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Thread: fishing the end of July

  1. #1

    Default fishing the end of July

    I will be in Soldotna the week of July 28th. What fishing will be best at that time of the year?
    Thanks

  2. #2

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    I can't think of a better time to fish the Kenai!! King fishing is open throug the end of July, the silvers should be starting up, the reds will be slowing down and the pinks are on the way... all of that plus the resident species.... most excellent time to fish the Kenai.

    Be sure to check the regulations and particularly watch for emergency orders. There is a rumor of a possible king season extension this year???? So stay posted. Good luck.

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    AFG is right on.... excellent time to be on the river for a Kenai slam. Catch a king, silver, red, pink, Dolly, and rainbow all in the same day!

    BTW there is no "rumor" about an extension of the king season. There is a prescribed management plan that will be strictly adhered to by fish managers. If the escapement is projected to exceed the BEG of 17.8K - 35.7K, the area below Eagle Rock will opened, up to the first full week in August.

    With the poor Kenai sockeye forecast, there will probably be far fewer commercial EO's to liberalize the regular twice weekly gill-netting openers. That means on average 800 more kings into the river for each day that netting is curtailed. If the sockeye fail to materialize as expected, the chances of exceeding the 35.7K threshold for late run kings in 2006 are very high.

    New to the management plan (I kid you not) is a quiet little provision to go to a two-fish bag if the run is exceptionally strong.

    The times, oh how they are a-changin'....
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    Unhappy Refuting bogus biology. . .

    I sent the doc's post above to a fisheries biologist. Here's his reply to the doc:

    "I thought I would take exception to some of your comments in the hope you will get it right the next time.

    [Your figures] look like [they are] from last year so do not know what season you are referencing. The comment about pink salmon makes me think you are talking about 2004.

    However, what I take exception with is the comment about 800 more kings into the river for each day that netting is curtailed. This is just not factually correct. First, the 800 kings I assume is some average harvest you have generated - lets assume it is correct. This represents 80 miles of beach fishing and with kings taking a week or more to travel from one end to the other it certainly does not represent a daily entry pattern. In fact, my work and others indicated that if the commercial nets do not fish one day they probably just catch the fish on the next commercial fishing day. With an extended travel time it takes a long closed period in the commercial fishery to get fish to the river.

    Second, the exploitation rate for the whole season by the eastside set nets is probably around 25% these days - it used to be 16% before windows caused an increase in fishing time - I still laugh at this one - sport fishing representatives think windows helped the king fishery when in fact the exploitation rate went up. In any event if the whole commercial fishery was closed the maximum number of chinook entering the river would be 25% of the run. You would need a chinook run of 100,000 fish to get your 25,000 fish saving which would equate to your 800 fish per day. That is if the season were closed for the entire season which has never taken place.

    Relative to that you failed to mention Kasilof River which has a forecast of 900,000 return this year. Fishing time will be increased to harvest these fish - either by traditional set nets within a half mile of the beach and/or the terminal area. So where the final exploitation rate will end up is unknown at this time. Kenai still has harvestable surplus and with the drift fleet curtailed for Susitna there may be more fishing time on the beach to take these fish. Your assumptions just are not correct given the Susitna run forecast.

    I guess I think it is unfortunate that people like yourself who should know this fishery by now do not. . . . The misinformation that comes from the internet is unreal.

    Finally, if you are following the early run sonar numbers you should be aware they are being heavily influenced by sockeye salmon headed to the Russian. The counts do not track the fishery, netting, or any other separate index. The Department went to bait knowing the counts were bogus and only recently made a mention of this in the weekly fishing report.

    I hope my comments help and you just do not throw them away. As a leader/spokesperson in the fishing community I feel you have a responsibility to present good factual information. It would be nice for you to correct your post."

  5. #5
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Bogus? The numbers don't lie, Marcus.... it's all in how they are interpreted. Each of us is entitled to an opinion, even the biologists, and Lord knows they're never wrong. I really didn't want to get into this, but here goes...

    I pasted my reply (with a few additions) to said biologist below:

    Keep in mind the context of the post is late July. I know you don’t agree, but I will stand by my assertion that in the past few years, every setnet day in late July translates to an average of 800 kings being removed from the fishery. That’s 800 fish that will not ascend the Kenai (and to a lesser extent the Kasilof). Do you suppose that if 800 kings are left uncaught by the nets that they just disappear into some mysterious Black Hole? Seems to me they are pre-programmed by Mother Nature to swim upriver, hey, but that's just me

    BTW, I did not say 800 kings a day are caught every day of the season, but that is certainly the case during peak king salmon passage in the last half of July, some days seeing significantly more kings harvested by the nets. I never predicted a savings of 25,000 kings, but I would certainly settle for another 6000-8000 kings for the sport-fishery. Just might be enough to fuel another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August, ya think? FYI, the numbers you cited for king salmon savings in the absence of a commercial fishery are spot on. 2005 and 2004 both saw record king salmon by-catches of over 20,000.... and that was at with run-sizes significantly less than your hypothetical 100,000.

    Here are some stats I pulled off an old post from 2004:


    If you look at the daily catch data for the east side setnets alone, you will see that no matter what day they fish, the king by-catch is on the order of 700-900 fish

    7-15.........444.0K reds..........931 kings
    7-16.........103.6K reds..........664 kings
    7-17...........74.1K reds..........767 kings
    7-18...........47.5K reds..........750 kings
    7-19...........30.9K reds..........881 kings


    If what you say about prolonged transit thru the fishery is true, does that mean if the nets take a break one day, they will intercept 1600 kings the next day? That would only be true if no kings exited the fishing area and the fleet were capable of catching all the available kings, and that just doesn’t happen. On paper, the fleet is only capable of culling out 25% of the run in the average year. The kings that are just entering the southernmost extent of the fishing area may not make it all the way past the fishery in a day, but a good chunk of the kings in the northern half are gonna make it. Give them a three day break without an EO between regular openers, and a sizable bolus of fish can make its way to the river unimpeded.

    The Kenai sockeye forecast is 1.8 million. If that number is realized, that leaves a "paltry" 1 million reds for the commercial fleet. In recent years the Kenai run has come back as strong as 5 million. Does anyone really believe it's gonna take as many EO's to harvest a million fish as it will 4 million fish? Hence my comment about the likelihood of fewer EO's. I guess we'll find out who's more correct in the next 5 weeks.

    As far as Kasilof goes, I suspect managers will be utilizing the in-river terminal fishery more than ever before in order to maximally harvest the surplus Kasilof sockeye. Man those late-run kings in that river are gonna take a beating this year!

    Sorry, but my post on the Alaska Outdoors forum will stand as is… I see nothing there that is not factually correct.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    Unhappy Opinionated (bogus) biology. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    1) Each of us is entitled to an opinion.
    2)Do you suppose that if 800 kings are left uncaught by the nets that they just disappear into some mysterious Black Hole Just might be enough to fuel another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August, ya think?
    1) I'll have to let the fisheries biologist respond to your figures, noting only that he is trained as such, and you are not. Moreover, he is a scientist, which dictates that he treat data dispassionately. You, on the other hand, appear to have an agenda driving your argument—"another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August, ya think?"

    2) Another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August? Is that what lobbying for the destruction of gill-netting in Cook Inlet is all about? The decimation of the commercial gill-nets in favor of the commercial sport fishery? The chinook and sockeye that are caught by the Cook Inlet gill-nets go to American consumers who like to eat chinook and sockeye salmon but unlike those of us who live here or affluent enough to travel here have no access to these fish. Are we to believe that some folks want to deprive American consumers of a share of Cook Inlet chinook and sockeye for "another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August"?

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    Angry Bad biology — bad bargain . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    . . . but I would certainly settle for another 6000-8000 kings for the sport-fishery. Just might be enough to fuel another week of fishing below Eagle Rock in August, ya think?
    Putting another 6000-8000 kings in the river for the sport-fishery, a goodly portion of which is economically driven, would:
    1) disrupt an established industry by first taking those additional kings from the commercial gill-net fishery which has historically taken a consistent percentage of second-run kings;
    2) because sockeye and kings run together, take an additional 800,000 sockeye from the commercial gill-net industry;
    3) jeopardize the diversity of the area's economic base;
    4) destroy ADF&G biologists' ability to manage both the second run of sockeye and second run kings for over-escapement, thus destroying any possibility of managing either fishery for maximum sustained yield;
    5) cost the consuming public and the attendant support industries supplying that public about 5,000,000 pounds of sockeye and about 35 tons of chinook salmon;
    6) result in about 25% of those additional kings being caught by the in-river sport-fishery, a good portion of which is commercial.

    Such a trade-off for an extra 1,500 or so sport-caught kings below Eagle Rock the first week in August is, as I see it, a very bad bargain.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    BTW there is no "rumor" about an extension of the king season. There is a prescribed management plan that will be strictly adhered to by fish managers. If the escapement is projected to exceed the BEG of 17.8K - 35.7K, the area below Eagle Rock will opened, up to the first full week in August.

    ..........

    New to the management plan (I kid you not) is a quiet little provision to go to a two-fish bag if the run is exceptionally strong.....

    The management plan states the commissioner MAY, by emergency order, extend the sport fishing season up to seven days during the first week of August if the biological escapement goal is project to be exceeded. There is a big difference between MAY and SHALL.

    Also, the provision to increase the daily bag limit is not found within the management plan. The authority to increase the daily bag limit is under the statewide provisions and has always been there for the Kenai River, its just not an option that has been used before.

    As a side note, the vast majority of the commercial catch of king salmon is made up of smaller, sockeye-sized king salmon. The commercial catch actually helps to make the overall total harvest (sport, PU, and commercial combined) mirror the age composition of the run, something that fisheries managers strive for.

  9. #9

    Default small kings?

    OK... I have to jump back in on this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by akkona
    As a side note, the vast majority of the commercial catch of king salmon is made up of smaller, sockeye-sized king salmon.
    Please quote your source?!?!?!

    I have fished commercially for many years and have many friends who fish commercially presently. The "vast majority" of kings that I know of are very nice 5 ocean fish! Indeed I know of several at or above 100 pounds.... world records if caught on hook and line. One in particular had a kwikfish, wiggle wart and a spin-n-glow in it's mouth (broke off).

    Though I agree that the jack (the 1 and 2 ocean king) is the menace of the salmon run, and would like to see the size limit raised from 20" to 28" in order to harvest these early returners, the biologists indicate that these fish (mostly males) still contain the genes for large fish?

    Nevertheless, I would love to see the documentation on your presumption.

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    Smile Documented source. . .

    Here's a quote from an East-side set-netter:

    "The 800 kings per day....about half are jacks and 2-ocean (under 28 inches) in the commercial harvest, so spewing numbers by averaging is misleading, and the odds that jacks and under 28 inch kings are being counted by sonar is zero."

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    An east side set netter, now there is a great source.

    All I have to say is, "Where is 'Carver' when we need him?!"

    Documented Source, ME, The most unbelieveable fishing days were during and just after the 36hr windows where the setters had to be on the beaches just before the weekend. Backbounce at the pastures at high tide and......FISH-ON!!!!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus
    Here's a quote from an East-side set-netter:

    "The 800 kings per day....about half are jacks and 2-ocean (under 28 inches) in the commercial harvest, so spewing numbers by averaging is misleading, and the odds that jacks and under 28 inch kings are being counted by sonar is zero."
    I guess the corollary to half the fish being dinks is that half the fish were NOT!

    So much for the gillnets being "selective" for smaller fish. If half the setnet by-catch were dinks, even by a third grader's accounting, that means 10,000 - 11,000 big 'uns perished in the nets during each of the past two seasons. And how many drop-outs died after their struggle for freedom or before the net picker could haul them aboard? We may never know the true "C&R" mortality of a set gillnet, but I'd bet the farm (OK... I'd wager my practice) that it's higher than the 7% for hook-and-release.




    Anyway you care to spin it, I don't know of any in-river users that would squawk about getting an extra 400+ "real" kings a day swimming into the Kenai. Do you?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    Unhappy Relentless bad biology. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    Anyway you care to spin it, I don't know of any in-river users that would squawk about getting an extra 400+ "real" kings a day swimming into the Kenai. Do you?
    Golly, doc, lighten up and stick to the point. Who said anything about gillnets being selective for smaller fish, and you are surely intelligent enough to know that all harvest of human food involves waste — combines kill rabbits, etc. — and has since the dawn of time. Waste during the harvest of food is unfortunate but is also unavoidable. The waste of catch-and-release on the other hand, is avoidable. Heck, just say "No." Nasty photos, by the way. Yucky. . .

    But I'm glad you asked your question because, yes, as a matter of fact I know several score in-river users who would squawk loudly and long about an extra 400+ kings a day swimming into the Kenai. As a matter of fact, these folks have been "squawking" for years about the relentless bad biology and relentless lobbying to liberalize and liberalize and liberalize the in-river commercial sport fishery. Do you happen to recall the 150+ area Alaska residents who signed and paid for the full-page Joe Fisherman ad in the Peninsula Clarion a few years back? They're still here, and they know that continued liberalization of the in-river commercial chinook sport-fishery is bad biology and a bad bargain that would:
    1) disrupt an established industry by taking those additional chinook from the commercial gill-net fishery;
    2) because sockeye and kings run together, take an additional sockeye from the commercial gill-net industry;
    3) jeopardize the diversity of the area's economic base;
    4) destroy ADF&G biologists' ability to manage both the second run of sockeye and second run kings for over-escapement, thus destroying any possibility of managing either fishery for maximum sustained yield;
    5) cost the consuming public and the attendant support industries supplying that public about 5,000,000 pounds of sockeye and about 35 tons of chinook salmon;
    6) result in, what, maybe 100 of those additional kings being caught by the in-river sport-fishery, a good portion of which is commercial?

    No, doctor, that's far too high a price, a bad, bad bargain. It's bad for the fish, it's bad for the area, and it's bad for American consumers. Why would we even consider such a thing?

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    Question WHY bad biology?

    Doctor, as you continue to harp on putting more kings in the river, you opinionate about data you are not trained to interpret and post nasty pictures in support of your position.

    But you also continue to evade the question: Why? Why should additional king salmon be put into the river?

    Thanks. . .


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