A little primer ...
Going to be lots more to come on this ... but here's some food for though while watch numbers come in and the smoke and mirrors come out from some at F&G:
Just checked with ADF&G and the harvest was over 200,000 in the terminal area. However, rumors of 8 pound fish are not true - the fish averaged 5 pounds. Also they were measured and the age taken. The estimated Kenai portion was 30,000 to 50,000.
It is not unusual for a large body of fish to leave the inlet in mass. The Kenai River has seen 300,000 to 500,000 on one tide. The Kasilof has seen this type of push in the past.
I do not think anyone expected this catch yesterday as the terminal area never was used in past years like it has been this year. What is interesting is that if they did not fish they would have taken over 100,000 fish in the river which would put them over the goal with a couple of weeks to go.
The use of the terminal area instead of the 0.5 mile set nets is a toss up at this point. The terminal area was designed to do just this - stop Kasilof while allowing Kenai fish to come through late in the season. I suspect that at the next board of fish meeting that the drift fleet will be limited to 0.75 miles instead of the 1.5 to get more Kenai to the river.
Believe me no one at ADF&G likes this terminal approach in the commercial fisheries division. They get hammered by PU and sport fisherman and even commercial fisherman. It is a reallocation between commercial users. It causes all types of social problems they get blamed for and at this point in the season they are beat.
For the record the plan to use the terminal area more this year was the direct result of pressure by the director of Sport Fish Division. From a number of ADF&G staff (both sport and commercial fisheries) he pushed for it at a preseason meeting so the set nets would not fish outside the management plans. i guess one should be careful what one asks for these days.
Black helicopters. . . ?
1) Not only are Kenai PU & sporties being screwed on this one ... so is the second run of kings on the Kasilof. BUt maybe that's the whole plan by AD&G so that no sort of management plan can be in place for Kasilof second run kings to possibly have impact on future commercial seasons ???
Bob, it is the Board of Fisheries, not ADF&G, that is responsible for this year's debacle. The BoF makes the rules, which dictate ADF&G management. If you want to after someone, and I think we all should, go for the BoF. Personally, it's my opinion that current BoF rules are the result of lobbying efforts to put more second-run kings in the Kenai at the expense of anything and everything else. More reds are pumped into the rivers while the gill net industry is restricted in its ability to fish them efficiently, leaving ADF&G no choices except bad ones to try to meet escapements.
Commercial sport fishing interests should accept the fact that in order to manage Cook Inlet fisheries for sustained yield, a percentage of kings must be harvested along with the sockeye, and stop trying to manipulate BoF into making goofy rules that accomplish nothing but this year's mess with all its rumors, accusations, and hard feelings. "Opportunity" has backfired.
That, for what it's worth, is my take. . .
A little more primer. . .
Below are three posts from another fishing forum. Note that Kenai king fishing is very good despite the ruined sockeye fishery. Also note the crowded conditions. A local B&B owner/guide told me that on a Saturday (the 15th or the 22nd past, can't remember) there were 600 boats on the lower Kenai. If that ain't hammer time, I don't know what is. Yee haw?
"Midnight tonight, it's over! Sockeye fishing on Cook Inlet's "premier" sockeye superhighway will shut down to sportfishing for reds! As will all netting in the Inlet. 100% of the remaining gillnet effort will be concentrated in-river on -----'s home turf. Thank god for those kings. 8 for 12 two days in a row. BTW Martin Tackle's Thin Twins rule! Eggs are outfishing plugs 6:1. Mission accomplished on day one with a 51" CHROME Release-A-Hawg."
"Just returned from fishing the Lower Kenai River for Kings & Sockeye. The King fishing was good. A 74 lb. buck was taken. Quite a few fish in the 45-55 lb class hooked and released. Quite a few more Jack's this year than last year. LOTS OF BOATS ON THE WATER. It looked like a naval engagement!"
"I got to enjoy it first-hand. What a crappy year for Reds. I hooked nothing but burners. Agree with the armada comment. This might be my last trip the the legendary Kenai Peninsula."