50hp versus 35hp Kenai debate...
Would changing the hp regs on the Kenai to 50hp really make that much of a difference? How many boaters actualy "detune" their motors? Does a boat with a 35hp throw more or less wake than a boat with a 50hp? I watched guides plowing upstream with a drift boat and a 9.9 kicker that throw twice the wake that I do, why is that legal and a 50hp is not? For those of you who run jets, shouldn't the power rating be at the pump/prop and not the power head. Someone who has a 50hp with a jet is really only pushing about 33hp out the jet and there is no easy way to make more hp. Someone who has a detuned motor can change the throttle cam and be back to 50hp in a few minutes. That would mean a 70hp power head with a jet will put out 45hp, less than the legal limit if the law is changed. What to you guys think?
I don't have a dog in the fight, but I've always wondered why more horsepower is needed. Price of gas these days, I'm looking for ways to get by with less.
Horsepower debate. . .
The reason for restricting boats to 35 hsp. on the Kenai was for safety. It is primarily the guide industry that now wants the restriction raised to 50 hsp.
The current concern over hsp. is erosion, and to that end a two-part study was initiated to determine how various combinations of hull size and shape, loading, hsp. and perhaps more generate wake energies, which in turn produce bank erosion and habitat destruction.
Phase I of the study was completed a number of years ago. Phase II continues to languish for whatever reasons. Street gossip says that in-river, commercial sportfishing interests have politically blocked Phase II of the wake study because they know or are afraid that the study will show that the big Willie Predators loaded with "sports" produce too much wake and too much erosion for the environment to bear regardless of how many hsp. is pushing the load. Is it possible that the guide industry/Kenai River Sportfishing Association/Kenai River Professional Guide Association fears that Phase II of the wake study would recommend smaller or flat-bottomed boats with lighter loads?
As a recent Peninsula Clarion poll showed, a majority of area residents oppose raising hsp. on the Kenai to 50.
And, yes, it is rumored that many if not most of the de-tuned 50's currently in use by many of the guides are not in fact de-tuned. Wasn't it year-before-last that several guides were ticketed for that offense?
So what happens if the hsp. limit is raised to 50? De-tuned 70s?
From an onlookers standpoint I do not see how raising the HP limit would make any sense. Say the regs were changed to limit a maximum 50hp limit on the kenai, then the boat operators would be stretching the 50hp limit with larger boats and more weight, and the new regulations would bring everything back to square one.
I would say that is a fair assumption, wouldnt you say so?
I have grit my teeth every time a guide with 6 clients and boat that is 5 ft longer than mine blows by me like I'm standing still, makes me wonder what he has under under the hood. Maybe the question we should ask is not about hp but the style of boat that is allowed on the river. Changing motors would be easier and more cost effective than changing boats for most guides, they simply have to peel of the 35hp sticker. Seriously, most guides abuide by the regs, so they would just remove the throttle cam. They still can only put 6 clients on board, but now they have an extra 15hp to get going. The and result should be a boat that generally rides better in the water and throws less wake. I think the current proposal to ADF&G deals with true 50hp and not detuned 70's, I doubt anyone would support that. What about jet motors, should the have to be 35 out the pump or 35 at the powerhead?
Marcus - remember when the Kenai was open to all boats? Do you feel the river is safer and has less erosion than before?
Hull design, loading, and much more. . .
Probably haven't lived on the Kenai Peninsula that long, and I don't fish the Kenai River from a boat. But from what I hear, most folks consider the river safer but suffering from more polution, erosion, and habitat destruction.
Originally Posted by SockeyOrange
I've heard Kenai River guides rationalize the erosion and other damage caused by boat traffic by comparing such erosion and habitat destruction to natural erosion, floods, and so on, claiming the damage boat wakes do to the environment is much the same.
But such is not the case. Habitat changes that occur naturally usually happen over a long periods of time, giving the environment and fauna a chance to adapt. On the other hand, habitat changes as a result of boat wakes incessantly pounding riverine habitat occur more quickly, degrading habitat at a rate that precludes adaption.
"Though the fate of salmon rests in human hands, it is not clear that we will be able to save them even if our society wants to. Part of the problem lies in the conflict between the inherent uncertainty of the natural sciences and the certainty demanded by policy makers when balancing natural resource protection against economic opportunities." (King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon, Montgomery, Westview Press, 2003)
Sport Fish Division of ADF&G, guides, B&Bs, lodges, and much more are inescapably entwined in "economic opportunities."
Back in the day....
When I was a kid we used to take a 22ft jetboat with 350hp on the Kenai, we went there so much that when they changed the hp to 50 then 35 we sold the boat and picked up a 14 ft Zodiak. That was a change! We put 5 people in that boat and fished the pillars for kings. We would load it with gear and take two trips from Skilak to set up camp. People can deal with smaller boats. My day still has that boat and rumor has it he is finally breaking down and getting new boat. Hell must have froze over in Soldotna if you new my old man I have a 16ft jon boat, it gets me everywhere I want to go even with my 35.
Maybe the reason phase II has not been released (I'm REACHING HERE) might be the info in the report shows little change in bank erosion since the change was implemented. With all the press about the accidents on the Deshka and the near misses on the Little Sue I'm surprised the change from 35 to 50 is taking so much time considering there is no restrictions on those rivers and they are much narrower and more dangerous. There was many people who felt the change in 84 was due to pressure from enviormentalists, and not really based on true science. Personally I don't know..educate me if you do!
Stretching, maybe, but by whom?
Can't answer that one, but it's the first I've heard it even hinted that bank erosion caused by boat wakes is a non-issue or environmentalist hype.
We're off for a couple days, hanging out on the lower peninsula and will check back in on Sunday. Good discussion. . .
This is an interesting topic. If I read the proposal correct it would limit the powerhead to 50 HP period. It would also put a maximum length of boat to 21' I beleive. Therefore 70hp motors with jets would not be allowed nor would larger boats than are already used.
Although I was not on the Kenia during the years that it was unrestricted I have formed an opinion about wakes based on what I have seen on the Kenia and throughout the Valley. Boats that have adequate HP plane better and therefore create less wake and will in turn do less damage to the river banks.
At the Deschka there is a no wake zone that to many people don't concern themselves with. They may take it off step but push an enourmous wake because they are still in a hurry failing to realize that they will move just as fast if they set it down and cut the water. If safety wasn't a concern I would prefer that they pass through this area on step as it is less disturbing to fishermen.
I completely understand the HP/safety concerns and have to agree with that. As I see it, since there has been this HP restriction on the Kenia there are those that have found a way to put a larger boat on step or near so while hauling a large load. I don't mean to pick on guides in any form but it sure seams like they are a bit overloaded with clients at times, don't always move to fast and sometimes result in a large wake. Large wakes do damage.
If the HP restriciton is raised I don't see much that will change. It will allow those that currently don't detune to not worry about getting caught. It will allow those that do to get a boost and load there boats with more people/gear. Where does it stop?
I am not picking a fight with the guides or trying to insult any of them, I just used them as an example because they tend to run larger boats with more people than most.
I don't know but have heard that some of the larger boats are running a 50hp motor with a 70hp lower unit which allows them to run a larger prop and get more thrust out of a detuned 50hp motor. Anyone know the trueth in this matter?
I was on the river when hp was not restricted. Bob Penny and his group had huge jet boats and he cried like a baby when they went to 35hp.
The primary reason was safety since there were some accidents and things were out of control. Erosion was also a concern because a USGS study revealed significantly increased erosion along the river banks. At some points the erosion impact from a hundred year flood was taking place every 10 years from boats alone.
Since the 35 hp has been in place new information became available about the amount of gas discharged into the river - 10,000 gallons in the month of July by some estimates. This violates DEC standards and should be a major point of discussion.
It was DNR and ADF&G that requested the Corp of Eng. studies. To regulate boats and motors good science was needed.
The questions asked in earlier posts are the same that were asked 10 years ago. The studies started and then political influence came to past. The second phase of the study was suppose to answer these questions. Funding for this phase was stopped by the guide industry and Kenai River Sport Fishing Association. They could live with 35 hp in regulation since it was not enforced.
However, now with the study results just 2 months away they are afraid of the results. You can bet the guide industry has seen the preliminary results since they are connected politically.
The key to this whole discussion is EPA 2006 regulations. If passed then boat owners with 35 hp will not meet this standard. You will have to buy a new motor. I did hear that they modified the recommendation to allow older motors until you replace your motor.
However, the guide industry does not want this since the fuel issue still needs to be regulated. With 50 hp and 2006 standards they can reduce the public use of the Kenai, do not have to worry about the fuel issue since 2006 standards will reduce fuel in the river, and they buy new motors anyway for the business.
It is complicated but I bet the truth is in the phase 2 results. I suspect that erosion issues will not allow the present use on the river and that just makes every guide nervous. Remember the primary reason the river was made a special management area under State control was to protect fish and wildlife - period. All other uses have to be measured against that priority use.
What's in a name. . . ?
Nerka, why do we call them "guides"? Aren't the folks selling Kenai and Kasilof River fishing trips essentially the same thing as halibut charters/party boats? (And don't halibut charters require their anglers to hold their own rods and set their own hooks? — something I've heard sports don't need to do on a Kenai or Kasilof River charter.)
There's an article on the subject in today's ADN — check it out.
4 vs 2 stroke
I have heard about the high amounts of hydrocarbons in the Kenai during King season. Is it true that the 4 stroke releases less hydrocarbons? I am sure that that has been something that has been brought up before. But with the new proposals that they are making, maybe that should be addressed also. If 4 stroke is the cleaner motor, maybe that should be a requirement. It would also reduce some of the noise (I know it wouldn't help a ton, but every little bit makes a difference).
Guide's perspective part 1
Guides are taking a pretty good beating here, so I'll take a step in good faith to give my point of view (not necessarily the guide industry's). This is long, so grab a cup, be objective and see the "other side's" point of view.
Alaska State Parks is very active in checking for motor detuning compliance. Guides are checked randomly each year. A Park ranger inspected my motor twice this year at the different launches. And yet, it is true that some unscrupulous guides do get cited for re-tuning their motors (bad apples). My motor, as are most guide boats and presumably non-guide boats, are by regulation, detuned by motor dealers with manufacturer approved and packaged detune kits, mostly a throttle cam. Yes, it is easy to change the cams, but it is not like putting on your seat belt when the police are pulling you over on the highway. So, when the Rangers decide to do an inspection, it is very obvious if a person is in compliance or not.
Originally Posted by SockeyOrange
I agree. It is way more than simply horsepower; it is hull design, loading (not only the amount of weight, but the location of the weight). I don't agree with the implication that only guides "plow" upstream with a drift boat and a 9.9
Originally Posted by SockeyOrange
I disagree. The reason for 35 h.p. was to reduce wake. The appreciated effect was a safer river (and a larger wake, by the way). Prior to guiding, I worked as a paramedic in Soldotna. I have responded to many accidents on the river over the years, however most (and certainly the more serious) were before the 35 h.p. restriction. I for one appreciate the slower, thus safer, traffic on the river.
Originally Posted by Marcus
I disagree. Indeed, science has proven that deeper “V” bottoms produce larger wakes. Once on step (or plane or whatever terminology you use), the Willie (and boats of similar design) is riding on a 6-degree hull (mostly flat). However there are many boats on the river with a 15-degree or larger V; like the Bayrunners, Klamath’s, and some Hues Crafts (and boats of similar design; more conducive for open water use).
Originally Posted by Marcus
I disagree. See point #1
Originally Posted by Marcus
Incorrect. If you are talking about the Kenai River, regulation limits guide vessels to 4 passengers in July (that is a total of 5 including the guide) and 5 passengers in other months beside July. Also, most guide boats (Willies or similar design) are between 19 and 21 feet. I know that some guides had 22' boats in the past, but with only a couple of exceptions (one being a specially built landing craft type of boat designed for taking folks in wheel chairs). As far as "blowing you out of the water", it is all about hull design. A boat that is higher on plane with less drag in the water will go faster. Even something as simple as raising the motor with a lift will decrease the drag and thus increase the speed. Is it possible that they are running 50 h.p.? Yes, but that very thing is what Parks is looking for. It is a fool who is a guide and "blows" folks off the river... even if legal... they are simply drawing attention from Parks who will, and has, pulled guide boats (full of clients) off the river for an inspection.
Originally Posted by SockeyOrange
Guides perspective part 2
This is what I understand as well. The new regulations, if enacted, will not give guides (and others) opportunity to add more clients or bigger boats.
Originally Posted by AKBighorn
I agree, but not to the extent that safety is diminished.
Originally Posted by AKBighorn
Yamaha (I don't know of the other brands) makes 2 models of 50 h.p. motors...the F50 and the T50. The F50 is a typical outboard using the same lower unit from 30-50 h.p. The T50, however does indeed use the same lower unit as the 70 h.p. outboard. Yamaha does promote this model as high thrust. Nevertheless, the power head is still limited to 35 h.p. and detuned to such. I own the T50; and associate with the exact same boat runs the F50; there is no perceptible difference in performance as far as I can tell. The "beefier" lower unit, however will endure gravel and rocks much better than the lighter model... there is, of course a price to pay in a heavier motor.
Originally Posted by AKBighorn
The number one producer of oil and gasoline pollution on the river is the older 2-stroke motor. These motors simply discharge unburned oil and fuel through the exhaust. The newer 4-stroke motors already meet the 2006 EPA standards. In fact, there is even a 2-stroke motor that meets the 2006 standard. One interesting thought however (check it out)... It is against federal law to detune a motor because the emission standards are based on the placarded/manufacturer designed h.p.
Originally Posted by Nerka
Also, there are several organizations that are offering rebates for those who are purchasing a new 4-stroke motor to replace the old 2-stroke. One of those organizations is the Kenai River Sportfish Association. There are great benefits, not only to the river, but also to the boat owner with a 4-stroke...quieter, more fuel efficient, less maintenance, etc.
Originally Posted by Marcus
I am not sure where this came from??? First, technically, the person who sets the hook is the one who must record the fish on their license and count it against their daily bag limit. Next, I am surprised where this came from... Marcus, you have frequently made comments against generalizations, assumptions and comments like this. I agree with your implication that it is wrong for guides to "power set". Setting the hook is part of fishing. I believe that the "power set" is dangerous, disruptive and unnecessary. Nevertheless, there are SOME guides that do not give the client the opportunity to set the hook. Alaska State Parks are very clear on this. It is clearly stated in the required guide orientation and in the guide academy. There are circumstances, however, that I believe justify (and allowed by Parks) a "power set". Take for example a person who is disabled and physically unable to set the hook, but desire the thrill of landing the fish.
So, I appreciate the comments from those who are simply looking at the facts and leaving the personalities out of the picture. Certainly there are bad apples in the guide industry, and certainly there are bad apples in the "all others" as well. I know that guides are an easy target, but I truly believe that there is great value to the guide industry. Not only economic, but maybe a person is unfamiliar with the river or technique... they can save much time and effort to hire a guide, learn the spots and techniques before they go out on their own... they can also learn the rules of the road, river etiquette and fishing ethics from the guide (assuming that they are not onboard with one of the "bad apples").
I would love to dialogue more about guides and guiding, but please leave out the generalizations, assumptions and personalities...
Very well said. . .
Wow. . . well reasoned and politely said, alaskanfishguides. Let me respond to your comments about my posts. I don't fish the Kenai from a boat nor do I use guides; thus my remarks about 1) anglers who don't hold their rods and 2) the man on the motor setting the hook are gleaned from 1) observation and 2) hearsay. My apologies for what came across as generalizations and assumptions. My remarks about guides running full 50 hsp. motors come from conversations with guides. That said, I don't think all guides are bad apples. Some guides believe in what they're doing.
Truth be told, I'm trying to sort out all that I hear from private citizens, many of whom are disgusted with sucking hind-tit to the guides during daylight hours Tuesdays through Saturdays and who have given up fishing the Kenai as a result of crowding and the aggressiveness of the guides. Second, I'm trying to rationalize the presence and mission of KRSA who, while purportedly a non-profit, conservation organization, are plainly agents of commercial sportfishing interests: guides, lodges, B&Bs, etc. Third, I'm angered at what I consider a cavalier attitude on the part of commercial sportsfishing interests toward the sockeye runs in that they appear willing to sacrifice stable and predictable sockeye runs in order to get more kings available for their sports. Fourth, I'm disgusted with catch-and-release king fishing, which kills one of every 12 kings caught — just for the sake of some yahoo's notion of fun. Fifth, I'm sickened by the hostility toward commercial gill-nets, who at least know that fish are to eat. Sixth, I'm annoyed at hearing how economically important the relatively-small-compared-to-the-sockeye-fishery the king fishery is to area economics. Finally, I see the drive to 50 hsp. as just another example of economic opportunity at the expense of conservation.
If I had my way, the river would be 90% drift boats, and the first two kings you caught and brought to boat — keep them or let them go, your choice — are your kings, and you're off the river. That said, there is a place for "guides" given the above qualifications.
So help me out here. Start a new thread or continue with this one, but let's talk about it.
Thanks. . .
Thanks for your comments. It really doesn't matter which side of the debates one sits, the rhetoric is often very difficult to sort through to the facts.
Your premises on the previous post are very consistent with your posts on various topics on this forum. Though I may not always be on your side of the fence, I always appreciate, and learn from your comments.
Naturalized Alaskan's view....
Came to Alaska with the USAF in '92....left in '96...kept my residency and moved back permanently after retirement in 2001. In my 14 years fishing the Kenai the traffice on the lower river has increased dramatically.....there are times, now, where you virtually walk across the river hopping from boat to boat with out getting wet...at least it seems that way at times. My perception as coming into the state as an outsider is that commercial (including guides) interests have always dominated the fishing regulations due to economic and political reasons. Rarely does it "appear" the regs are manipulated in the interest purely of the fish involved. Having lived in Montana for 40 years and lived there for several there is something to compare care of fish resources against. Due to scientific studies showing the extremely deletrious effect of stocked trout on native and wild stocks the Montana F&G stopped all stocking of rivers with trout in 1974.....this was considered heresy at the time and both residents and guides railed that it would decimate the fisheries (including my uncle, father and myself). Well, lo and behold, the studies were right, and the rivers and natural stocks (such as they had been changed to) are far healthier than they ever were during 100 years of stocking.....imagine science actually taking precedence over economic and political opinion. There have been many times in the last 10 years when some of the most popular streams were completely closed due to low water and increasing water temperature.....much to guides chagrin but such was in the best interest of the trout involved. Due to the amount of money involved in commercial interests here in Alaska science generally takes a back seat to what is economically expedient. We have political people manipulating the stocks of salmon in this state with little attention, or knowledge, of fisheries biology.
Now having carried out this diatribe let me say some of my best fishing acquaintances are guides. I fish several times on the upper Kenai with a guide who has become a good friend....as well as several others I have come to know. I generally prefer to use guides who are not interested in "bigger and better" with guiding as a business.....they are usually sole guides who personally run every trip. Last week there was a rather animated discussion on a very large California fishing forum about guided trips on the Kenai. It wasn't very complimentary.....most who had recently been to the Kenai felt that lodges and guiding services were not as they represented. There were numerous complaints of lodging being something completely different than advertised and also complaints about guides dictating to the customer how and what they would fish for. Let me tell you I did a lot of defending Alaskan guides as I think many are very upstanding and outstanding. But it has become a big business open to slick promotion and advertising.....and inflation of expectations and fishing. There were virtually no positive comments from those coming in from out of state.
Now, actually getting back to the thread's original thought.....I'm not in favor of increasing the hp size on the Kenai. As soon as you up it there will be a cry in a few years to up it some more....etc., etc. There are so many more boats on the Kenai than there was just 10 years ago it's wacky now running around the river. I'll get another guides view on it Friday when I float with him through the Kenai canyon....he has been fishing the river for 30 years also....
I love guides and I hate guides....does that make me schizophrenic?
"Nothing is ever accomplished by leaving butt prints in the sands of time."
Alaskanfishguides disagreed with a couple of points and I think we should clear up those issues. The reason the 35 hp. was put in regulation was for safety. One can get the justification for the regulation from DNR. However, Alaskanfishguides is correct in assuming it was for erosion. When the issue of erosion first came up by property owners in the early 80's the idea was that smaller boats and motors would reduce wake erosion. Remember there were some big jet boats on the river at the time. However, DNR could not pass a regulation on erosion impacts as there was no science to support the observations of river users. Therefore, there was lots of discussion about erosion and safety. However, the regulation was passed for safety as there was a defendable record to support that decision.
The second issue is whether the guide industry stopped the phase 2 studies. This is again a matter of record. The guide industry did take a formal position against funding phase 2 - however the professional guide association does not represent all guides but they speak with a strong political voice.
Third, the discussion of wake size is based on the assumption that there is a certain wake height that will cause erosion and below some threshold erosion will be minimized. Those findings should be in the phase 2 report but this push right now for 50 hp without that report in the public forum is just bad process.
Fourth, there are a number of alternatives that should be examined to deal with safety, erosion, and fuel issues in the river. To limit the discussion to just 35 or 50 hp is short sighted. However, as I stated earlier the professional guide association is pushing this change based on no data. This summer there were 700 boats counted on the river on one day. Over 60 days of June and July the average number of boats is hard to define but assume 350 ( this is probably low). This translates to thousands in not 10's of thousands of wakes against the bank. The culumative impact of wakes regardless of height needs to be discussed.
Finally, I have a number of friends that are guides. They do not belong to the guide association as they disagree with the tactics of that organization --which at times borders on the leadership's behavior that is not civil, both on and off the river.
The issue of a vision for the Kenai River is still the main issue facing this community and state. Do we want 700 or more boats on the river, with larger boats and horsepower, having to spend thousands of dollars to repair banks that eroding, and to deal with the image of the Kenai fishery as one of uncivil and angry users? Or do we redefine the river to something else. Once we figure that out we can discuss all issues by some vision. Not likely to happen in this day and age of big business on the river but one can hope.
Originally Posted by Nerka
Thanks for your comments. This, however is my issue, that the Guide Industry is often considered synonymous with the vocal minority of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association and the Kenai River Sportfish Association. There are over 350 registered guides on the Kenai (counting drift, and float guides), but only 100 +/- are members of KRPGA (most are nominal members). You are correct that KRPGA is very vocal and some of the leadership very aggressive. Though I am a member of KRPGA, I do not necessarily hold to the opinion, direction or ethical standards of the leadership of KRPGA. Again, we are talking bad apples.
I believe that if you were to poll independant, "small operators", you would find a whole different breed of guides. These guys and gals are running a small business to provide recreational fishing to folks who would not otherwise have the means. These independant guides are law abiding, good intentioned, and resource minded.
Keep in mind, that of those 700 boats, the majority were non-guide vessels. As I mentioned already, there are only 350 (roughly) registered guides. This number includes drift boats and rafts (non-fishing). Does your number include all 120 miles of the river, or only the lower river? Secondly, out of your 60 days of June and July, the guides are only allowed operate for 40 of those days (no guides on Sunday or Monday). Surely, the majority of guide vessels are working the last two weeks of July, but many guides stay idle on any given day in June and early July.
Originally Posted by Nerka
So, again, the guides become an easy target. This may be because they are more identifyable on the river? More visible? I don't know. Yes, the guides are part of the problem, right along with every other user of the river.
Now for the disclaimer: I am speaking my own mind/opinion, not necessarily that of the "guide industry".
By the way, your statement on vision is right on in my opinion...
Thanks for your reply, it was well done. You are correct, a guide cannot have 6 clients, that was a mistake on my part. I do believe that a most people on the river (guides and all) follow the rules, but the "bad apples" are out there. There are some guides and sportfishers alike that deserve the bad rap they get, and when money is mixed with the pressure of delivering fish common sense goes out the window. Sounds like your part of the solution, however, I'd fish you anytime.
P.S. - do you feel the number of guides should be limited?
And does anyone have an opinion about a jet unit, in a sense it detunes the motor by 33%