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Thread: Report; Central Kenai area June 16

  1. #1

    Default Report; Central Kenai area June 16

    Fishing Report for the Central Kenai Peninsula for salmon, halibut and trout

    I can sum up the fishing on the Kenai over the last week with one word, "WOW"! The historical peak has come and gone, however the real peak for king salmon on the Kenai is going on right now. The cumulative for the season as of June 15 is 10,753 with over 1,000 fish passing the sonar on June 12.

    As reported last week, things are still about a week behind. The water is still low, the fish numbers are catching up and things are looking really good, but late. Indeed, some area managers in the MatSu Valley are concerned with the low numbers and have imposed restrictions limiting the use of bait. But, a very good commercial fishing source (my son) in the middle of Cook Inlet reports that the fishing has been very good with good numbers of chinook. So again, things may look low, but in my opinion, they are simply late.

    Kenai River

    The Kenai River fished very well this week. The drift boaters on Monday reported an exceptional day with multiple hook ups and great action throughout the day. Then, Tuesday was indeed Super! The bite was on at 6:00 just about anywhere on the river and lasted for about 1 hour. This continued through Wednesday but Thursday and Friday saw a lower catch rate. And again on Saturday things were once again hopping.



    It seems that the desirable tackle is the fisherman's choice. In other words, the kings are hitting on plugs as well as bait. Most are back-trolling or back-bouncing with a few endeavoring to side-drift.

    According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the harvest rate is "above-average". This is good because last week it was less than average, so again this is representative of the run finally making its way up the Kenai. The run forcast is still looking like about 18,000 fish to pass the sonar. The water clarity is surprisingly still excellent at about 4' and the water levels continue to rise. Currently the statistical average time to catch a king from a guided boat is 24 hours which is typical for this time of year.

    Other opportunities on the Kenai are the first run of Russian River sockeye. The reports are coming in as very good in the upper Kenai and at the Russian River. While most reported a slow start at the June 11 opener, things have definitely improved. Many are leaving with their daily bag limit after a few hours of fishing. When fishing the Russian, however, keep this in mind: It is a fly-fishing only area and the hook gap cannot exceed 3/8". Also, coolers are now allowed on the ferry; nor can you ever be more than 3 feet from your pack or stringered fish. These rules are intended to reduce the number of uncomfortable bear encounters. So, do take the proper precautions. Also, I have heard that fish grinders have been installed on some of the cleaning tables, but have not heard about their effectiveness quite yet. If you don't use the grinder, remember to chop up the carcass and throw it to the main current of the river, again this will help to reduce the bear problem on the Russian.

    Kasilof River

    The Kasilof reports haven't been quite so rosy. There certainly are fish present and folks are catching, but things seem to be winding down in between runs. Each day is a different day with different results, so I certainly wouldn't give up on the idea of fishing the Kasilof. As last week, the best fishing is out of a drift boat, however, some folks are still finding fish but it is taking a bit more effort than before.

    The sockeye are starting to show up on the Kasilof as well. So, if your are up for a challenge, and not too much into the crowds, consider hitting the Kasilof for some reds.

    Cook Inlet

    The weather seemed to cooperate this week with some great halibut fishing to be had. I have received many reports of limit catches from the halibut charters (and even some private drift boats!). The fish are still a bit small, but I did hear of one boat with a box full of 50 pounders! I am expecting that as the summer matures, the fish will get larger and larger.





    Area Lakes

    If you truly want to have a great time catching and are not too worried about the size, the local area lakes are on fire! Johnson lake is one in particular where fishing is catching. The fish are ranging between 6" and 18" but are very hungry and aggressive. This is a great place to take children and introduce them to the wonderful sport of fishing.

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    Just wait until tomorrow morning, the water clarity won't be so pretty. It is starting to muddy up in the middle section, the Killey is starting to blow. It is not horrible at this moment but a couple days of sun and it will get ugly later this week.
    I am not sure where you fished on Saturday but the tide water was pretty slow, maybe one or two fish a boat. Lots of rods still in the water at 2:00.

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    Water clarity was still really good today. Fish catching wasn't so hot though. Only saw one fish landed...thought it was going to be a little hotter than it was. Maybe the clear water and bright sun had something to do with it, but was still a great day on the water. We did have four take downs, but never got a good hook into any of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Just wait until tomorrow morning, the water clarity won't be so pretty. It is starting to muddy up in the middle section, the Killey is starting to blow.
    Mid-June dump... right on schedule.

    Seen it happen as early as the 10th (2006 bait opener) and as late as the 21st (2007) but overall it's been a pretty consistent annual event in the second or third week of June.

    Used to be much easier to "see" it (yes, even from from 3000 miles away!) when the Kenai streamflow gauge just below the Killey mouth was still operational... simply had to watch for the first spike in flow.

    Now I'll have to just rely on yukon.
    "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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  5. #5

    Default Saturday Bite

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Just wait until tomorrow morning, the water clarity won't be so pretty. It is starting to muddy up in the middle section, the Killey is starting to blow. It is not horrible at this moment but a couple days of sun and it will get ugly later this week.
    I am not sure where you fished on Saturday but the tide water was pretty slow, maybe one or two fish a boat. Lots of rods still in the water at 2:00.
    The fish hit right after 3:00 on the afternoon trip. 2-3 nets up at a time for about an hour... It was great! (the morning trip was tough.. no doubt about it)

  6. #6

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    "Other opportunities on the Kenai are the first run of Russian River sockeye. The reports are coming in as very good in the upper Kenai and at the Russian River. While most reported a slow start at the June 11 opener, things have definitely improved."

    I'm not sure where this data or the reports are coming from but I just looked at the Russian River counter and the 12 year average for this date is a cumulative 3,500+, where the cumulative count is only 660 so far this year!!! That is not "very good" by most Alaskan standards. In fact it is the lowest I can remember. My memory is not what it used to be though...

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    Water did hold up pretty good today, I was very surprised, although the fishing was very tough.
    There should be good sockeyes at the russian as they were rolling in our hole all last week, nothing last night but those from last week should easily be at the Russian, despite the counts.

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    Default Threat of "overescapement"... AGAIN

    The latest Kenai King Report was posted on the ADFG website today.

    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/regio...8/08ersumm.pdf

    Total harvest thru Monday 6/16 was estimated at less than 1700 fish. Even with last week's phenomenal fishing, exploitation is only sitting at 15%.

    Run-size is projecting out to 18.1K.... leaving about 9.1K available for harvest. Pretty amazing that harvesting half the run still leaves us on the verge of overescapement.

    About 11.0K have already entered the river with another 7.1K left to swim up over the next couple of weeks.

    Think about this...

    If the fleet were somehow miraculously able to catch and kill every last king that will enter the river between now and July 1, the run would still be "overescaped."
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Default Overescaped?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    The latest Kenai King Report was posted on the ADFG website today.

    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/regio...8/08ersumm.pdf

    Total harvest thru Monday 6/16 was estimated at less than 1700 fish. Even with last week's phenomenal fishing, exploitation is only sitting at 15%.

    Run-size is projecting out to 18.1K.... leaving about 9.1K available for harvest. Pretty amazing that harvesting half the run still leaves us on the verge of overescapement.

    About 11.0K have already entered the river with another 7.1K left to swim up over the next couple of weeks.

    Think about this...

    If the fleet were somehow miraculously able to catch and kill every last king that will enter the river between now and July 1, the run would still be "overescaped."
    I'm not a biologist or anything even resembling one, but I have a sincere problem with the terminology "overescapement". Before fishing poles, dipnets and commercial fishing, these waters sustained a very healthy amount of fish; hard to imagine that our dwindling numbers of regular escapement are the ideological optimum to assure future run numbers. My personal opinion is to let the king fishing stop altogether for a season (don't hate me, it's just an opinion) and see how that works out after 4-5 years. I know that would never happen and I don't want anyone to suffer over it; it's just an interesting thought to me to see how the run would be affected (kings). As far as the sockeye goes, I'm certain that they need management, there's old lores from seasoned natives that the cycle would go up and down with massive amounts of fish some years and dismal amounts others. My grandad was a commercial fisherman for most of his life in the Kenai/Kasilof areas and told me stories of epic views of jumpers some years (low fish prices) and scarcity in others (higher prices, obviously).
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Default Overescapement?

    BINGO!

    Never seen a king run where the concept applies in real life.

    Just another man-made construct to justify HARVEST HARVEST HARVEST!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    BINGO!

    Never seen a king run where the concept applies in real life.
    You might be seeing that concept right now applying to the Deshka River.
    Escapements related to this year's return:
    2004 56,659
    2003 39,257
    2002 28,535

    BEG = 13,000 to 28,000

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    Default Might?

    Quote Originally Posted by akkona View Post
    You might be seeing that concept right now applying to the Deshka River.
    Escapements related to this year's return:
    2004 56,659
    2003 39,257
    2002 28,535

    BEG = 13,000 to 28,000
    2004 brood = 2008 2-salts
    2003 brood = 2008 3-salts
    2002 brood = 2008 4-salts

    The only significant outlier escapement year of the three you cited is 2004 which was double the BEG. In fact, the 2002 brood came from an escapement right at the upper limit of BEG.... an escapement that theoretically should have produced a bumper crop of big 4-ocean kings. So where are they?

    If the overescapement were truly at work here, we'd be seeing an age-specific collapse of the 2-ocean "jacks". Instead it looks like every age class is a no-show... but we may have to wait for the official post-season age analysis of sampled fish to find out for sure (if they are even doing it).
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    2004 brood = 2008 2-salts
    2003 brood = 2008 3-salts
    2002 brood = 2008 4-salts

    The only significant outlier escapement year of the three you cited is 2004 which was double the BEG. In fact, the 2002 brood came from an escapement right at the upper limit of BEG.... an escapement that theoretically should have produced a bumper crop of big 4-ocean kings. So where are they?

    If the overescapement were truly at work here, we'd be seeing an age-specific collapse of the 2-ocean "jacks". Instead it looks like every age class is a no-show... but we may have to wait for the official post-season age analysis of sampled fish to find out for sure (if they are even doing it).
    I wouldn't be too quick to discount the 2002 and 2003 escapements, especially when you have multiple years in a row of exceeding the goal. The age 1.2 component for the 2007 escapement came from the 2003 brood year and it came in last year far below average at 7,900 fish. These are the siblings for this year's 1.3 age class which makes up a higher percentage of the run. I'm not saying its the smoking gun for this year's run, just pointing out that there are examples of what happens when you exceed MSY, even for kings.

    And yes, fish are sampled every year at the weir.

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    Default Thanks!

    akkona could you share with us the year by year returns off the 2002 brood year?

    With a spawning escapement right at the top of BEG, it might be instructive to see what recruitment was like for each of the brood's returning age classes to date.
    "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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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    BINGO!

    Never seen a king run where the concept applies in real life.

    Just another man-made construct to justify HARVEST HARVEST HARVEST!
    shouldn't this thread now be moved to the fisheries management forum?

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