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Thread: 2006 Flood and Pink returns

  1. #1
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default 2006 Flood and Pink returns

    The numbers are not looking very good for Pinks this year. Though many folk would just as soon not see a pink when they're lookign for silvers, their absence is very concerning. I believe the 2006 flood wiped out much of their spawning success, and this year's numbers to date support that. Though an even numbered year, Deshka is at 12,745 as of Aug 13. Typically the run has about ended by now. This is roughly 15% of the return of 2006. My own observations on Willow Creek and Montana Creek indicate far fewer pinks than normal throughout the creeks, indicating that Deshka is not the only river with highly diminished returns.

    Again, who cares about pinks? Well, as a biomass fish they are important. Bears, scavengers, resident trout, dollies and grayling, and young of the year salmon of all species need the decaying flesh to grow and survive. Also, it is a strong indicator for what to expect from King, coho and chum returns in the upcoming years, as these species also were affected by the flood. It would not be wise to wait 2 more years before taking management actions that take the flood into account!

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    Default you may be right but lets look at the data

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    The numbers are not looking very good for Pinks this year. Though many folk would just as soon not see a pink when they're lookign for silvers, their absence is very concerning. I believe the 2006 flood wiped out much of their spawning success, and this year's numbers to date support that. Though an even numbered year, Deshka is at 12,745 as of Aug 13. Typically the run has about ended by now. This is roughly 15% of the return of 2006. My own observations on Willow Creek and Montana Creek indicate far fewer pinks than normal throughout the creeks, indicating that Deshka is not the only river with highly diminished returns.

    Again, who cares about pinks? Well, as a biomass fish they are important. Bears, scavengers, resident trout, dollies and grayling, and young of the year salmon of all species need the decaying flesh to grow and survive. Also, it is a strong indicator for what to expect from King, coho and chum returns in the upcoming years, as these species also were affected by the flood. It would not be wise to wait 2 more years before taking management actions that take the flood into account!
    You may be right WFFF but pinks are down in other parts of the State so lets wait and see if this is more than a freshwater issue. For example, some streams in PWS and lower Cook Inlet are down. Pinks can have huge swings in production and therefore are not a good predictor for other species.

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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Default Is it true...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    You may be right WFFF but pinks are down in other parts of the State so lets wait and see if this is more than a freshwater issue. For example, some streams in PWS and lower Cook Inlet are down. Pinks can have huge swings in production and therefore are not a good predictor for other species.
    I have read that pinks and sockeye compete in the ocean and one abundance often affects the others??

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Not systemwide...

    I'm keeping an eye on pinks, as I really can't help looking when I'm out trout fishing. Interestingly enough, Byers Creek is completely clogged up with pinks. Numbers there don't seem to be low at all. Byers Creek is a very short creek that flows out of Byers Lake, so wasn't as heavily affected by the flooding as other Parks Hwy creeks. Numbers are still very low elsewhere: apparently the Deshka is done, with counts of 5 and 4 the last two days, and counts of 35 or less since the 15th.

    I know it is hard to predict other species based solely on pink numbers, Nerka. However, their very poor return to some of the most heavily flooded streams from 2006 gives very strong support to the hypothesis that the flood wiped out large numbers of spawning salmon and/or their progeny. There may be other factors at work in the dismal return: but unless those factors are known, isn't it best to manage all species more conservatively? Kings, chums and silvers were also affected by the flood: shouldn't the department be managing all fisheries of these species very cautiously? In other words, a wake up call?

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    Default I believe they will

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    I'm keeping an eye on pinks, as I really can't help looking when I'm out trout fishing. Interestingly enough, Byers Creek is completely clogged up with pinks. Numbers there don't seem to be low at all. Byers Creek is a very short creek that flows out of Byers Lake, so wasn't as heavily affected by the flooding as other Parks Hwy creeks. Numbers are still very low elsewhere: apparently the Deshka is done, with counts of 5 and 4 the last two days, and counts of 35 or less since the 15th.

    I know it is hard to predict other species based solely on pink numbers, Nerka. However, their very poor return to some of the most heavily flooded streams from 2006 gives very strong support to the hypothesis that the flood wiped out large numbers of spawning salmon and/or their progeny. There may be other factors at work in the dismal return: but unless those factors are known, isn't it best to manage all species more conservatively? Kings, chums and silvers were also affected by the flood: shouldn't the department be managing all fisheries of these species very cautiously? In other words, a wake up call?
    I believe ADF&G will look at the in-season indicators of run strength with this in mind. They do that every year and no reason to suspect they will not in the future.

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