32,000 Crossed yesterday
32,000 fish crossed the counter yesterday. What do you gents think will happen now? Limit back to 3? Re open dip netting?
Not yet. . .
My guess is nothing will change — the run is too far below minimum escapement (144k in the river to date). They still need a half-million fish. . .
I agree with Marcus. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see sportfishing for sockeye totally shut down (which is truly a shocker that it was left open to begin with). The fact that the Kenai will probably not make minimum escapement, we need to be extra vigilant in reporting incidences of abuse such as folks catching one fish, running in changing clothes and going back to fishing... The future of this run is at stake! This could have huge economic impacts to all user groups including the area retail outlets, service providers, and commercial fisheries. (no allocative arguments here... shut them all down in my opinion)
My son works (really worked) on a commercial boat this year that didn't even make gas money for the days that they were allowed out! We are setting ourselves up for another run like this in another 4 years... My thoughs are to make sure that every single sockeye that gets into the river makes it to the spawning beds this year.
I say shut the entire river down. It's not like there ain't any other rivers/creeks to catch reds.
Maybe the answer to the "low escapement problem", on top of what has already been done, would be to totally close the river to all sportfishing. That way the reds would be able to reach their spawning grounds totally unrestricted and unmolested. Anyone caught on the river with a fishing rod would be ticketed and booted off the river, no exceptions. I say this sarcastically. Alaskanfishguides, do you honestly believe that sport fisherman alone have that great of an impact on the red run, and if so, why would you want to be a contributing factor to the demise of this run, assuming your a guide on the Kenai. Maybe the correct response would be to continue to do what is being done and wait a few days to see which direction this run is headed. The numbers have been trending up fast over the last couple of days, and if I'm not mistaken, just about all the runs thus far in the Cook inlet have been a little late this year.
wait and see is the best policy at this point
Just some information for the discussion. The highest counts every at the sonar site are in the range of 150,000. A day over 100,000 is great. So with 500,000 fish to go ADF&G will want to see probably 500,000 committed to the river before they even begin to think about reopening fisheries. So at this point I think we are a minimum 3-5 days from any significant action on ADF&G part - in fact they may close more fisheries because of the uncertainity of what this run is doing.
I was just down at the river mouth and this high tide looks bleak but I was not there at the optimum time for viewing.
Thanks for your comments and questions.
My feeling is if the run is at stake, shut it down. If the king run is at stake, shut it down! I am not looking at a shotgun approach here, the methods of fishing for kings and coho do not typically catch sockeye. Nevertheless, I am concerned about the king run this year also. It seems that the average size of the kings this year has been greatly reduced with a huge influx of 1 and 2 ocean jacks (being counted by the sonar, by the way). I have experienced catch and release fishing for kings on the kenai. It was indeed tough, but if that is what it takes to preserve the future, I'm all for it. Likewise, considering an estimated 7-10% C&R mortality (according to ADF&G), if that 7-10% will make the difference for the escapement, shut it down!!! I do believe that the sport fishing has an impact on the run. Indeed, Mr. George Pappas told me yesterday that there is an estimated 30% exploitation rate on the river for kings. On a return that is not expected to make the minimum escapement, that 30% is a huge difference.
So, as a guide on the Kenai, if they shut fishing down in order to protect the future, there will be significant financial impact to many elements of the economy for a period. Looking down the road, however, doing whatever is possible to assure the minimum/optimum escapement goal, we are securing the future of the fishery.
Managing this fishery is like walking on a tightrope...I hold those who make the difficult decisions in very high regard. The goal is to protect the minimum escapement goal and make allocative decisions for the surplus. If there isn't a surplus, stop all forms of harvest of at least that particular species. If there is a problem with incidental catching, say from king fishing, then shut that down as well.
Are there fish being caught ?
Does anyone know if the on going terminal fishery for the commercial boats at the mouth of the Kasilof is effecting the Kenai River Reds and Kings ? Looked like there was 50 commercial boats at the mouth of the Kasilof the other day. It seems to have pretty well shut down the King fishing in the Kasilof and I was wondering how many of those salmon would have ended up in the Kenai.
I can't say for certain, but on Saturday, July 22, a client caught a jack king with net marks on it's nose... The inlet and beach fishing has been closed for over a week??? It is possible, I suppose that the ADF&G test net fisheries caught the fish and released it, however the fish was caught below the in-river test net. I suspect that there is a certain amount of Kenai fish interception happening on the Kasilof fishery.
Kenai king harvest. . .
Historically, the Cook Inlet commercial gill-net fishery harvests about 25% of second-run Kenai kings before the fish get to the Kenai River commercial sport fishery where guides and clients harvest another 25%. Seventy-five percent of second-run kings enter the Kenai River. One-hundred percent of first-run Kenai kings enter the Kenai River.
Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides
Or the fish mentioned above could have been a Kasilof jack that had strayed to the Kenai. Who knows? Who cares?
I also think they should cut their losses and shut down the entire fishery. Let whatever reds are out there come into the river so they can spawn and replenish the species. There's always silvers to catch.
Ain't gonna happen. . .
. . .ain't gonna happen. . . way too much politics and money involved in the Kenai king commercial sport fishery to shut down the entire fishery. . .
Originally Posted by AkHunter45
I wasn't talking about the King fishery, i was referring to the sport fish red fishery.
Well, at midnight (officially 12:01 am, Tues. July 25) tonight the sport sockeye fishery on the Kenai R. closes. Any sockeye caught after this time must be immediately released.
New Release from ADFG:
ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
McKie Campbell, Commissioner
DIVISION OF COMMERCIAL FISHERIES
Denby Lloyd, Director
DIVISION OF SPORT FISH
Kelly Hepler, Director
Contact: Jeff Regnart, Barry Stratton
Anchorage (907) 267-2104/2219
July 23, 2006
For Immediate Release
FISHING CLOSURES TO PROTECT KENAI RIVER LATE-RUN
The Department remains concerned about meeting escapement goals for late-run Kenai River sockeye salmon. Accordingly, throughout upper Cook Inlet, the Department is taking additional efforts to eliminate the harvest of Kenai River sockeye salmon.
Commercial fishermen who harvest Kenai River sockeye salmon will not be allowed to fish during Monday’s regularly-scheduled period. Except for the Kasilof River Special Harvest Area, all areas in the Kenai, Kasilof, and East Forelands Sections will be closed to drift and set gillnetting on Monday, July 24. The Northern District set gillnet fishery remains closed to conserve Susitna River sockeye salmon.
In addition, beginning Tuesday, July 25, at 12:01 a.m., sport anglers may not retain or possess sockeye salmon in the entire Kenai River drainage, except for the Russian River / Kenai River fly-fishing-only area. Anglers must release immediately any sockeye salmon caught while fishing for other species. Personal Use and educational fisheries that harvest Kenai River sockeye salmon will remain closed.
The Kenai River Late Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan directs the Department to achieve an in-river sonar estimate of 650,000 to 850,000 Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon, as well as an Optimal Escapement Goal of 500,000 – 1,000,000 spawning sockeye salmon. Through Saturday, July 22, the number of late-run sockeye estimated to have passed the sonar is about 144,000 fish. Without the fishery closures the Department has put in
place, present escapement rates, coupled with the run strength assessment, indicate we do not have sufficient numbers of sockeye salmon reaching the Kenai River to provide for the spawning escapement.
The Department will continue to monitor the run with all tools available in upper Cook Inlet, including, but not limited to, sonar projects, test fishing, and harvest monitoring. Information from these projects helps guide the Department’s management actions on Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon. In general, sockeye salmon stocks throughout Alaska have been returning later
than normal and the Department hopes that the Kenai River sockeye salmon run is also late, rather than as weak as it currently looks. If the run strength unexpectedly and significantly increases, management options may include the lifting of certain restrictions in both commercial and sport fisheries.
For more information, contact: Jeff Regnart or Barry Stratton in the Anchorage office of ADF&G: (907) 267-2104/2219.