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Thread: Kenai Kings in nets

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    Default Kenai Kings in nets

    I dont want to open Pandoras box but with all the commercial sockeye netting going on in front of the Kenai what kind of impact does that have on the King run? how many get taken in the nets?

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    Default exploitation rate

    For late run chinook the exploitation rate usually falls between 16 and 28 percent of the return. So for every 100 late run Kenai chinook swimming up Cook Inlet 16-28 fish are caught in the gill nets. Of these in most years the percentage of fish less than 28 inches is very high because of the mesh size used in the fishery.

    Hope this answers your question.

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    From another perspective...

    When the sockeye fishery is in full swing, it just happens to coincide with peak chinook passage. Every day of gillnetting by the east-side setnets will intercept 800-1200 kings per day. Over the course of a season, this has resulted in as many as 23K kings taken by the ESSN's.

    And while I would concede the mesh is supposedly "selective" for gilling fish under 28" (kings that are about the size and shape of a typical Cook Inlet sockeye) larger chinook have prominent physical features (teeth, jaws, fins) that are easily ensnared/tangled in setnet gear. In other words large fish will comprise a significant portion of the catch as well.
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    [QUOTE=fishNphysician;468842]From another perspective...

    When the sockeye fishery is in full swing, it just happens to coincide with peak chinook passage. Every day of gillnetting by the east-side setnets will intercept 800-1200 kings per day. QUOTE]

    This is just not true fishNphysician. While catch rates can get to that number it is not an everyday event as you state. In fact, with back to back fishing the number of chinook harvested per day drops significantly. Also, the catch depends on how much of the beach is fishing. One half mile vs full fishery, south of the Blanchard line, and so forth.

    Also, the 800-1200 chinook you use are taken over 80 miles of beach. These fish would not all enter the river on the same day. Travel time from the southern beach can be 7 days or more.

    Lets not confuse people doc. The exploitation rate for the season is the issue and it is very low for a gill net fishery because of mesh size and how the fishery is conducted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    The exploitation rate for the season is the issue and it is very low for a gill net fishery because of mesh size and how the fishery is conducted.
    Actually I have heard that the impact of extended periods of commercial fishing that substantially reduce numbers of kings entering the rivers during that period is an issue to many sport anglers as well.

    From a commercial fishery yield perspective it is indeed about total exploitation rates as Nerka states. However, from an inriver recreational fishery perspective it is about maintaining a regular supply of fish to feed the fishery.

    Different needs and values of the two fisheries are what make it so difficult to achieve a balance that works for both. (And also why this thread is inevitably about to go down in flames.)

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    My younger brother operates 12 set net sights between the Kenai and the Kasilof river. He has run these sites since at least as far back as the Exxon Valdez spill. These sites are among the several in question here.

    The fishing has been poor for several years out there. The net size is geared towards Sockeye, there is an occasional King that gets caught but no where near what has been represented below.

    Last year I was visiting and went out to pull nets on one tide. Twelve nets had one King, it weighed 52 pounds. Last years entire season which is heavily moderated by Fish and Game only netted five kings and thousands of Sockeye.

    In contrast, my wife and I chartered with a Kenai river guide and caught two Kings in less than two hours. Mine was average, about 35 pounds, hers was very nice, close to 50.

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    [QUOTE=Nerka;469110]
    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    From another perspective...

    When the sockeye fishery is in full swing, it just happens to coincide with peak chinook passage. Every day of gillnetting by the east-side setnets will intercept 800-1200 kings per day. QUOTE]

    This is just not true fishNphysician. While catch rates can get to that number it is not an everyday event as you state. In fact, with back to back fishing the number of chinook harvested per day drops significantly. Also, the catch depends on how much of the beach is fishing. One half mile vs full fishery, south of the Blanchard line, and so forth.

    Also, the 800-1200 chinook you use are taken over 80 miles of beach. These fish would not all enter the river on the same day. Travel time from the southern beach can be 7 days or more.

    Lets not confuse people doc. The exploitation rate for the season is the issue and it is very low for a gill net fishery because of mesh size and how the fishery is conducted.

    I have always thought the explotation rate between the east side set nets and sport fishery where fairly equal? It is also my understanding that this small gear has a high fall out rate?

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    If anyone doubts the 800-1200 kings per day intercepted off the beaches at the height of the sockeye fishery, I will be happy to provide concrete examples once I return from San Francisco later in the week.


    And yes these are average numbers, day in day out, for a full day's fishing which is what I was referring to when I first said "when the sockeye fishery is in full swing". I felt no need to to get specific about 1/2 mile vs full fishery vs participation south of the Blanchard.... obviously more exposure to time and area increases the catch on any given day.

    Just in ball park numbers, if the setnets fished about 20 days, the 800-1200/day translates to 16000-24000 fish. That's about the magnitude of harvest the ESSN's have been taking in recent years, so the round numbers easily pass the "sniff" test.

    The only reason I even put the numbers out there is because kgpcr asked about the impact. While Nerka's exploitation rate answer was technically correct, from the perpsective of the average guy on this board, an exploitation rate is tougher to grasp.... fish intercepted per day is a LOT more tanglible.

    And whether all 800-1200 kings would have entered the river on a single day is irrelevant. The point is that they were prevented entering the river PERIOD.

    One thing cannot be argued. The presence of nets degrades the quailty of the in-river sportfishery. The absence of nets improves it dramatically. I must say that I've had the opportunity to experience the striking boom-bust phenomenon like never before in the past three seasons.

    2006 was the all-time best king season I've had on the river, 2007 my all-time worst, and 2008 the second best in 35 years.

    The most notable difference between all three years was the presence/absence of ESSN's during the week or so I fished each year. NONE in 2006 and 2008! Neither year would have been considered a stellar run, but the fishing was simply phenomenal because there were no nets to intercept them before entering the river.

    It ain't rocket science guys.
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    I have always thought it would be useful to plot the commercial king harvest against the CPU of the soprt king fishery and see how the numbers coorilate.. I believe that the CPU from the sport creel is more accurate way of measureing king escapement then the sonar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    I have always thought it would be useful to plot the commercial king harvest against the CPU of the soprt king fishery and see how the numbers coorilate.. I believe that the CPU from the sport creel is more accurate way of measureing king escapement then the sonar.
    No relationship - CPU in the sport fishery is impacted by variables other than abundance. Doc is just wrong on his point that less fishing time means better in river fishing - while this appears to be common sense it does not hold up - water clarity, time of season, entry pattern, size of the run all enter the equation. Common sense just does not replace science. I am not saying more chinook would not be caught but the idea one can make a straight linear relationship between abundance and catch rates is false.

    Bfish, if I could figure out how to make chinook enter at the rate sport fisherman want them ( weekends more than weekdays, non-guided hours more than guide hours if you are joe fisherman, during guide hours if you are a guide, not on Mondays but more on Weds. -) I would love to do it. But that will not happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    No relationship - CPU in the sport fishery is impacted by variables other than abundance. Doc is just wrong on his point that less fishing time means better in river fishing - while this appears to be common sense it does not hold up - water clarity, time of season, entry pattern, size of the run all enter the equation. Common sense just does not replace science. I am not saying more chinook would not be caught but the idea one can make a straight linear relationship between abundance and catch rates is false.
    No releationship???? Are you serious??? There is a direct coorilation in catch and abundance in salmonids esp w/ the high effort of sport king fishermen..... Under good conditions there certainly is a great coorilation between catch and abundance, when the turbidities are poor the creel would be very unreiable.......... Factors such as temperature and turbidity would be calculated to tare the CPU...

    So are u now telling the folks on this board that a sport fish creel is not science?????

    The effort is so high and the methods so effective in this fishery that I certainly think that the sport fish would be an indication of abundance when turbidities are good, or even fair.

    Many rivers are managing escapements according to creels that are much less accurate then the one conducted on the Kenai. Additionally, the drift net apportionment (in river test netting) combined w/ the sonar could be used to confirm results in the sport fishery.... An great example of this is on the Columbia R... The creel is one of the sole factors determining how much fishing time will be allowed and is ceartanly a useful too for fisheries managers.

    Speaking of the sonar..... Are you impying that the sonar is more accurate then the in river creel? The sonar is historically inaccurate when other species such as sockeye silvers, and pink are abundant. Additionally the sonar has been changed significantly over the years so that inter year comparisons are difficult at best...

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    Default What is your problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    No releationship???? Are you serious??? There is a direct coorilation in catch and abundance in salmonids esp w/ the high effort of sport king fishermen..... Under good conditions there certainly is a great coorilation between catch and abundance, when the turbidities are poor the creel would be very unreiable.......... Factors such as temperature and turbidity would be calculated to tare the CPU...

    So are u now telling the folks on this board that a sport fish creel is not science?????

    The effort is so high and the methods so effective in this fishery that I certainly think that the sport fish would be an indication of abundance when turbidities are good, or even fair.

    Many rivers are managing escapements according to creels that are much less accurate then the one conducted on the Kenai. Additionally, the drift net apportionment (in river test netting) combined w/ the sonar could be used to confirm results in the sport fishery.... An great example of this is on the Columbia R... The creel is one of the sole factors determining how much fishing time will be allowed and is ceartanly a useful too for fisheries managers.

    Speaking of the sonar..... Are you impying that the sonar is more accurate then the in river creel? The sonar is historically inaccurate when other species such as sockeye silvers, and pink are abundant. Additionally the sonar has been changed significantly over the years so that inter year comparisons are difficult at best...
    Ty, what is your problem? You are mixing sampling techniques, different data sets, and are wrong on your examples. First, I believe the sport fish creel survey is not done on a daily basis because of sample size. At least for estimation of harvest - I think they do it by week. I will check on this.

    However, the creel survey is for harvest, the sonar for total abundance of fish entering the river - two different figures so the question about one being more accurate makes no sense.

    So if the sonar is historically inaccurate then there is no way to relate catch rates to abundance which means no relationship determination is possible. You also say the creel is unrelable with turbidities are high. Why would turbidity impact an estimate of catch rates? I said that you could not use the creel to estimate abundance and you seem to agree with your statement about turbidity.

    Yet in another sentence you say there is a direct correlation between catch rates and abundance - I would like to see your data on that - any correlation coeficients, multi-variable analaysis what do you have given you say nothing is accurate or useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Doc is just wrong on his point that less fishing time means better in river fishing - while this appears to be common sense it does not hold up - water clarity, time of season, entry pattern, size of the run all enter the equation. Common sense just does not replace science. I am not saying more chinook would not be caught but the idea one can make a straight linear relationship between abundance and catch rates is false.
    I never claimed a straight-line relationship... angling success is obviously a multi-factorial game. But in-river abundance is obviously one of those factors, and when considered as an independent factor, fishing is just flat out better when more fish are in the river... at all levels of flow, at all levels of viz, at all temps, at all levels of effort.

    Anyone else besides me experience the phenomenal last week of king fishing in 2008? How about the abundance of coho that entered the river that same week? Haven't seen the front end of the early coho run come in so good in over a decade plus. And the exceptional coho action continued into the first week of August. Might it have had any relationship to the fact that the gillnet fleet was shutdown to conserve sockeye? Or was that just coincedence?

    All other factors being equal, abundance of fish in the river is the principle determinant of success. As a wise mentor once told me as a boy, you can't catch fish that aren't there.
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    Nerka,

    Let me see if I can clear up some of my points....

    1st you pointed out that doc is wrong and their is no relationship between in river harvest and "windows," day when the nets are not in.... Then why have windows at all??? KRSA did a nice job of showing direct relationship between increased escapement during time that the nets where out.

    Obvioulsy you must not get out there and fish too much.. The creel is conducted on a daily basis and random times and locations are picked to get the best estimate of harvest. Time of low turbididty and temperature directly influence catch.

    I will still stick to my point that there may be a better relationship between in river test fishery catches to creel sampled harvest then there is between in river test fishery and sonar counts.

    I am not trying to mix data sets or do an crazy voodoo chants...... I am illistrate that current system of measure could be improved and I can show u many reasons why.

    In an ideal world, king sonar would be conducted upriver, perhaps near sockeye sonar.... Of course gathering the inriver gill net species appreatiation would be more difficult.... King sonar located primarily below the fishery is less then ideal, combined w/ the fact that it is located in an intertidal zone where fish are tide flushing making count more difficult and increased amount of debris.

    For once would it be so hard to think about some points that someone is posting and go.... Hmmm, that is an interesting idea... Maybe, then you could even contribute to the great good of discussion instead of be littling everyone that has some different experience or idea's then you own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    I never claimed a straight-line relationship... angling success is obviously a multi-factorial game. But in-river abundance is obviously one of those factors, and when considered as an independent factor, fishing is just flat out better when more fish are in the river... at all levels of flow, at all levels of viz, at all temps, at all levels of effort.

    Anyone else besides me experience the phenomenal last week of king fishing in 2008? How about the abundance of coho that entered the river that same week? Haven't seen the front end of the early coho run come in so good in over a decade plus. And the exceptional coho action continued into the first week of August. Might it have had any relationship to the fact that the gillnet fleet was shutdown to conserve sockeye? Or was that just coincedence?

    All other factors being equal, abundance of fish in the river is the principle determinant of success. As a wise mentor once told me as a boy, you can't catch fish that aren't there.
    Doc to add to your post... I will point out that King sonar shut down in early August 2008, normally count continue at least untill mid August... Why do u think that is??? Likely the fact that so many Sivlers and Pinks where present that the accuracy of counts would showed just how inaccurate king sonar is when other species are present.

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    Default How many

    Kings did the dipnet fishery harvest? Our boat caught 5 in one week-end (six different permits onboard). Yes, we kept them all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    I never claimed a straight-line relationship... angling success is obviously a multi-factorial game. But in-river abundance is obviously one of those factors, and when considered as an independent factor, fishing is just flat out better when more fish are in the river... at all levels of flow, at all levels of viz, at all temps, at all levels of effort.

    Anyone else besides me experience the phenomenal last week of king fishing in 2008? How about the abundance of coho that entered the river that same week? Haven't seen the front end of the early coho run come in so good in over a decade plus. And the exceptional coho action continued into the first week of August. Might it have had any relationship to the fact that the gillnet fleet was shutdown to conserve sockeye? Or was that just coincedence?

    All other factors being equal, abundance of fish in the river is the principle determinant of success. As a wise mentor once told me as a boy, you can't catch fish that aren't there.
    Doc you should stick to your profession on this one. Take the sonar counts when they skyrocket and then hear the guides complain about not catching fish - look at the catch rates. I never said abundance was not a variable - your comment about better fishing when more fish are in the river just does not hold up. For example, if you plot abundance in the river over time - fish building up as the season progresses you do not see increased harvests per day. Why, because other variables are impacting fishing. Also, if abundance is the issue then why is the fishery moving downriver every year to get at new fish coming in - it is not abundance - there are more fish upriver toward the end of the season. Maybe what you meant to say that new fish entering bite better - that is not abundance based but behavioral based fishing. So please do not mislead people with these blanket comments.

    Relative to run timing and coho you make a huge jump on fishing last year and the commercial closure. You never mention run timing which can take an early run and make it look strong - the exploitation of coho by the eastside set net fishery is so low that you could not measure it with a closure at this time of season. Last year was more run strength and run timing than any fishery closure. Again, you need to look at data not emotion on this one.

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    I was under the impression that the sonar is shut down in early to mid Aug because the bulk of the late run is traditionally complete by this point. And although kings continue to mill around and enter the river occasionally into Sept, trying to count every single fish over the season is not the point of the operation, which just wants to tally the majority of passing kings, and use the data as a tool to potentially modify angling restrictions (amonst other goals, including long-term stock health status).

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    Default First Hand...

    Well, I could care less about predictions and data thats been recorded by a bean counter. First hand experience in both set netting, dip netting and sport fishing the Kenai. There is no doubt that fishing slows when "The nets are out" (typically what I hear on the river). But hey, the commercial guys need their fish too. I used to set net below the Kasilof and we fished 14 nets and yes we caught kings. Thats just the price you pay for both fisheries happening at the same time. Some say the larger kings get away because of the mesh size and some do, but let me lay out the facts.... A large king will get his teeth caught in the net if he doesn't escape before the tide turns it will suck him into the net. Many times you can see a king in the net because it will splash to the surface in the current. To a fish picker it's go time$$$... There's a technique to not loosing big kings when picking fish. Nothing wrong with it, it's money in the bank. I'm only a sport fisherman these days and I'm on the river almost every day in July but not for money just for fun. I have no bones to pick with the commercial guys or the money making side of the sport fishery. However, I'm not too fond of dip netting but I have utilized the fishery so I can't say to much or I'd be a hypocrite. It also brings revinue to our town which with my wife being a waitress I appreciate. I guess I just get sick of seeing the waste in that fishery. How many fish does one person need? I only take what I will consume and whatever is left over in the spring I will can for later. I do a lot of trapping and every year I get people asking me if I'd like to come empty their freezer for trapping bait because they have too much fish left over from last year and dip netting is about to open. Makes me sick!! I decline because it is illegal to use sport caught fish for trapping bait. I figure most end up hauling it off to the dump. Sad........ Management and proper utilization of a resource is a great thing for everybody. The kings being caught belong to the commercial fishery just as much as they belong to the sport fishery. Sorry for getting off topic.

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    Chinook sonar routinely shuts down early in even years due to being overwhelmed by pinks.... too difficult to censor out non-chinook targets.

    As far as Nerka's last set of comments (and I speak for many with multiple seasons of personal REAL-LIFE on-the-water-observations) very few of the seasoned anglers in the fleet rely on the daily chinook sonar estimate as a dependable gauge of real-time chinook passage. It's just fine for those who deal in the realm of paper fish. But for those of us whose passion revolves around the slimy free-swimming variety, our own eyes and experiences are a much better index of what's in the river at any given time.

    Sonar estimates for chinook are terribly imprecise during peak sockeye passage. The device is simply overwhelmed by the volume of reds, and this is directly reflected in the hyper-inflated kings counts whenever a huge bolus of reds pushes thru tidewater. Unlike August, the team doesn't have the option of simply turning the chinook sonar off or ignoring it while the July chinook fishery is in full swing. The device is required to make crucial in-season management decisions.... they simply HAVE to make do with a "best guess" until the sockeye pollution in the estimate abates.
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