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Thread: Kenai River Anchor Dragging

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Default Kenai River Anchor Dragging

    The BOF adopted a regulation today prohibiting anchor dragging by drifting boats on the Kenai River. I have no dog in that fight, but was at the BOF meeting today for other issues and wanted to get the word out to the ODD community.

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    Default Anchor dragging

    If the power boat wakes were not so bad a guy would rarely drag anchor. I wish we had one day when there was no noise,pollution, or wakes out there. Thats all I got to say about that.

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    The proposal was mainly focused on preventing drift boats on the upper river from intentionally dragging, but lower river issues were mentioned as well. This was a habitat conservation issue that sport fish division staff opposed. Strange that they would oppose a habitat protection measure.

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    From how I understand it:

    It will prevent lazy drift boat operators from leaving their anchor out as they drift down river. The operator of the drift boat must use the oars of the boat to slow the boat, as intended, not dragging the anchor across spawning gravel in order to slow the boat. A boat can still anchor as long as the boat is not floating down river. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how it is offically written up.

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    Thumbs up No problem with it

    Im not a guide or a drift boater i have a 2 person cat. I have never used this method just for the reasons it is being outlawed. I dont mind rowing and my boat is pretty easy to hold on the river even in june when the water is running high. Also after a long winter of snacking, snacking, oh and more snacking the rowing does my "slightly" overweight body good. I dont anchor up alot either but there is that ocasionall time then i just make sure the anchor is set. especially if we are getting out of the boat. I have that fear of looking back and watching my boat float away and around the corner. Im sure Id find it sometime but having to listen to the Woman who lets me fish with her "aka the wife" cluck and well you know I just could not deal with it.
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    Default this is another example of bad process

    This proposal was brought up at the last second by I will not say and the Board delayed action until this meeting. So an UCI proposal (via RC?) gets pushed over to a meeting that has nothing to do with UCI. Not sure how many UCI fisherman were even in the room - I know KAFC was not.

    This regulation will probably not be enforced or will be thrown out with the first challenge. One cannot fish from a boat that is dragging an anchor. So you are anchored - any boat now - including powerboats- and your fishing and your anchor lets go. You are now in violation - you can reel fast to get your lines in but technically if the anchor is dragging and lines are out you are in violation. No way protection is going to write a ticket in that situation but they could. How will they know the intent of the individual.

    I think the Board over-reacted here to what appears to be something that it is not. I assume ADF&G objected because they cannot defend the habitat rationale. This appears to be a habitat justified proposal to acheive some other objective - not sure what it is but it may have to do with how drift boats are using the upper river vs. powerboat travel lanes. Just guessing.

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    Nerka, from a habitat prespective, what are your thoughts on damage done to the spawning gravel by people who drag their anchors down the river in order to slow their boats instead of rowing?

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    Wow, not so fast there Nerka. This was brought up in the committeee process at the UCI BOF meeting and then when the Board Members went to vote on it the language was not clear. After much debate it was suggested by Bonnie Williams that it be tabled until th State BOF meeting in order to make sure the language was correct. It was the BOF members idea to do this not anyone elses.
    The BOF members supported it 7 - 0 when it was passed so... I have been in discussions with those that put this idea foward and there is no hidden agenda. Period. It is becoming more and more of a problem on the river. Any river. What happens is that more and more folks are finding that it is easier to simply drop there anchor, put the oars out to catch the current, and "backtroll on down the river" while fishing out their drift boat. See, the current catches the oars and thus the anchor will no longer hold which allows them to slowly go down thru the holes. I own a drift boat. I own a powerboat. This is not a issue of one versus the other. It is a concern over a growing problem that needs to be taken care of before it gets totally out of hand. Which by the way is exactly what the BOF did by supporting it. I can not even begin to guess why some in the Department did not support this proposal. Law felt like it was defendable so...

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblue View Post
    Wow, not so fast there Nerka. This was brought up in the committeee process at the UCI BOF meeting and then when the Board Members went to vote on it the language was not clear. After much debate it was suggested by Bonnie Williams that it be tabled until th State BOF meeting in order to make sure the language was correct. It was the BOF members idea to do this not anyone elses.
    The BOF members supported it 7 - 0 when it was passed so... I have been in discussions with those that put this idea foward and there is no hidden agenda. Period. It is becoming more and more of a problem on the river. Any river. What happens is that more and more folks are finding that it is easier to simply drop there anchor, put the oars out to catch the current, and "backtroll on down the river" while fishing out their drift boat. See, the current catches the oars and thus the anchor will no longer hold which allows them to slowly go down thru the holes. I own a drift boat. I own a powerboat. This is not a issue of one versus the other. It is a concern over a growing problem that needs to be taken care of before it gets totally out of hand. Which by the way is exactly what the BOF did by supporting it. I can not even begin to guess why some in the Department did not support this proposal. Law felt like it was defendable so...
    BINGO!

    This is a good thing, folks!

    It's pointless to argue unless you support willful disruption of spawning gravel.

    Bravo to those who pushed for the reg and the BOF members who unanimously supported it.
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    Default not so fast doc

    Iceblue, it came out of the committee but so do other items. The Board should have dealt with it at the meeting but so be it.

    However, you point out it had to do with how fast one moves through a hole. That is a social issue and therefore can be a justifiable reason for passing it. ADF&G took exception to the habitat part of it from what I hear. You did clear up the intent of the regualtion in your comment and as I said it probably had little to do with conservation.

    Doc, one has to be careful about making blanket regulations and using habitat as a reason. There are a number of questions that should be asked if it is indeed a habitat issue. One would be - does in take place in known spawning areas - prime or marginal areas - Second - are eggs of various species in the gravel all year long so it needs to be a year round regulation Third - is it enforceable - Fourth - is there any indication that the activity is actually doing or harming salmon production ( one does not need a study here but a good examination of the level of impact).

    I am not saying it is a bad regulation - I just find it interesting that the BOF and others used habitat to pass this when other pressing habitat issues on the Kenai are ignored - the PU fishery is a prime example. Significant and real damage is taking place with that fishery and the BOF did not give it two cents worth of discussion.

    ADF&G did not even give a habitat report at the UCI Board of Fish meeting. Yet there was plently of information to discuss. Maybe one of the members of this thread who is an ADF&G sport fish employee can explain the objection to the drift/anchor issue. I just heard second hand from a local sport fish biologist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Iceblue, it came out of the committee but so do other items. The Board should have dealt with it at the meeting but so be it.

    However, you point out it had to do with how fast one moves through a hole. That is a social issue and therefore can be a justifiable reason for passing it. ADF&G took exception to the habitat part of it from what I hear. You did clear up the intent of the regualtion in your comment and as I said it probably had little to do with conservation.

    Doc, one has to be careful about making blanket regulations and using habitat as a reason. There are a number of questions that should be asked if it is indeed a habitat issue. One would be - does in take place in known spawning areas - prime or marginal areas - Second - are eggs of various species in the gravel all year long so it needs to be a year round regulation Third - is it enforceable - Fourth - is there any indication that the activity is actually doing or harming salmon production ( one does not need a study here but a good examination of the level of impact).

    I am not saying it is a bad regulation - I just find it interesting that the BOF and others used habitat to pass this when other pressing habitat issues on the Kenai are ignored - the PU fishery is a prime example. Significant and real damage is taking place with that fishery and the BOF did not give it two cents worth of discussion.

    ADF&G did not even give a habitat report at the UCI Board of Fish meeting. Yet there was plently of information to discuss. Maybe one of the members of this thread who is an ADF&G sport fish employee can explain the objection to the drift/anchor issue. I just heard second hand from a local sport fish biologist.

    Wow Nerka so much ..........so little time. That is all I can say for now. I will respond when I have more time.

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    I have to agree with Nerka. The process left much to be desired. If there was a problem with the language, then the Board should've addressed it, voted against the proposal, or at best approved it as amended. That's what the UCI BOF meeting is for, to iron those issues out. If the Board tabled all the proposals they had questions on, then worked them out with the sponsor and amongst themselves, and then brought them back up at the State Board meeting, we would have no need for public comment. Certainly these types of actions by the BOF, along with the large number of RC's being submitted, needs to be addressed. They are becoming all too common, and used as a way of practice rather than for the special circumstances they were intended for.

    In my experience drifting, the spawning areas are too shallow and slow to drag anchor. It's the faster current where any such dragging (which I don't believe is enough to justify a regulation) is taking place. Next thing we'll see is a regulation for touching bottom with your oars. Before any such proposal gets put into regulation, the magnitude of the problem should be established, and it should be shown that the dragging is effecting the spawning grounds. I also think there is more going on here than just dragging anchors.

    More importantly we should be regulating the anchoring done by powerboats, particularly in the post King season during Coho season. Everytime one of those large boats set anchor they drag until it hangs. And when they pull anchor there is also dragging. Many of the Coho powerboat fisherman fish right on top of spawning beds. This is true even on the lower River. Even when they're backtrolling for Kings they are causing turbidity and pushing fish off their natural routes and beds.

    I won't even get into the enforcement and social proplems.

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    All rivers is the key word here guys. As in all rivers of the State of Alaska.

    State wide BOF meeting was were it ended up being addressed and ultimately farther discussed and voted on by BOF members.

    The BOF process is the same for everyone. If one has a problem with process then they are ways to change that. But to continue to criticize others for following procedure is utterly ridiculous.

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    Default all rivers clarification

    Iceblue - are you saying this was passed for all rivers in the State of Alaska or just the Kenai as the first post on this thread suggest.

    Also, relative to process it has changed significantly. When the Board did not have committees and took testimony the number of RC's was down and usually limited to information - not new proposals. Today, the public knows that if they have something they do not want to go through the AC process or public comment process they wait until the Board meeting and submit it as a new proposal under an RC.

    In the past people may have submitted changes to an existing proposal via RC but not to the extent it has evolved - this really all started after the 1999 meeting which was the first year of the committees in UCI>

    I think people should know this so they can try to make changes and get things back on track so everyone knows the proposals going into the meeting, has all the reports well in advance, and has time to comment so everyone can see the comments. So far the RC's have stifled that process. Just an observation after attending a few Board of Fish meetings.

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    First, let me rephrase my earlier post. I was in a hurry and did not think thru what I was saying. No, I do not think that the anchor dragging proposal is for all rivers. I believe that it is just for the Kenai River. Sorry.

    BOF meets for every area individually every three years but will still have the annual statewide meeting.Things that needed more work with the language like this one did will end up there as well as a mixed bag of other stuff.

    The RC system is simply part of the process. People should remember that when a proposal is submitted that it is opening the door for that particular subject to go in any number of different directions.

    Perfect example was the third coho proposal put in at this past UCI BOF meeting. When this proposal was submitted it asked to allow for a third coho to be retained from the Kenai River. During committee process the Department said that there were not enough coho to allow for more harvest in the inriver fishery. Someone in the committee replied that looking at the numbers provided by the department that they felt that August coho were being harvest by a 3 to 1 number versus coho after August. So, to make a long story short someone RC'd in to change the language on this proposal to say starting September 1 that three coho would be allowed to be retained as part of the daily bag limit. The BOF members added this amended language via RC during deliberations and that is what passed. Remeber that to start with there were no proposals asking for a third silver starting September 1. All of the proposals on this subject were asking to start the season with three coho.

    Nothing wrong with this (RC). It is standard procedure. If it was not for the RC process we would have twice or three times as many proposals submitted as we do now for Cook Inlet. One would have to submit one for every possible change to the original proposal as possible. Like the above mentioned coho proposal. One would have to submit one for August, September, October, above Skilak, below Skilak, both areas, and so on to make sure that they covered whatever direction the BOF might go in. This time the BOF meeting lasted for like 11 or 12 days. If you did not allow RC's and we had the added number of proposals because of this the meeting would go on for who knows how much longer.

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    There are more power boat users dragging anchor and fishing off there anchor come August first then any drift boater on the river. Its a big problem, power boats are leaving there anchor tied to a buoy in the middle of the river to chase a fish down after its hooked. I would like to know the damage done to the spawing beds by people dragging their anchor in power boats with ten feet or more of chain hanging off it. Letís look at the drift boat anchor virus a power boat anchor in size and the way they dig in? How much does a power boat anchor drag along the bottom of the river before it sets and stops the boat to fish. Talk about hole hogging when its time to move. I have pulled on both anchors, out of power boats and drift boat, the power boat anchor with the heavy chain will skip hard along the bottem before it brakes free and comes to the surface.
    .
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    Default common sense practices go a long way

    Have you ever stood on the shore and felt the vibration on your feet of a driftboat coming down river dragging anchor? That anchor might be smaller and lighter, but there is a big difference between a power boats heavy anchor dredging for a few feet, and a driftboat anchor dredging mile after mile. Responsible boaters should have an anchor capable of stopping their boat on a dime. They should also realize the best way to pull it is to slowly pull or motor up to it and then lift it straight up into the boat. I think the BOF got this one right. Now if I just understood why they didn't see the need to protect the 5/0 females! Maybe when we succeed at wiping out the mainstem spawners we can all drag anchor whereever we like!!

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    Are you sure that was not any earth quake that happened when the drift boat came by. I hardly stand on the bank anymore and since very few drift boaters drag anchor anyway i really havenít noticed, but will try that this year to see if youíre right. There is no way anyone can dredge there anchor for miles and miles without losing it . There are called drift boats not anchor dragging boats, some people may think that you are dragging anchor when all you are really doing is slipping more anchor line out. Unless you can fill them go by, then they are definitely dragging, I just donít see that much of a problem. Am I being to naÔve here. Have you ever seen a boat with there anchor out going down river in there mile dredge with a fish on? Thatís why you donít see that much of it. It doesnít catch fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotfish
    there is a big difference between a power boats heavy anchor dredging for a few feet, and a driftboat anchor dredging mile after mile.
    Lets be honest here. A powerboat's anchor is much bigger and heavier. It has chain. It plows the surface of the substrate until it wedges itself deep into the bottom. It has to do that to hold the much bigger/heavier boat. When it is lifted, it completely up-turns the bottom, leaving a gaping hole. "Dredging" is a good word. Now, on the other hand drift-boat anchors are generally weight anchors that do not "dredge" into the bottom. If they did, then the drift boats would stay in one place. To say drift boats are "dredging" anchors "mile after mile" is nothing more than a self-satisfiying exaggeration.

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    Default this gets even mor weird.

    I just talked to ADF&G and the regulation language is full of loopholes. Words like substantially fixed or something to that effect is in the regulation. No one at protection or ADF&G knows what that means.

    Second, the way the regulation reads if a guide boat or private boat slips it anchor and starts to drag then all the people fishing get cited - not the boat operator because he may not be fishing. So the guide would not get cited his clients would get cited if their lines are in the water. So now we have numerous violation potential for a single boat event.

    Sounds like fun and games to me. I also heard ADF&G tried to get the BOF fish to not pass this or reconsider and they voted 7-0 in favor. So the courts will decide if this is really good law- the first group that gets cited will be a test case.

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