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Thread: Kenai River Late Run Kings: REPORT

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Kenai River Late Run Kings: REPORT

    SLOW - SLOW - SLOW

    Very few fish entering the river and most of the catch is jacks... including an unusually large number of micro-jacks....sub-taggable runts under 20" (freebies for the BBQ/skillet).

    The beach nets have been taking very few kings despite fishing EVERY fishable day outside the weekly 36 hour window. In-river sonar counts are off to one of the worst starts since the inception of the program... last two days counts have been in the 200's. In 21 years , only three returns have had a slower start (1991, 1992, 1996).

    Looks like just another run this year where we will all be left to wonder... is it late, is it weak, or is it both?

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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Default In river test net..

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    SLOW - SLOW - SLOW

    Very few fish entering the river and most of the catch is jacks... including an unusually large number of micro-jacks....sub-taggable runts under 20" (freebies for the BBQ/skillet).

    The beach nets have been taking very few kings despite fishing EVERY fishable day outside the weekly 36 hour window. In-river sonar counts are off to one of the worst starts since the inception of the program... last two days counts have been in the 200's. In 21 years , only three returns have had a slower start (1991, 1992, 1996).

    Looks like just another run this year where we will all be left to wonder... is it late, is it weak, or is it both?
    Test netters indicated average was about one per hour..... Doc you sure got it right, Sonar seems to be a very un useful tool.

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    Default Wait a minute

    Wait a minute... Yes, this past week of King fishing on the Kenai River was below average. Yes, the number of second run Kenai kings passing the sonar are also below average.

    However, one has to only look at the tide book to get a major reason to what was happening. This past week had the biggest tides of the month of July which occured early in the morning which left the incoming unfishable for most as they were high at 3:49am, 4:40am, 5:32am, and 6:21am. The outgoing tides pulled weeds, wood, mud, and gunk off of the bank which made for less than idea fishing conditions as well.
    In fact in the tidal zone below Beaver Creek the water was so muddy from the high tides that they did not clear up until an hour or so before the next tide was coming in.

    The "neap tides" of July 8 - 17 will be much more favorable to both fisherman and the fish than the extreme tides that we just witnessed. These extreme tides tend to bring in fewer fish than the more moderate tides that are on the horizon. Think about it this way. On July 9 the low tides will be 2.3 and 2.4 feet above zero. This means that there will be at least 2 plus feet of water at the mouth of the Kenai all day long which should send a steady pulse of fish up the river through out the day.

    The set net sites just north of Deep Creek had a haul of big kings yesterday and the marine fishery at Deep Creek saw a spike in angler success the last few days for kings both of which are excellent indicators that kings are on there way up the inlet.

    So, breath deep and lets see what these tides the next week to ten days bring us.

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    Tides are sure a wild card in Alaska. Thats one thing that can sure change a trip around.

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    If anybody can characterize the Kenai fishing right now as anything but woefully sub-par, more power to ya! How many fish did you put in the box y'day, iceblue? Guess I must be getting reports from all the wrong fishermen.

    Gillnet numbers for yesterday's EO have not been posted on the website yet, but for the preceding 7 days of netting (every fishable day outside the 36 hour window) there was a total of 683 kings reported. That's less than 100 fish a day, and perhaps a third of those were destined for Kasilof. So there really isn't much chinook movement into the upper Inlet... yet.

    And yes, we've had some big tides the past week which can slow the in-river passage and can impair visibility/fishablility in tidewater where most of the fish are harvested. But fishing conditions above tidewater have been nothing short of excellent... viz has been unbelievably good.

    But that's past tense now. The Kenai is currently on the rise as major glacial rivers (Snow River, Skilak River) feeding the big lakes have finally busted loose. Moreover, the Killey puked overnight... viz is horrible from a report I got below the Moose a couple hours ago, and the mud should be hitting the the tidewater zone either as I type or within an hour of completing this post.

    Let's just say it could be a very good week for escapement...well, at least for the next few days. It'll be interesting to see how many fish the mud will move into the Funny in the next day or so.
    "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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    Yep Doc is right. The Vis on the kenai went from good to crap on Saturday. Friday the vis around sunken island was pretty good. We fished low and above the bridge yesterday. It didn't matter where we went the vis sucked and so did the fishing. 90% of the boats were fishing all their rods. We did see two fish in nets and one fish being fought while we were running the river. All the fish looked pretty small. Hopefully they start to show up soon. Its time
    Klickman

  7. #7

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    What do the tides look like July 28-31? Thanks

  8. #8

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    You guys know more than our poor crew will ever know. That said, weren't things just as bleak two years ago in early July? By the time we got there the river was on fire!

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Ah yes, but there's more to the story....

    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoman View Post
    ....weren't things just as bleak two years ago in early July? By the time we got there the river was on fire!
    Yes they WERE (emphasis on past tense)....

    The only reason the in-river king numbers were "on fire" is that 800-1000 or more of them weren't disappearing daily in the Inlet when the nets got shut down in the third week of July. The bulk of the run arrived to the upper Inlet just in time for the nets to be pulled for the rest of the month.

    Some of you may be fortunate enough to recall the unbelievably good king fishing in the river that year... the ABSOLUTE best I have ever experienced in the span of 35 years!

    Up until the few days before nets were pulled, there was a looming threat of an EO to restrict the Kenai to C&R kings.

    Amazing what a few net-free days can do for chinook escapement!
    "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

  10. #10

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    And, when and how will the net free days be determined? Doc, you are educating an old man here but not a fisherman with lifetime experiences.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Yes they WERE (emphasis on past tense)....

    The only reason the in-river king numbers were "on fire" is that 800-1000 or more of them weren't disappearing daily in the Inlet when the nets got shut down in the third week of July.
    Amazing what a few net-free days can do for chinook escapement!
    And Sockeye and Pinks and Chums and Coho. When will the fishermen take notice and do something about it? Commercial take of fish no longer has to be an option in Cook Inlet, if the fishermen would unite and eliminate it.

  12. #12

    Default nets and amount of fish

    How about last year when they were counting over 3000 a day and no one could catch one. Maybe these big numbers were reported so the fleet could keep fishing. C'mon Gramps tell us all how many fish you caught when nobody else could catch one.By the way caugt several this week with counts from 500-200 but never caught anything with 3000 plus days. Makes one think maybe someone is playing games.

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    Default Net-free days... oh let me count the ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoman View Post
    And, when and how will the net free days be determined? Doc, you are educating an old man here but not a fisherman with lifetime experiences.
    The baseline gillnet fishery is two 12 hour periods per week... Mon and Thur.

    That means that without EO's to liberalize the fishery, there are 5 net-free days a week on the eastside beaches of Cook Inlet.

    THAT ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS!

    You see, the Kenai-Kasilof sockeye runs are typically WAY stronger than what 24 hours a week of gillnetting can crop down to "acceptable" escapement... we would "unnecessarily" be putting MILLIONS of sockeye into both rivers.

    So for the greater good of Maximum Sustained Yield, we allow the commercial fishery to crop those enormous runs down to BEG (biologic escapement goal), the escapement range for each river that statistically is most likely to produce MAXIMUM harvest over time.

    At the height of the run, there are typically so many fish returning that even 7 days a week of netting cannot sufficiently squelch the threat of daily "overescapement"... as nerka will attest, the nets simply CAN'T get 'em all! But in the river, sport and PU users cry foul that not enough fish are being passed thru the commercial fishery to have reasonable opportunity to prosecute productive in-river fisheries. Additionally, large numbers of king salmon bound for the rivers are also taken with each beach opener.

    To create some balance in this situation, the BOF has approved net-free "windows"... brief respites where the fish can pass the beaches without interception. At this time of year (thru July 7) the mandatory window is 36 hours net-free starting sometime after the regular 12-hr Thursday opener. The idea is to allow free passage of fish (reds AND kings) along the beaches into the Kenai-Kasilof for the weekend swarm of in-river users (PU and sport). I do not believe the windows apply to the drift fleet as they take relatively few kings.

    From July 8 forward, the 36-hr weekend windows are augmented with an additional floating 24-hr window. Additionally the Kenai is managed with a 3-tier abundance-based netting strategy.

    Tier 1 (runsize under 2 million)... no more than 24 EO hours of netting per week. In other words, nets will be deployed 48 hours per week. Lots of net-free days at these small run-sizes. The target BEG is 650-850K.

    Tier 2 (runsize 2-4 million)... no more than 51 extra hours of netting per week by EO. In other words, the beach nets will fish 75 hours per week. Beyond the prescribed windows, that leaves another 33 hours of net-free beaches for a 168 hour week. The target BEG is 750-950K.

    Tier 3 (run-size over 4 million)... HOBOY this is where it gets hairy! The nets get an additional 84 hours of EO time. That's 108 hours of netting per week... consuming every available moment outside the BOF's prescribed windows. There are ZERO net-free days outside the windows. The target BEG is 850-1100K (1.1 million).

    But here's the kicker. In the event of really big sockeye runs, the windows can be (and have been! ) overridden by the ADFG Commissioner to prevent grossly overescaping the prescibed BEG. The 2008 BOF has declared that managing for the BEG is now the primary objective. So it is really unclear just how much "teeth" the windows rules will really have. Perhaps nerka can expound on this further.

    This year, the run-size projection falls in Tier 2, so starting next week an extra 51 hours of beach netting can be EO'd. But the run-size will be updated in-season about July 22. If the run-size that materializes bumps into the Tier 3 magnitude, you will see an orgy of EO's that will leave you wishing you were back in 2006!

    It's like the song about Old MacDonald's farm:

    It's an EO here....
    And an EO there....
    EO here.. EO there... EO, EO, everywhere....

    (sing it with me now, everybody)


    E - eye,
    E - eye,
    O-O-O-O !


    OK... back to my Crown rocks.
    "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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    Where are the popcorn eating smilie faces when I need them!!

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Where are the popcorn eating smilie faces when I need them!!
    Here ya go!

    "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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    Thanks doc, I knew you would come through!

    BTW, water is chocolate milk and rising quickly. Lots of grass throughout the water column floating down, not to mention lots of large trees and logs!

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    They got rid of the site that's just below the mouth of the Killey, but here's what the river is doing just below Kenai Lake.... definitely on the rise!

    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/uv...te_no=15258000
    "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

  18. #18

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    "When will the fishermen take notice and do something about it? Commercial take of fish no longer has to be an option in Cook Inlet, if the fishermen would unite and eliminate it."- Akres

    Do you ever get embarrassed or shamed after posting such ridiculous comments? How can anyone take you serious when you make comments like this? The fact is, commercial fisherman and sport fisherman will never be eliminated (so long as there are fish to catch), so learn to live with it. I wish taxes would be eliminated, but that will never happen either.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Where are the popcorn eating smilie faces when I need them!!

    Here's some more!!


  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    (sing it with me now, everybody)

    E - eye,
    E - eye,
    O-O-O-O !

    OK... back to my Crown rocks.
    sing it with me now. . .

    song, song of the south, sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth . .

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