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Thread: Kenai sockeye update

  1. #1
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    Smile Kenai sockeye update

    As of the 17th approximately 73,000 sockeye have passed the sonar counter at river mile 19 of the Kenai River. This is actually the 10th lowest on this date from 1978 to present. So in 28 years there have been 9 other years lower. In addition, in those 9 other years the final escapements ranged from 285,000 to 1 million. The low number was when the goal was 300-500 thousand, not the present goal of 650,000 -850,000. Most years were in the 500-800 thousand range.

    Therefore, I would anticipate that ADF&G will take some action in the fisheries in the next few days. How that will look will depend on the escapement rate and showing of fish at the river mouth.

    This return is coming off a brood year that followed one that had 25 million fry in Skilak Lake. The next year only 8 million fry were estimated in the lake and they were small fish. The numbers are right for a failure but one never knows until the counting is over. If it failed it will be further evidence of the interaction of the brood years rearing in the lake.

    In any event, with fisheries restricted I would expect a major push of fish to the beach in the next few days if it is going to happen. At this point all users should wish for a 400,000 fish push so ADF&G can feel more comfortable about meeting the 650,000 goal. If it comes in the next two days restrictions may not be necessary - every decision is now on the escapement rate.

    Thought you might like an update.

  2. #2

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    Thanks for the update Nerka, i'm keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. #3
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Nerka

    I asked in an earlier thread about how the gillnet catches are apportioned to river of origin. A biologist responded with:

    From an ADF&G biologist:

    "We have an age comp model and now genetics to tell . . . how many of each are caught by day in the commercial fishery."


    Is any in-season effort being made to ascertain the exploitation rate of Kenai-origin sockeye in the harvest coming off the beaches in the Kasilof section? How does that "incidental" harvest of Kenai fish fit into the management scheme if/when restrictions are imposed on the Kenai's beach and in-river sockeye fisheries?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    Smile response to nphyscian

    There is no specific day to day inseason program that I am aware of- I know of no genetic program that is being used in-season and it is questionable whether post season data will be useful (test of classification accuracy have not been completed). However, if you look at the escapements - 180,000 for Kasilof and 73,000 for Kenai and that only recently it is pretty obvious that Kasilof made up the bulk of the early harvest.

    In addition, the Board of Fish recognized that in management of two river systems separated by 12 miles that both should be managed for goals - therefore, the set nets out to 0.5 miles, which is being used now, is to target Kasilof stocks when Kenai is weak. This fishing pattern has been used historically with success.

    If Kenai will not meet the goal then the plans say meeting the lower end of the goal for Kenai takes priority over going over the upper end of the Kasilof. Therefore, the Kasilof section set net fishery out to 0.5 miles is targeting Kasilof stocks - not all fisheries close that have an incidental harvest of other stocks. If one uses that rationale then Kodiak fisheries would have shut down when UCI fisheries were restricted for Susitna River stocks - Kodiak catches UCI fish incidental to their other targeted fisheries. However, if the first actions taken do not allow Kenai to meet the goal then a complete closure of the set net fishery may take place.

    At this point I understand that closures are being considered for those areas that target Kenai in the commercial fishery, that the PU fishery will be closed - maybe by Friday night, and bag limits reduced in the river to 1 fish. This is just rumor at this point but any announcement will probably be out by Wed. so sport fishers and PU fishers have adequate notice. That is also the pattern of past years so I do not suspect any different patttern here.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Nerka. It looks like the decision makers will sit at the roundtable tomorrow. Doesn't look good.

    The members of my party will be solemnly feasting over a ceremonial sockeye if one of us is fortunate enough to land one Friday night.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I dipped the mouth yesterday and it was slow, took nearly 3 hours for the first two fish, and then I got 9 more in the last hour. Even on a 20k count day I'll get 30-60 in about 3 hours of fishing.

    If there is a one day delay for the fish going from the mouth to the sonar, that would mean a low count on Wed, and it didn't sound like Monday was a great day either, which would mean a low count for yesterday. Typically the beach is covered with salmon heads, but they were few and far between.

    If there is a big slug of fish, they are really late. If not, sounds like they will be taking action by the end of this week.

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    It's official... Kenai goes to one red a day for sports Saturday 12:01 am July 22. Dipnetting closes and so does the Kenaitze "educational" fishery.

    The setnets in the Kenai Section are closed but the Kasilof Section gets a regular 12 hour opener tomorrow within 1/2 mile of mean high water. The inriver Kasilof Terminal fishery gets a 19 hr opener on Thur as well.

    The announcement did not say whether or not there would be a Kasilof Section opener on Monday July 24. If the Kenai does not see a major push of fish upriver this weekend, the nets may well be done after tomorrow.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    I was reading some past posts and came across this thread from 2006. It looked like the bottom was falling out of the Sockeye run. It had all the makings for a bust year. Well the fish had other ideas. it turned out to be a boom year with 1,499,692 fish being counted in the river.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Default 6 reds per day

    If I remember they opened it to 6 reds per day on Aug. 1 that year.

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    Can't count your chickens before they're hatched.

    And you certainly can't count on the majority of your Kenai sockeye coming in August.

    They made a good precautionary call to curtail all the fisheries in the 4th week of July that year.

    They made another good call to open it back up again as well.

    Interesting to see that the 2010 Kenai forecast is almost identical to 2006.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Totaly agree Doc! I was just pointing out you never know for sure whats going to happen until the fat lady signs

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default openner

    any thoughts on how things are looking for the week of the open? Is there web pages to follow to keep an eye on things for the reds and kings on the Kenai?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    any thoughts on how things are looking for the week of the open? Is there web pages to follow to keep an eye on things for the reds and kings on the Kenai?
    I really don't mean to make this sound sarcastic, so please don't take it that way, but you might as well ask what the weather is going to be like that week. ADF&G tries to make projections (see: http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/).

    For daily reports when the fishing begins check here: http://www.alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/...lerreport.html

    There are also excellent daily reports on river conditions there, too.

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