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Thread: Good job ADF&G

  1. #1
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    Default Good job ADF&G

    I have been critical of ADF&G counting and management of Kenai River chinook and will still maintain that an independent review is needed relative to the big management picture. However, given the indexes ADF&G has I also will commend them on a good job. This year it looks like the lower Peninsula streams, the Kenai early run, and the Deska will all meet goals and ADF&G deserves a thank you for this outcome. In addition, harvest was increased in the Susitna and the Deska increase in bag limit appears to be well justified.

    Professionals can disagree on points of management and we do all the time. However, we should agree on when good decisions have been made and they were this year.

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    May have spoken too soon since early run open to retention. We will see what the final numbers turn out to be. It is interesting that Sport Fish Division has no problem saying over escapement is not an issue with sockeye but as soon as a projection goes over the upper end of the chinook goal let throw it open. I guess for a stock that has been closed for a few years I would have preferred more escapement to restock those areas that have been lacking in fish - like Slikok Creek, Beaver Creek, Soldotna Creek, and mainstem areas. Distribution of spawners has to come into management of this system at some time rather than just numbers. Also the sex ratio needs to be corrected and I wonder what the sex ratio is for this year? But we will see in a few weeks when the wier data comes in.

    Aktally, I heard that Sport Fish is adjusting the counts from previous years and for last year late run may add 5-6 thousand fish. Any truth to that rumor?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    May have spoken too soon since early run open to retention. We will see what the final numbers turn out to be. It is interesting that Sport Fish Division has no problem saying over escapement is not an issue with sockeye but as soon as a projection goes over the upper end of the chinook goal let throw it open. I guess for a stock that has been closed for a few years I would have preferred more escapement to restock those areas that have been lacking in fish - like Slikok Creek, Beaver Creek, Soldotna Creek, and mainstem areas. Distribution of spawners has to come into management of this system at some time rather than just numbers. Also the sex ratio needs to be corrected and I wonder what the sex ratio is for this year? But we will see in a few weeks when the wier data comes in.

    Aktally, I heard that Sport Fish is adjusting the counts from previous years and for last year late run may add 5-6 thousand fish. Any truth to that rumor?
    I suspect if counts are being changed it would be due to the addition of near shore netting data??? Not at all sure though.

    As for the composition - I don't debate that it's an issue, but I wonder how much of an issue. Couldn't there be a perfectly natural reason that males are coming back early and females are taking the risk to remain at sea longer? Seems that might have some risk/reward advantages at sustaining a diverse gene pool, given that older females would then return with more eggs while a small male could still fertilize multiple redds. Seems that it would also do a better job of diversifying brood years if at-sea mortality was high. Not saying this phenomenon wouldn't change the optimum escapement number, but still, just wondering...

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I suspect if counts are being changed it would be due to the addition of near shore netting data??? Not at all sure though.

    As for the composition - I don't debate that it's an issue, but I wonder how much of an issue. Couldn't there be a perfectly natural reason that males are coming back early and females are taking the risk to remain at sea longer? Seems that might have some risk/reward advantages at sustaining a diverse gene pool, given that older females would then return with more eggs while a small male could still fertilize multiple redds. Seems that it would also do a better job of diversifying brood years if at-sea mortality was high. Not saying this phenomenon wouldn't change the optimum escapement number, but still, just wondering...
    Yes there could be advantages to moreales that we do not understand. However this sex ratio issue may have been created by selective fishing. Also goals sre established based on historical sex ratios closer to one to one. Sobwhen faced with that a manager needs to adjust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Yes there could be advantages to moreales that we do not understand. However this sex ratio issue may have been created by selective fishing. Also goals sre established based on historical sex ratios closer to one to one. Sobwhen faced with that a manager needs to adjust.
    I understand about adjusting goals - personally I don't think we have enough knowledge about what composition dictates what goal (or how big fish need to be to count) and would prefer a little more conservative management than a sliding goal. Yes I know this means not fishing sometimes.

    I also understand how screwed up inriver harvest has been in past years. I've never been die-hard but fished the river plenty in high school and college - the most recent "glory days" until I decided to find less crowed places to fish. Our fishing cabin has pictures of me as a two year old riding a genuine 1980's era behemoth. I get how selective fishing has probably culled many of those monster genes from the pool. I also get how overall fishing/crowding pressure and environmental conditions have likely decreased average size/age (I think while not exactly the same, in the same way there are lots of small halibut now). I also understand how the early run component was chronically overharvested inriver for years. What I don't understand is how that would cause a bunch of young/male fish to return. That phenomenon seems IMO to more likely be based on environmental factors like stream water temp or high ocean mortality. That's my theory anyway...

    Nerka, could you explain more how selective fishing could skew sex comp? Seems harder to do than skewing age comp. Males don't beget males, do they?

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    If the Deshka weir is used as the sole index of Susitna salmon abundance, and if it provides an accurate picture of overall Susitna salmon return strength, then the same justification to restore the 5 fish annual limit on the Deshka, and maintain full fishing hours and openings in the commercial fishery should be applied to lifting the hook and release restrictions on other Susitna watersheds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    If the Deshka weir is used as the sole index of Susitna salmon abundance, and if it provides an accurate picture of overall Susitna salmon return strength, then the same justification to restore the 5 fish annual limit on the Deshka, and maintain full fishing hours and openings in the commercial fishery should be applied to lifting the hook and release restrictions on other Susitna watersheds.
    Willphish, haven't you spent the last month arguing that the Deshka should not be used as the sole index of Susitna salmon abundance, and that it doesn't provide an accurate picture of overall Susitna salmon return strength? Not debating that most runs are likely doing well, just asking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Aktally, I heard that Sport Fish is adjusting the counts from previous years and for last year late run may add 5-6 thousand fish. Any truth to that rumor?
    Figured I would explain what I heard/deduced on this. I posted some age comp data this winter which I received from ADFG that didn't jive with some of the historical data in ADFG reports. I never did completely figure out why the numbers were different, and kind of gave up on it until the reports come out but one thing I learned is that ADFG has not been including near-shore netting data in their escapement estimates (midriver netting is the historical constant and nearshore netting a newer practice, but nearshore netting typically includes more smaller kings, hence increases the total number of fish). I heard that they were in the process of going through and including near shore netting data into the figures to see how it affected escapement estimates. That is what I remember anyway, and this should all be double checked. I don't want to give anyone a hard time for trying to get accurate estimates and I know this is a tough and uncertain task, but I am a little uncomfortable how many times our escapement estimates change after the fact. I'd prefer we adjust our management to complement escapement estimates, not the other way around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I'd prefer we adjust our management to complement escapement estimates, not the other way around.
    Indeed. Those "after the fact" adjustments shake everyone's confidence in the dataset.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Yes there could be advantages to moreales that we do not understand. However this sex ratio issue may have been created by selective fishing. Also goals sre established based on historical sex ratios closer to one to one. Sobwhen faced with that a manager needs to adjust.
    I should have said smaller males and age composition issues. The sex ratio issue is created by the selective harvest of females during the season. So there are fewer females spawning.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Willphish, haven't you spent the last month arguing that the Deshka should not be used as the sole index of Susitna salmon abundance, and that it doesn't provide an accurate picture of overall Susitna salmon return strength? Not debating that most runs are likely doing well, just asking.
    I presented my question as an "if, then," scenario, not necessarily my view on the matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    , but I am a little uncomfortable how many times our escapement estimates change after the fact. I'd prefer we adjust our management to complement escapement estimates, not the other way around.
    sounds like you are saying the escapements are being changed to complement management? So lowered when they closed fishing and raised when they allowed fishing? All this happening after the fishing season? If the result is the same that the escapement is made, why would you be concerned? I say if it doesn't harm the fish, who cares?

  13. #13

    Default Good job ADF&G

    I'm saying that changing historic escapement estimates repeatedly does not instill confidence in said estimates. With respect, because it's a hard job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    I presented my question as an "if, then," scenario, not necessarily my view on the matter.
    Roger. For informational purposes only. Got it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    The sex ratio issue is created by the selective harvest of females during the season. So there are fewer females spawning.
    I'm not sure how this would happen. If the fishing gear is size selective, and females were larger, there would indeed be selection against larger fish, including females. But that's a size-selective issue. It's not gender-specific against females. It's against larger fish, including larger males. Size-selectivity is well-known in harvest management. But I'm not aware of any fishing gear that is selective towards female Pacific salmon. What am I missing?

    I know some recreational anglers prefer to retain females because of their eggs (bait). But that selectivity is a personal preference, not on the gear type.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    I know some recreational anglers prefer to retain females because of their eggs (bait). But that selectivity is a personal preference, not on the gear type.
    Not saying it is the reason for the skewed sex comp, but selectivity towards females when peninsula streams are open to bait is IMO significant and understated. It's a widely held belief that King eggs are better for King fishing, and King eggs are reasonably difficult to find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Not saying it is the reason for the skewed sex comp, but selectivity towards females when peninsula streams are open to bait is IMO significant and understated. It's a widely held belief that King eggs are better for King fishing, and King eggs are reasonably difficult to find.
    Not sure I understand your post. So lemme ask.

    1) Are you saying that when peninsula streams are open to bait, more females are likely to be hooked? And since Chinook salmon eggs are difficult to find, those females are more likely to be retained.

    or

    2) When peninsula streams are open to bait, females are likely to be retained because of the demand for Chinook salmon eggs.

    The difference is that in #1, females are being hooked in higher proportion to males, perhaps because females tend to eat eggs more readily (That is my experience too. I hook far more females when using eggs). But in #2, males and females are being hooked at the same rate (no selectivity), but females are being retained because of the demand for eggs since the streams are open to bait fishing. As a result, the males are released. And if the daily bag limit is one, it's likely a female would be retained.

    My sense is that you're describing #2.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Not sure I understand your post. So lemme ask.

    1) Are you saying that when peninsula streams are open to bait, more females are likely to be hooked? And since Chinook salmon eggs are difficult to find, those females are more likely to be retained.

    or

    2) When peninsula streams are open to bait, females are likely to be retained because of the demand for Chinook salmon eggs.

    The difference is that in #1, females are being hooked in higher proportion to males, perhaps because females tend to eat eggs more readily (That is my experience too. I hook far more females when using eggs). But in #2, males and females are being hooked at the same rate (no selectivity), but females are being retained because of the demand for eggs since the streams are open to bait fishing. As a result, the males are released. And if the daily bag limit is one, it's likely a female would be retained.

    My sense is that you're describing #2.
    I was describing #2 as what I know for certain. I'll take your word on #1. While I fish kings quite a bit, I don't often fish with eggs these days. Personally, I think the identification of eggs as a separate class of bait could be a useful step in itself. Might keep Ranger Rick from sticking my flies up his nose, too. Hands off buddy - I can't help it if everything I own smells like fish!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    I'm not sure how this would happen. If the fishing gear is size selective, and females were larger, there would indeed be selection against larger fish, including females. But that's a size-selective issue. It's not gender-specific against females. It's against larger fish, including larger males. Size-selectivity is well-known in harvest management. But I'm not aware of any fishing gear that is selective towards female Pacific salmon. What am I missing?

    I know some recreational anglers prefer to retain females because of their eggs (bait). But that selectivity is a personal preference, not on the gear type.
    Did not say it was the gear type but the fishery was size selective and toward females (for eggs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Did not say it was the gear type but the fishery was size selective and toward females (for eggs).
    Some eggs used for bait to fish with rod and reel come from processing facilities, including those of reds chinooks silvers. The only fish I have ever killed and said good it is a hen I have some eggs are reds because of the approaching season for silvers. Besides males are bigger than females in chinooks, some guides bring and ship pre bought and cured bait eggs from western states and Vancouver cause it is good business planning or buy cured here all of which come from fish they never caught. Many do not use eggs as bait. Silly to think people have always thrown back 40 pound or more chinooks that are male to bet on catching a 40 pound female. That is that same as saying I throw 2 ten dollar bills in the trash and only keep a 20 dollar bill because the 20 bill is better and I can buy more with it, shows lack of knowledge that they are equal in value and misunderstanding how the real world works. I would say large male fish were selected for because they are biggest just look at all the old pictures of big fish they are mostly male not female.

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