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Thread: Kenai River bait and some guides objection

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    Default Kenai River bait and some guides objection

    I talked to the local sport fish biologist on Friday and was dismayed to hear from him that the allowance of bail starting Sunday was causing him trouble. It appears that he had received a number of phone calls and some written objections to going to bait on Sunday. Not just a few crank calls but from a number of guides that are well known in the community.

    I thought they must feel the run is not strong enough. What he said just floored me. He said no it was becasue they wanted bait on Tuesday so their clients would have the first bait day.

    So instead of Sunday went private anglers have a shot at the fish and of course guides fishing with friends some in the guide community feel that should not happen. Of course ADF&G ignored these complaints and bait is allowed this Sunday but is speaks volumes to the issues on the river.

    Sunday is one day out of seven so some years the decision will be made to go on Sunday - why would guides object to this in such a strong response? Also, is this the Sunday the vets fish. Would it not be better to have the vets fish on a bait day.

    I sometimes think that I would like the salmon runs to the Kenai to just fail and fail for a number of years. Maybe some would learn how good we have it here.

    I would love to hear from the guides on this one and if KPGA or KRSA were part of the objection. I did not ask since I was just floored anyone would object.

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    Nerka,
    I wouldn't use the words "strong response" as you did. I have heard a few grumblings but not "strong" as you put it. I have heard that some guides were disappointed the decision seems to be allocative in nature because the guided angler wouldn't be allowed first day of bait while the non-guided angler did. I have also heard guys say that the run may have not as stong as the counter is saying as the catch has been dismal at best.
    Personally, I don't care, heck, with the numbers they had by mid-week and the new standard set by the BOF they should have gone to bait Friday, if not Saturday for sure.

    Why do we need 36hrs notice to liberalize the fishery? I don't know anywhere where it says that the department has to give notice.

  3. #3

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    Nerka-

    As you already know, the Kenai is a me, me, me, and what it can do for me, river. It is a sad situation.

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    Default that's not the whole story

    I am sure that some guides objected to the bait opening on Sunday for selfish reasons. I do not know who they are, and if they indeed did object on the basis that private boats would get an unfair advantage, that is pretty sorry in my opinion. I am a guide, and I know of at least three guides who called to voice concern, but not for that reason. They called to say that they felt it might be a premature decision that might not be in the best interest of the fish. There are some fish in the river, and those who put their time in have been catching a few. The river is by no means loaded with fish, and the concern is that when bait opens the river traffic will increase dramatically, and there will be a much higher success rate. If the run is strong enough to take the added pressure, great! If the chrystal ball is read wrong, and the run doesn't develope as projected, then this decision will have been a mistake. I personally like the idea of erring on the side of caution. It has nothing to do with wanting more for me me me.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotfish? View Post
    it might be a premature decision that might not be in the best interest of the fish. There are some fish in the river, and those who put their time in have been catching a few. The river is by no means loaded with fish, and the concern is that when bait opens the river traffic will increase dramatically, and there will be a much higher success rate. If the run is strong enough to take the added pressure, great! If the chrystal ball is read wrong, and the run doesn't develope as projected, then this decision will have been a mistake. I personally like the idea of erring on the side of caution. It has nothing to do with wanting more for me me me.
    What you said makes sense. Considering the guides are concerned increased fishing pressure and as erring on the side of caution is likely considered to be a good management practice; maybe it would be a good idea to adopt some sort of ANNUAL management strategy that precluded any guiding until it's clear escapement goals are going to be met?


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    Default It's not us versus them

    Avalanche, I spent 26 years as a private angler on the Kenai River. My concern would be the same whether I am a guide or not. Reducing pressure on the river and the fish falls upon us all. The no bait restriction works quite well at reducing both the guides and the private anglers on the river. Are you saying that it would be fair for those who live here and can afford a boat to have access to the fish before anyone else? So far this year my clients have been about 50 per cent Alaskan residents. So far, almost all of them have marveled at how uncrowded the river was. Most days there are about 10 to 20 boats working the lower river from Porters downstream to the Crossover. That will change tomorrow. Some days there are more guides than privates, some days more privates than guides. It makes me wonder where all those who keep complaining about the crowds are. I will see if I can get the boat and angler counts from the creel survey team on the river and we can see what conclusions this information leads to. That is unless you are only interested in stirring the pot and not interested in an equitable solution to the issues.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotfish? View Post
    I will see if I can get the boat and angler counts from the creel survey team on the river and we can see what conclusions this information leads to.
    OK....how many more fish would be up river by now if guides were not taking any yet might be important to know. But are you saying that the 'information' might somehow change the concept that maybe it would be a good idea to adopt some sort of ANNUAL management strategy that precluded any guiding until it's clear escapement goals are going to be met?

    Your early post had to do with guides concerns with escapement and pressure; now when there is talk about limiting guides it changes to justifying the fish guides are taking out of the initial run by the idea that a % of the clients are residents.

    That appears inconsistent to me with your original concerns for the fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by gotfish? View Post
    That is unless you are only interested in stirring the pot and not interested in an equitable solution to the issues.
    The thing I'm interested in is getting the 'pot' right; not double speak from those who have a commercial interest in a public resource.

    I can and will respect your 'experience'; but not your special interests in a public resource. Equitable interest yes; special interest, no.

    The department should be left to manage the resource without interference from commercial interest.


  8. #8

    Default For the record

    For the record: I oppose this bait EO for the same reason that I oppose the increased slot limit. I don't think the early run is anything close to where it could be. This is not the best time to liberalize the ER regs in my opinion. We, sport fishers, have just about wiped this run out once with no one else to blame but ourselves. We are finally again seeing some stability, however it is nowhere close to where it was.

    On the other hand, for the record, since they did allow bait, I support the bait opener on Sunday (a no-guide day). I don't know if this was the motivation or not, but I think it was a good decision to give the private angler a shot with bait before the guides.

    I can see a lot of reasons that this was a non-allocative decision... June 1 = new month, run projections according to the sonar counts looks good (however questionable; although without the sockeye interference I think more trustworthy; there are a lot of reasons that the catch rate could be off besides low numbers of fish).

    So, in my opinion, early bait is not a good decision; opening it on a non-guide day is not a bad decision.

    Sidenote: Avalanche, I am sorry for your bitterness against guides. Please know that not everyone with a DNR sticker on the side of his/her boat fits your guide stereotype.

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    F&G is doing their job by opening it up to bait. It would be irresponsible not to go to bait under the current managment plan. Look at the numbers (escapements, catch rate with and without bait, effort....) and combined with the escapment goals set by F&G and the BOF along with the managment plan of when to go to bait, it was their duty to go to bait. I drove up and down the river this morning from 7am to 8am, believe me, the catch (water is off color) is way down.
    We can have "feelings" all we want but F&G is managing according to the management plan they supported.
    I will go on record saying that even with this early bait opener the run will still be over the top end when all is said an done.

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    Default thanks for the reply

    I was hoping some guides would voice support for the e.o relative to the day. I also appreciated the concern about the health of the resource. With early run chinook I tend to be very conservative because of the distribution issue with spawners and additional harvest in July in the mainstem.

    However, what this points out to me is how some guides can make it appear that all guides are selfish. Those who complain that this is an allocation decision are not representing their industry very well. In fact, Sunday is the vet day and it appears they would keep vets from fishing with bait. That is not good thinking on the part of those guides.

    I have also been concerned about how to really take the pulse of the guide community on issues. There are lots of friends of mine that are guides and they tend to be very reasonable and hard working people. In contrast, there are those who express in public a complete contempt for others.

    Recently at the KRSMA recreational committee meeting it is reported that Ron Rainy, who is active in KRSA, made a statement that there are no problems on the Kenai River except the guides and public need more salmon. This just shocked everyone and the discussion went further with a personal attack on one member of the group who disagreed. How can guides who want a reasonable discussion work in that environment - even though Ron is not a guide per se he would tend to push those guides who speak against his approach away from the table.

    I just see no way to resolve the culture of conflict in UCI. Anyone with an idea speak up. It would be good to find a new forum for discussions that keep a focus on issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    OK....how many more fish would be up river by now if guides were not taking any yet might be important to know. But are you saying that the 'information' might somehow change the concept that maybe it would be a good idea to adopt some sort of ANNUAL management strategy that precluded any guiding until it's clear escapement goals are going to be met?
    It's pretty clearcut that the BEG is in the bag for this run....

    .... with or without guides on the water

    .... with or without bait

    In fact you could double the guided effort and double the exploitation, and escapement would still fall within the BEG prescribed by the management plan.


    The escapement bar has been set so low that getting an early bait opener is virtually guaranteed.... at least based on historic performance of the early run.

    The "new and improved" BEG has created quite a management dilemma for the Soldotna office.... they need to find a way to kill a few thousand more fish every summer. That's what the new bait threshold and the unlimited annual bag on jacks is supposed to help accomplish.... but Ill' bet it'll be nowhere near enough. The average run is 16.4K. The midpoint BEG is 7.2K. On average, that means a harvestable surplus of 9.2K. That would support an exploitation rate of 56% in the fishery. Average exploitation on the early run is closer to 27% over the past 5 seasons.

    Since the advent of the new BEG in 2005, the average escapement has been 12.4K or about 38% higher than the upper limit of BEG. The river has technically been "overescaped" two out of the three seasons that the newest BEG has been in place. (Well, at least on paper.)

    On average, this means ADFG needs to craft a strategy for the sport fleet to kill about twice as many fish if they are to meet their stated management objectives for the early run.
    "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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    Default more fish equals more effort equals more problems

    To me, sport fishing is an activity that allows me the opportunity to be in an environment I enjoy with a reasonable chance to catch fish. The Kenai River has always provided me with this. Strong runs, weak runs, average runs........ I have always been satisfied with a reasonable chance to catch fish, and I have almost always enjoyed the environment. Some July's, when the chance to catch a fish is the greatest, the environment is the poorest because of the crowds and the less than exemplary behavior from users in all categories. The Kenai River is many different things to many different people. It's not just a sport fishing river. It's also a subsistence river, a personal use river, an incubator for the commercial fishery in upper cook inlet and an economic golden goose for the economy of the central peninsula. I have said this before : The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and specifically the Soldotna branch have done an outstanding job managing this river. The scientific and biological data they have collected and used to influence regulation are priceless. This data was collected without regard for financial considerations or allocative interests from the different groups. Unfortunately they have little control over the lobbying by special interests from both the commercial and sport and subsistence/personal use sectors that seek to slant this data to seek more allocation in their favor, usually for financial gain. To me, more fish in the river isn't the answer. Regulations that make the harvest rate higher, like bait, invariabally leads to increased use of the river. It's this increased use that has led to a lot of the problems we have today. I wish I had an easy and smart answer to solve the problem. I do not. But I do know that more fish in the river, coupled with regulations that make harvest quicker and easier leads to more effort which in turn makes the river less enjoyable for users in almost every category.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    Please know that not everyone with a DNR sticker on the side of his/her boat fits your guide stereotype.
    I do know that; however the non-sterotype guides are indistinguishable and either don't or can not change the "industries" ceaseless campaign to allocate the resource and the opportunities to themselves.


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    As of the most recent sonar estimate, the run is tracking toward an in-river return of 16.7K.

    With a run-size of that magnitude, the potential harvest that would still meet the escapement goal is 7.7K to 11.4K dead kings. Imagine that ... the number of dead kings available for harvest is actually greater than the entire BEG!

    For the past 5 years, the paper harvest of ER kings has averaged only 4.3K. This year's run could easily support twice that level of harvest and still fall well above the mid-pt of BEG.

    Of those past 5 yrs, two (2003 and 2004) were prosecuted under the old BEG of 7.2K to 14.4K. Neither of those seasons was liberalized to bait and exploitation was about 24.6%.

    The past three yrs have been managed with the new OEG of 5.3K to 9K (the official BEG is actually 4K to 9K). With a management plan based on exceeding the upper end of BEG to get bait, each of those seasons was liberalized by mid-June (6-18 in 2005, 6-10 in 2006, and 6-12 in 2007), resulting in an average exploitation of about 28%.

    As you can see, the bait openers based on exceeding an escapement of 9K did not increase exploitation by very much... 24.6% to 28%. Relatively speaking, that's only 14% greater exploitation when bait is allowed during the MEAT of the run.

    So for all of you who are worried about ADFG not responsibly managing this run when they open up bait early, the take home message is this.....

    The problem is NOT the bait opener. The problem is the goal. Under present-day constraints, the fleet simply cannot kill enough fish to harvest this thing down to BEG..... with or without bait!

    Things that make you go.... HMMMMM!
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    Default Really....

    Nerka,
    One point.... You feel that guide should be resonable, yet commercial fisherman should not... Did you happen to read the letter to the Sarah Palin concerning the BOF from the UCIA?

    I think the sport fishermen don't get what the want because they are diplomatic and don't you threatening measure as commercial fishermen do....


    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I was hoping some guides would voice support for the e.o relative to the day. I also appreciated the concern about the health of the resource. With early run chinook I tend to be very conservative because of the distribution issue with spawners and additional harvest in July in the mainstem.

    However, what this points out to me is how some guides can make it appear that all guides are selfish. Those who complain that this is an allocation decision are not representing their industry very well. In fact, Sunday is the vet day and it appears they would keep vets from fishing with bait. That is not good thinking on the part of those guides.

    I have also been concerned about how to really take the pulse of the guide community on issues. There are lots of friends of mine that are guides and they tend to be very reasonable and hard working people. In contrast, there are those who express in public a complete contempt for others.

    Recently at the KRSMA recreational committee meeting it is reported that Ron Rainy, who is active in KRSA, made a statement that there are no problems on the Kenai River except the guides and public need more salmon. This just shocked everyone and the discussion went further with a personal attack on one member of the group who disagreed. How can guides who want a reasonable discussion work in that environment - even though Ron is not a guide per se he would tend to push those guides who speak against his approach away from the table.

    I just see no way to resolve the culture of conflict in UCI. Anyone with an idea speak up. It would be good to find a new forum for discussions that keep a focus on issues.

  16. #16
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    Default The problem is not quanitity, but quality...

    Much of the discussion about OEG and BEG are silly really.... In ADFG management all kings 28" or greater are equal.... Well from a biological stand point the quality of the returning age classes are not even examined on a scale to determine what % of any given run's was by brood year...

    The current management number are from sonar test net and creel scale analysis...... Sample sizes are way to small to represent return sizes w/ high confidence interval. Additionally, samples are collected by very bias means, sport fish creel and in river gill net....

    The real issues w/ the early run on the Kenai are lack of basic information on run composition of age and proportion represented by tributary.


    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    As of the most recent sonar estimate, the run is tracking toward an in-river return of 16.7K.

    With a run-size of that magnitude, the potential harvest that would still meet the escapement goal is 7.7K to 11.4K dead kings. Imagine that ... the number of dead kings available for harvest is actually greater than the entire BEG!

    For the past 5 years, the paper harvest of ER kings has averaged only 4.3K. This year's run could easily support twice that level of harvest and still fall well above the mid-pt of BEG.

    Of those past 5 yrs, two (2003 and 2004) were prosecuted under the old BEG of 7.2K to 14.4K. Neither of those seasons was liberalized to bait and exploitation was about 24.6%.

    The past three yrs have been managed with the new OEG of 5.3K to 9K (the official BEG is actually 4K to 9K). With a management plan based on exceeding the upper end of BEG to get bait, each of those seasons was liberalized by mid-June (6-18 in 2005, 6-10 in 2006, and 6-12 in 2007), resulting in an average exploitation of about 28%.

    As you can see, the bait openers based on exceeding an escapement of 9K did not increase exploitation by very much... 24.6% to 28%. Relatively speaking, that's only 14% greater exploitation when bait is allowed during the MEAT of the run.

    So for all of you who are worried about ADFG not responsibly managing this run when they open up bait early, the take home message is this.....

    The problem is NOT the bait opener. The problem is the goal. Under present-day constraints, the fleet simply cannot kill enough fish to harvest this thing down to BEG..... with or without bait!

    Things that make you go.... HMMMMM!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    Nerka,
    One point.... You feel that guide should be resonable, yet commercial fisherman should not... Did you happen to read the letter to the Sarah Palin concerning the BOF from the UCIA?

    I think the sport fishermen don't get what the want because they are diplomatic and don't you threatening measure as commercial fishermen do....

    You know you should really read what you post. This post makes no sense and points out your total lack of understanding of the issues or my positions.

    Please provide one source of documentation where I said commercial fisherman should not be reasonable. Also what does "don't you threatening measure as commercial fisherman do" mean. It is not even a understandable sentence.

    I think you prove my point about some guides....

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    TYNMON says "quality" is the problem, yet he continues to kill those same "quality" fish for profit. He says "quality" is the problem, yet encourages everyone though advertising to come to the Kenai River and fish for its "large" King salmon.

    http://www.tynmoncharters.com/JakesHog.html

    http://www.tynmoncharters.com/KingKatcherLG.html

    TYNMON, maybe "quality" isn't the problem. But rather commercial guides like yourself effeciently targeting, exploiting, and killing, those quality fish for profit.

    TYNMON, I don't see you working with your organizations or associations to help provide ADF&G more information on run composition and age proportionality by tributary. With all this supposed biological experience you boast about having, I would think, rather than just criticize, you could have your commercial guide fleet peers set up a program to provide a more confident, non-bias means for sampling and data collection to ADF&G, since you feel their current methods are inadequate. I would think you and your group are in a perfect position to do that.

    I understand a group of guides did complain about opening up bait to private anglers on Sunday. That is sad, yet representative of the selfishness by some commercial guides...a selfishness that pours its way onto the River.

    I have two problems with the whole thing....First, the commercial guide mentality, that guides should be treated the same or compared to private anglers, is wrong. They are not the same and should not be treated the same, whether it's bait or anything else. Difference?...Guides consume the public resource for profit, efficiently, and in mass. Secondly, Sunday, June 1 is no longer a private angler day. It is a guide day, as this year over 30 guides fished it with over 100 charitable clients. So the bait opener wasn't just for private anglers, but guides.

    Until the guide organizations and associations oust this selfish mentality from within, they will continue to black-mark their image, and seal their own fate.

  19. #19
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    Grampy,
    I did work with fish and game last year in their genetic sampling for ER fish. We would call the research boat over and have them take genetic information so they can start a data base with the information.

    I make money taking fishermen fishing, those without boat or means to access the resource that belongs as much to them as it does anyone else. I don't sell the resource, I sell access to the resource and a chance at a fish of a lifetime or put some fish in the freezer, depending on their desire. Same desires as non-guided anglers. With some views on this board it seems the guided angler is a "second class citizen".

    BTW, what is our fate?

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    Yukon, you can defend TYNMON and those guides who selfishly opposed the bait EO all you want. As a commercial guide, I expected no less from you.

    The fact is that TYNMON is complaining about the quality of fish, yet he continues to advertise, target, and kill those same quality fish for money! If quality is a problem, why doesn't he restrain from fishing and killing them? He complains about management, lack of good sampling, etc., yet he, along with his organizations and associations, have developed no program to help. He is in a perfect position to do that, but I guess he'd rather point fingers. His comment about commercial fishermen was way out of line, as they don't even fish the ER. This is all so typical. Fortunately most of us just don't buy it anymore.

    Yukon, you can sugar coat it all you want, but the "world famous Kenai River" and the "mighty world class Kenai River King Salmon" are the resource. And that is exactly what you sell. Without them you have nothing to sell. Just look at any Kenai River guide advertisement...the first thing you see is a huge dead King slung over the background of the River. You are no different.

    Everyone has the same opportunity, access, chance at a fish of a lifetime, or the ability to put fish in the freezer....with or without you. Everyone makes their own choices in life. While your clients may have the same desires as non-guided anglers, you do not. You have chosen to sell the public resource, opportunity, and access for money. Non-guided anglers and your clients have not.

    As far as guides being "second class citizens"...that's just more of your typical "whoa is me" sympathy propaganda. People aren't buying into that anymore Yukon. Not when some guides want the bait opener all to themselves.

    BTW, the guide's fate is further restrictions, limits, regulation, and descent and outcry by the public. Yukon, you can't honestly expect the public or private fisherman to sit back and let a group of guides dictate when bait EO's should happen (so they can have first crack at them), do you?

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