sure how you got to that point. The comparison of the netting data to the fishery harvest age comp shows this without a doubt. The only other explanation is that large females bite more than other age or sex groups. Just saying, I don't see it, I see people keeping the first fish they catch, when fishing is really good on the Kenai it is about 12hrs of fishing time per fish for the guided angler, not much time to "high grade", and it is much higher fish/hour in the Early Run, if you catch one and you want to keep a fish, an angler, if not a local, usually keep their first king.

    My questions are to you as an individual guide. So given you have some misunderstandings do you still stick with keeping above Moose River and the Soldotna bridge open in most years even with the higher exploitation rate on this early component of the main stem spawners? If so how do you justify that given this component will be harvested at a much higher rate and probably over harvested? Probably????? If the numbers aren't there it is closed, in years there is a harvestable surplus amount of kings there should be opportunity to harvest. Let F&G manage the fishery

    Also would you not agree that the fish caught in this section in early July are fish that entered in June? Yet the harvest is put in the late run data base. The tagging data supports this point so in reality ADF&G is not accounting for the harvest correctly in the data set. IT always baffled my why F&G counted these fish as LR fish, I think we are seeing a change in that and it has been reflected in their recent management. We are also seeing a change in terminology going from ER and LR to tributary and mainstem spawners and long with that the management and closures/restrictions.
    See you at the BoF! We will have to have another conversation then, I do enjoy talking with you.

  11. #11

    Default

    Thanks Yukon, I greatly appreciate your on the water experience in these discussions.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,530

    Default

    Yukon is stating th position a number of guides have taken. Fish and Game will protect the resource. Really, then how did we get to this point on the early run. Lets go over this again and Yukon may just not have the data he needs.

    First, Kasilof stocking cannot explain the drop in Slikok Creek. The Kasilof tagging data indicated at most 20% of the return was Kasilof stocking. The drop in spawners has been from 300-400 to less than a 12 dozen females. No way can Kasilof explain this drop. The overall return to Slikok is much greater than the drop observed in other systems. Guides fought the expanded closed waters around Slikok Creek and now will not support ADF&G proposal to expand those waters in regulation.

    Yukon does not recognize that the main stem fish entering in June have been exploited at a higher rate than tributary spawners. Data are available to show this as well as common sense - the fishery on these fish is 30 days longer. ADF&G manages to one goal in the Kenai early run and does not manage for sub-stocks - thus they have not and will not close above the Moose River if the counter is above the minimum goal. So some guides are willing to just give up this portion of the return. That is too bad as it is one reason that the overall early run is down significantly.

    The question of keeping the first fish caught and that most people do this just not jive with the data. Maybe one trip people do this but those who book a week of fishing are probably more selective. What is true is that females are being targeted.

    Yukon, while I would love to talk to you I will not be at the Board meeting. I realized last BOF meeting that my contribution is not wanted and ignored so the cost of staying in Anchorage to me is not worth it. Hotel rooms, food, and gas costs combined with no desire by BOF members to listen make the decision fairly easy. I just hope you and others look at the positions they are taking and put aside personal gain for the resource.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,079

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Yukon is stating th position a number of guides have taken. Fish and Game will protect the resource. Really, then how did we get to this point on the early run. Lets go over this again and Yukon may just not have the data he needs.

    First, Kasilof stocking cannot explain the drop in Slikok Creek. The Kasilof tagging data indicated at most 20% of the return was Kasilof stocking. The drop in spawners has been from 300-400 to less than a 12 dozen females. No way can Kasilof explain this drop. The overall return to Slikok is much greater than the drop observed in other systems. Guides fought the expanded closed waters around Slikok Creek and now will not support ADF&G proposal to expand those waters in regulation. Are you saying that closing the river another mile or so would have stopped this decline? How do you know what "the guides' are supporting? Did the numbers in the creek drop after the closure was extended for the entire season?

    Yukon does not recognize that the main stem fish entering in June have been exploited at a higher rate than tributary spawners. Data are available to show this as well as common sense - the fishery on these fish is 30 days longer. ADF&G manages to one goal in the Kenai early run and does not manage for sub-stocks - thus they have not and will not close above the Moose River if the counter is above the minimum goal. So some guides are willing to just give up this portion of the return. That is too bad as it is one reason that the overall early run is down significantly. Yes, I understand that those early arriving fish are in the system longer and most of those are below the bridge, look at the bendock data, actually, per river mile above the moose river had the fewest main stem spawners. Below the bridge had more spawners per river mile. The kings above the moose are the most protected in the river already.

    The question of keeping the first fish caught and that most people do this just not jive with the data. Maybe one trip people do this but those who book a week of fishing are probably more selective. What is true is that females are being targeted. Interesting, too bad you aren't actually on the river and talk to people and see what is going on, look at the hours per fish. If anyone is "high grading" it is the local, not the guided angler. Not many guided anglers fish more than 3 days for kings on the Kenai. Go on the river in June for a week and observe.

    Yukon, while I would love to talk to you I will not be at the Board meeting. I realized last BOF meeting that my contribution is not wanted and ignored so the cost of staying in Anchorage to me is not worth it. Hotel rooms, food, and gas costs combined with no desire by BOF members to listen make the decision fairly easy. I just hope you and others look at the positions they are taking and put aside personal gain for the resource.
    Nerka, we have gone back and forth over the last 10+ years, amazing how time flies! I always appreciate our discussions as the generally stay pretty civil and on the point. One thing we have discussed in the past is letting the managers manage. When I have disagreed with F&G in the past you have come down on me for not being a fisheries management professional and I should let them do their job. You have also come down on me in the past for calling the sonar counter wrong when it was counting 2000 to 3000 kings in July and the fishing was horrible and you defended the counter. I have trouble reading you sometime. I appreciate your professional service and I always like reading what you bring to the forum. I will miss you at the BoF meetings, I understand the cost and time involved as I will be stopping in when I have time between work and kids activities, but I will be unable to sit on any committees. I count on the resources for some of my income and enjoy my time guiding as well as my time with friends and family on the river, I want the resource protected for now and the future as much as anyone, I just want the regulations to be meaningful and not just feel good measures that will feel like they will protect the fish but in the end not do anything.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,530

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Nerka, we have gone back and forth over the last 10+ years, amazing how time flies! I always appreciate our discussions as the generally stay pretty civil and on the point. One thing we have discussed in the past is letting the managers manage. When I have disagreed with F&G in the past you have come down on me for not being a fisheries management professional and I should let them do their job. You have also come down on me in the past for calling the sonar counter wrong when it was counting 2000 to 3000 kings in July and the fishing was horrible and you defended the counter. I have trouble reading you sometime. I appreciate your professional service and I always like reading what you bring to the forum. I will miss you at the BoF meetings, I understand the cost and time involved as I will be stopping in when I have time between work and kids activities, but I will be unable to sit on any committees. I count on the resources for some of my income and enjoy my time guiding as well as my time with friends and family on the river, I want the resource protected for now and the future as much as anyone, I just want the regulations to be meaningful and not just feel good measures that will feel like they will protect the fish but in the end not do anything.
    Fair enough on the feel good regulations. Windows, restricted hours in the ESSN fishery, Area 1 vs Area 2 in the drift fishery are all feel good regulations so I am glad to see we both do not want feel good regulations.

    Relative to ADF&G each situation and decision must be evaluated on its own merit. So yes sometimes I support the decision and others I do not. Relative to early run chinook the decision making has been horrible over the past decades.

    Not trying to pick on guides but they took a position of no more regulations at the 2011 Board meeting and that makes rationale discussion difficult. Relative to Slikok Creek I would agree that a bigger closed waters may not protect this stock entirely and more drastic action may be needed. At this point this component of the return is probably lost for the short term and without significant action by ADF&G is a lost cause. Removing or lowering exploitation rate is the only hope so maybe the closed waters will help in that regard.

    I have questioned the chinook sonar counter from 1985 to present and I think if you review my posts on this forum that is shown clearly. I cannot remember the 2000 chinook entering discussion but if it was when the ESSN caught 20,000 fish I probably thought that that level of escapement was possible. Lets agree that the counting system if seriously flawed and part of the problem right now and not part of the solution.

    Relative to being on the river that is a fair comment. Cannot stand the mess out there in July. However, I have lots of friends who fish the river and visitors. So I know how they fish and select for size. High grading does apply to both groups depending on the fishing time available to them and when they hook a small fish. I fished the Kenai for years and know that if one caught a small king early in the day we would release it and hope for a bigger fish, especially if we had multiple days to fish. I am not saying I and other private anglers are free from this practice just that it has to stop and I see no solution being offered by the guide industry ( lets face it the industries - all of them have more money and time to spend at the BOF meetings). Unfortunately KRSA does not represent a number of private anglers.

    Of all the stocks/meta populations in UCI there are two which I fear for in terms of long term sustainability. Kenai River main stem spawners which enter in June and late entering tributary spawners (Slikok Creek) are in trouble and the other is Susitna River sockeye salmon. Relative to the Kenai the main stem component is reduced significantly along with Beaver Creek, Slikok Creek, and Soldotna Creek. On the Susitna River pike, habitat degradation, and beavers have eliminated sockeye from 4 lake systems - gone - and others are on the verge. That is unacceptable and yet ADF&G spends 600,000 on tagging chinook salmon late run because of allocation issues and does not spend hardly anything in the Susitna on pike control, restoration of the lost systems, or removal of beaver dams.

    The red flags are waving Yukon, I just hope you and others can see these flags and react in a positive and precautionary way.

    Good luck at the BOF meeting.

  15. #15
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Early Run Kenai Kings

    Only way the dog packs won't eat every last fish bone is too take the bone away from the dog packs!

    No king fishing for ANYONE in the Kenai for the next 5 years! That is the only sure way to save them. No politics, no BS, no kings taken period. Reassess conditions in 5 years.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •