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Thread: 2014 Kenai king forecast....

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    Default 2014 Kenai king forecast....

    .... ain't lookin' too pretty.

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2014-01-15/adfg-predicts-continued-low-runs-in-2014-forecast-of-kenai-kings#.UtgX4_OeuRI.email


    Less than 2500 ER and about 19,700 LR.

    No mention of confidence intervals.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    If these dismal forecasts are realized, they would be the all-time lowest returns to the Kenai since the inception of modern record-keeping.

    Just for reference, 2013 ER was forecast for 5300. It went C&R pre-season based on the forecast alone.

    The 2014 ER forecast is less than half of 2013. Moreover, the entire run-size is expected to be less than the escapement goal. If the real-time runsize really does turn out to be THAT bad, no amount of restriction would result in meeting the goal.

    Hard to imagine a scenario where ANY directed fishing would be allowed on this stock.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    I agree, the prudent, correct, and best action would be no directed fishing for them at all until data shows good numbers via netting and sonar. Offshore troll fisheries should also be looked at and perhaps closed or restricted. At least genetic work done on them to see where all the winter kings are coming from, and spring feeders off the bluffs. I don't know of any being/have been done.

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    There has been some testing done and, a large part of the feeders are not Alaska stocks. Homerdave would know ore about that.

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    If we don't fix the Kenai river habitat nothing will save the kings. Just like the Dinosaurs the big die off first if they can't adapt.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    If we don't fix the Kenai river habitat nothing will save the kings. Just like the Dinosaurs the big die off first if they can't adapt.
    MG, you gotta stop drinking the koolaid

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    Could you explain your position better, because I do not understand how you could feel that not fixing the habitat would help the Kenai kings. Bigger creatures can't adapt to major habitat changes as well as smaller creatures. If you do not understand that you can feel free to do some research on adaptation, then respond.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    MG, you gotta stop drinking the koolaid

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    MG, you gotta stop drinking the koolaid
    Oh, that's precious.

    I figure I have a say here, since I was the one you last accused of drinking the Koolaid.

    We're supposedly drinking Koolaid, yet the only thing dying here are our fish. You collect paychecks from KRSA, all the while claiming that everything is fine - unless someone asks you to explain WHAT SCIENTIFIC DATA you have to substantiate that, in which case all we get is radio silence - God knows we wouldn't want an actual scientific option that may get in the way of the propaganda mill padding your wallet. (See the "incredible shrinking king" thread).

    I know it's rude to bring up the fact that you get paid to do this Bfish, but really, I haven't had a single debate with someone in your camp who hasn't instantly labeled me as a commercial fisherman, as if that discredits my factual statements somehow, or it's impossible to be both a sport and commercial fisherman.

    So, back to those facts. Which part of MG's statement makes him worthy of "drinking the Koolaid"?

    He said that:

    1. "If we don't fix the Kenai river habitat, nothing will save the kings."

    Do you disagree that we have some substantial habitat issues on the Kenai?
    Do you disagree that our river is both the bedroom and the nursery for these fish?
    Can they naturally exist without healthy spawning and rearing habitat?

    2. "Just like the Dinosaurs the big die off first if they can't adapt."

    Isn't it generally accepted theory that larger animals, which usually have larger dietary needs, smaller populations, longer gestation periods, and are slower to reach sexual maturity, are more susceptible to extinction? Wasn't part of your point on the "shrinking king" threads that we are seeing smaller Kings statewide due to ocean pressures/survival? Isn't it obvious that the big ones are the first to go?

    I have to say Bfish, given your background and knowledge of the subject, to insist that everything is hunky-dory on the Kenai (which your organization has had its way with for the last several decades) makes me think that perhaps YOU are the one who has been hittin' the sauce...

    I will also say that, given your background and knowledge of the subject, your cryptic posts and insulting one-line responses show just how bad you know your argument sucks.

    I look forward to this BOF session. It will indeed be entertaining to sip my Koolaid and watch you attempt convince everyone that the Kenai river habitat is pristine and our King issues have nothing to do with the unlimited inriver commercial powerboat fishery that has selectively targeted these fish for decades.

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    What the heck is ADF&G thinking? First they reference that the escapement for early run in 2013 was 2000 fish when we all know that the tribs alone had many more than that. Internally they know the run was probably in the 5000 range. Next, if you look at the Didson counts in the reports they are all over the place with the Baysian adjustments. So in reality these forecasts are bogus as heck. Who knows what the return will be and there is no way ADF&G can forecast anything with these data sets.

    It would be wise of ADF&G to define a large fish goal and manage for that given the Didson may count them. At least there is a chance they could be right.

    These forecast documents are good for one thing - and it is not fish management.

    Relative to the season they can still start the season out in a conservative mode - the return of 2013 gives them justification. They do not need to fabricate data and ignore other data.

  10. #10

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    I wonder how much the 28" Chinook retention limit on the Kodiak seine fleet will help our returns next year. Last year they caught nearly 30,000 Kings. With sport harvest, Kodiak accounted for approx. 40,000 Kings harvested last year, the large majority of which were NOT headed home to Kodiak.

    My other question (which may be answered in the reports which I haven't fully read but I'm not holding out a lot of hope) is that, according to my understanding, escapement/return estimates from 2011 & 2012 were adjusted upwards SIGNIFICANTLY post-season from the original Didson count. From what I could tell from the incredibly informative FAQ that ADFG released, that did not happen for some reason in 2013. How much would this negatively affect 2014 projections?

    I realize that when it comes to fishing I'm an optimist, but what are the chances that all of the 1.1-1.2's we saw this year could be followed up next year by a large showing of 1.2-1.3's?

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    Bfish, I feel like you would piss on my leg and tell me it's raining, but that's what a paid mouth is paid to do! If you ever want to have a real conversation about saving Kenai kings feel free to let me know. I hope some needed steps for in river King Salmon protection are taken. That's rain!

  12. #12

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    I guess if your arguments don't stand on their own merits, you can always fall back on personal attacks. The point I was trying to make about Koolaid is that certain ideas get picked up and repeated without any real critical thinking until they get considered to be facts in certain quarters regardless of whether they are true or not. This can be especially prevalent when those ideas reinforce other biases or agendas. As they say, it's not the things we don't know that get us, it's the things we know for sure that just ain't so.

    This Kenai habitat degradation idea is one of these. Are there localized human impacts, surely. Need we be diligent in habitat protection and restoration, absolutely. Is the habitat so degraded by human activities that king productivity is significantly impaired? Of course not. The proof is in the inherent replacement rates in the stock-recruitment analyses for kings from ADFG. Every spawner on average replaces itself several times over except when they are over capacity or in one of these sour ocean periods.

    Kenai salmon habitat is superb. Habitat conditions are ultimately driven by functional processes which are dependent on watershed conditions. This is especially true of mainstems and large tributaries whose quality is primarily determined by upstream conditions. Runoff patterns, flood magnitude and frequency, water quality including temperatures, gravel recruitment, etc. The Kenai watershed responsible for these functions is pristine. The development is concentrated along the lower reaches. The biggest impacts of this are in the small lower river tributaries. Stream bank development obviously affects riparian conditions in places. Even there, the vast percentage of the stream bank is unaffected. The river channel morphology and substrate condition is absolutely unaffected. The bank erosion turbidity issue is confined to the tidal reach and it is really hard to contrive significant fish or ecological effects of that.

    Yeah, yeah I get that habitat is precious and extremism in it's protection is no vice - I'm right there in front of you.

    But when I hear people blaming the early run king downturn on freshwater habitat problems, I can only conclude that this reflects either a lack of perspective or critical thinking, or a cynical attempt to further an allocative fish agenda. I have absolutely no problem with people saying, hey we want our fair share of the fish. They are our livelihood and lifestyle. Just say that and quit peddling the other Koolaid. It will rot your teeth in the end.

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    The down turn in early run kings has been caused by over exploitation in the main stream by over exposure to hooks. Some how you fail to admit the the Kenai River fails to meet water standards during the summer due to to many boats with motors. You my want to rethink your statements about agendas. You are the one being paid to have one, not me. You have failed to respond to the questions ask of you again.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I wonder how much the 28" Chinook retention limit on the Kodiak seine fleet will help our returns next year. Last year they caught nearly 30,000 Kings. With sport harvest, Kodiak accounted for approx. 40,000 Kings harvested last year, the large majority of which were NOT headed home to Kodiak.

    My other question (which may be answered in the reports which I haven't fully read but I'm not holding out a lot of hope) is that, according to my understanding, escapement/return estimates from 2011 & 2012 were adjusted upwards SIGNIFICANTLY post-season from the original Didson count. From what I could tell from the incredibly informative FAQ that ADFG released, that did not happen for some reason in 2013. How much would this negatively affect 2014 projections?

    I realize that when it comes to fishing I'm an optimist, but what are the chances that all of the 1.1-1.2's we saw this year could be followed up next year by a large showing of 1.2-1.3's?
    Great questions TB, now you're cookin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    What the heck is ADF&G thinking? First they reference that the escapement for early run in 2013 was 2000 fish when we all know that the tribs alone had many more than that. Internally they know the run was probably in the 5000 range. Next, if you look at the Didson counts in the reports they are all over the place with the Baysian adjustments. So in reality these forecasts are bogus as heck. Who knows what the return will be and there is no way ADF&G can forecast anything with these data sets.

    It would be wise of ADF&G to define a large fish goal and manage for that given the Didson may count them. At least there is a chance they could be right.

    These forecast documents are good for one thing - and it is not fish management.

    Relative to the season they can still start the season out in a conservative mode - the return of 2013 gives them justification. They do not need to fabricate data and ignore other data.

    Nerka - My guess is that their estimate is just a "planning number". A starting point for planning purposes. Nothing more. This allows them to justify conservative measures for all fisheries early in the season; and perhaps just as important, it provides the public with plenty of warning about the size and strength of the upcoming run of Chinook salmon.

    If I were planning on visiting the KP this summer (which unfortunately I'm not), I would want to know how the Chinook salmon fishing is going to be on the Kenai Rv. Now I know. As such, I would plan on doing something else while I'm there. Perhaps I would book a halibut trip rather than a Chinook salmon trip. Or perhaps I would focus on the Kasilof, particularly if the Crooked Creek hatchery stock is doing okay. But under all circumstances, I would avoid fishing for Chinook salmon on the Kenai River. And that's exactly the reaction ADF&G hopes to achieve. In my view, this is just good management by ADF&G.

    However, am I suggesting ADF&G made those run-size estimates as a public relations stunt? No, but I would say they made those run-size estimates for multiple purposes and for many reasons. Not all of them are scientific. Nothing wrong with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I wonder how much the 28" Chinook retention limit on the Kodiak seine fleet will help our returns next year. Last year they caught nearly 30,000 Kings. With sport harvest, Kodiak accounted for approx. 40,000 Kings harvested last year, the large majority of which were NOT headed home to Kodiak.

    My other question (which may be answered in the reports which I haven't fully read but I'm not holding out a lot of hope) is that, according to my understanding, escapement/return estimates from 2011 & 2012 were adjusted upwards SIGNIFICANTLY post-season from the original Didson count. From what I could tell from the incredibly informative FAQ that ADFG released, that did not happen for some reason in 2013. How much would this negatively affect 2014 projections?

    I realize that when it comes to fishing I'm an optimist, but what are the chances that all of the 1.1-1.2's we saw this year could be followed up next year by a large showing of 1.2-1.3's?
    Smithb nailed it. Kodiak is laughing while the sportfishermen and commercial fishermen of cook inlet fight over the scraps left to us. While the Kenai is getting most of the attention, no one appears to be paying much attention to the Anchor, Ninilchik, Deep Creek and kasilof which were all restricted last year and many of the previous years. Look at the Anchor river returns, what is going on there??? Heck, Ship Creek in Anchorage was shut down last year and has been restricted a couple times over the past few years and that is a stocked run, not to mention the Valley streams/rivers (it isn't all pike, beavers etc...) While Cook Inlet user groups fight over the scraps, the big problem is not being looked at.

  17. #17

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    We should be wise not to direct all of our attention too far from the Kenai... This report was pretty interesting.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...4_uci_2013.pdf

    It shows a marked difference in the age/sex/length composition of the Kenai kings compared to the Kasilof. As the report stated, run timing and the date the samples were taken could have affected this data somewhat, but I don't think it alone could explain the difference. It seems as if Something unique is happening in the mighty Kenai.

    I would be interested to hear other opinions on this report.

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    It is okay to look away from the Kenai, the kenai gets the attention because of the economic importance, but we can't look past the other streams as well. As theories of why the Kenai stocks are low one needs to look past the Kenai as well, do the other systems have the same "problems" as the Kenai? Could those real/perceived problems people/groups are attributing to the Kenai King decline also be applied to those other streams? Many can not be, but no one is talking about that.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    I guess if your arguments don't stand on their own merits, you can always fall back on personal attacks. The point I was trying to make about Koolaid is that certain ideas get picked up and repeated without any real critical thinking until they get considered to be facts in certain quarters regardless of whether they are true or not. This can be especially prevalent when those ideas reinforce other biases or agendas. As they say, it's not the things we don't know that get us, it's the things we know for sure that just ain't so.
    Yes, repeating things over and over again do not make them true. Someone should tell KRSA that. Contrary to what we keep hearing, ESSN's are NOT responsible for the low king abundance we are facing, Vince Webster did NOT deserve the hatchet job he got, and despite a very shiny federally funded "Habitat Report" puff piece that KRSA produced and ADFG has been using, Kenai river habitat is NOT being appropriately studied or protected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    This Kenai habitat degradation idea is one of these. Are there localized human impacts, surely. Need we be diligent in habitat protection and restoration, absolutely. Is the habitat so degraded by human activities that king productivity is significantly impaired? Of course not. The proof is in the inherent replacement rates in the stock-recruitment analyses for kings from ADFG. Every spawner on average replaces itself several times over except when they are over capacity or in one of these sour ocean periods.
    Glad to hear that you accept the decisive evidence of density-dependent impacts on king salmon productivity. Interesting to hear that you put so much faith in the spawner-recruit data that ADFG released – it represents a marked change in tone from your public testimony at the last BOF meeting just after this data was released.
    Many kings spawn in the lower-middle river mainstem, and kings spend more time rearing in this environment than any other fish. Our lower and middle river has experienced explosive growth, development and use over the last several decades. Now kings are experiencing low productivity. It's possible that this is due entirely to ocean conditions, but someone as careful as yourself about making assumptions should know better than to make that stretch - especially given the lack of positive data on the Kenai river habitat.

    Remember, habitat destruction is but one result of increased river use, and is pretty tough to definitively link to lower production – ESPECIALLY when we choose to spend money on things like failed accoustical tagging studies rather than habitat research or smolt-out studies. The definitave contribution of the in-river fishery with regards to Kenai Kings has been the selective overharvest of the most fertile kings – the BIG ones. We KNOW that has happened, despite suggestions from you and others that selective harvest has no effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    Kenai salmon habitat is superb. Habitat conditions are ultimately driven by functional processes which are dependent on watershed conditions. This is especially true of mainstems and large tributaries whose quality is primarily determined by upstream conditions. Runoff patterns, flood magnitude and frequency, water quality including temperatures, gravel recruitment, etc. The Kenai watershed responsible for these functions is pristine. The development is concentrated along the lower reaches. The biggest impacts of this are in the small lower river tributaries. Stream bank development obviously affects riparian conditions in places. Even there, the vast percentage of the streambank is unaffected. The river channel morphology and substrate condition is absolutely unaffected. The bank erosion turbidity issue is confined to the tidal reach and it is really hard to contrive significant fish or ecological effects of that.
    "Kenai habitat is superb". How can you say this? What proof do you have? No, evidence that previously trampled areas which have been boardwalked or closed are now green with shallow-rooted fast-growing weeds and dandelions (rather than the original vegetation) is not proof that the habitat is superb. I’d say, from your perspective, this is one of those “things we know that we just don’t want to know”. Burying and ignoring negative habitat reports does not mean that everything is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    Yeah, yeah I get that habitat is precious and extremism in it's protection is no vice - I'm right there in front of you.

    But when I hear people blaming the early run king downturn on fresh water habitat problems, I can only conclude that this reflects either a lack of perspective or critical thinking, or a cynical attempt to further an allocative fish agenda. I have absolutely no problem with people saying, hey we want our fair share of the fish. They are our livelihood and lifestyle. Just say that and quit peddling the other Koolaid. It will rot your teeth in the end.


    Who has blamed the ER king downturn on freshwater habitat problems? Inriver SELECTIVE OVERHARVEST is not Koolaid.

    Bfish, how can you possibly say that we have nothing to worry about with regards to habitat on the Kenai? Do you REALLY think that the insanely high level of powerboat use on our river has NO adverse effects to salmon habitat/production?

    Yeeesh man, sounds like you skipped the Koolaid and went straight for the paint thinner!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Nerka - My guess is that their estimate is just a "planning number". A starting point for planning purposes. Nothing more. This allows them to justify conservative measures for all fisheries early in the season; and perhaps just as important, it provides the public with plenty of warning about the size and strength of the upcoming run of Chinook salmon.

    If I were planning on visiting the KP this summer (which unfortunately I'm not), I would want to know how the Chinook salmon fishing is going to be on the Kenai Rv. Now I know. As such, I would plan on doing something else while I'm there. Perhaps I would book a halibut trip rather than a Chinook salmon trip. Or perhaps I would focus on the Kasilof, particularly if the Crooked Creek hatchery stock is doing okay. But under all circumstances, I would avoid fishing for Chinook salmon on the Kenai River. And that's exactly the reaction ADF&G hopes to achieve. In my view, this is just good management by ADF&G.

    However, am I suggesting ADF&G made those run-size estimates as a public relations stunt? No, but I would say they made those run-size estimates for multiple purposes and for many reasons. Not all of them are scientific. Nothing wrong with that.
    Cohoangler, I wish the forecast were just for tourist planning but that is not the case. ADF&G has used forecasts around the State including UCI to restrict fisheries prior to any in-season data.

    Relative to answering my question about what was ADF&G thinking I went in and talked with Tim today. He said ADF&G has kind of given up trying to explain the lower river counts, the use of them given how the goals were made, and that yes more fish were counted at the tributaries than at the lower river sonar. I suggested when they put something out in public they refer to the lower site as an index. At least that opens the door for conversations on what that means.

    Relative to habitat it is a mixed bag. Bfish is correct on the upper watershed. Not many systems close to major population centers have good upper watershed habitat - thanks Federal Government.

    However, one cannot dismiss the habitat issues on some tributaries that use to produce chinook salmon - Slikok Creek has agricultural issues beside harvest issues, Beaver Creek has habitat issues associated with development and roads, Cooper Creek has a hydroelectric dam and river diversions and in-stream flow issues, Soldotna Creek has the potential for pike and is being treated this year. Of course we have the Sewage Treatment Plant in Soldotna, road runoff from a number of roads, some perched culverts, development in the floodplain (the Kenai Keys), riparian habitat loss due to previous riverside development and lack of an adequate buffer, hydrocarbon issues which are going to increase if a sockeye salmon guide fishery grows, bank degradation due to growing angler use by boat access which will require further closures, turbidity issues along 8 miles of the lower river which will only increase as the PU boat traffic launching upstream increases, and of course the Sterling highway which runs right next to the river without any filtration protection.

    So I would not call the Kenai superb unless I was comparing it to the lower 48 streams. Relative to other streams on the Kenai it is not superb so maybe that should be the measure but terms like superb and good are really subjective and should not be the issue.

    Are Kenai River chinook being impacted by the above - the answer is yes - Slikok Creek alone makes that case. However, can these explain the total reason for a drop in chinook production - no. But one cannot say they are not having an impact - we just do not know. What we do know is that they are troubling signs and point to habitat degradation being with us for a long time and yet we have time to reverse these in some cases. I also know one thing - it is better not to have these than to have them. So when I hear KRSA pushing fishing opportunity over listing the Kenai River for turbidity and making an action plan my stomach turns. They should be ashamed of themselves for calling themselves habitat oriented and then fight behind closed doors to take no action.

    Bfish I will not label you with KRSA actions - two separate issues in my mind. However, I will take exception to saying that the above habitat issues have no impact on chinook - not true in my mind or the data we do have.

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