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Thread: 2006-08 Kenai King Early Run Comparison.... Sonar, Harvest, Escapement...

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    Default 2006-08 Kenai King Early Run Comparison.... Sonar, Harvest, Escapement...

    Here is some information on Early Run Kenai Kings. Interesting that the Funny River data is not used for management purposes considering ratio telemetry data suggest that 20% of the early run is composed of these fish. Also interesting the high jack numbers in 2006 and 2007 Yet, there was not a correlation for those same age classes in 2007 and 2008 Very very similar pattern to what they are seeing for Columbia R spring chinook, strong jack returns yet the adults survivals remain low and or decreasing?



    It would be interesting when the 2009 data comes in and I am working on adding the age class data from the lower river creel vrs Funny R. Possible coorilation between high king sonar counts and large numbers of early run sockeye. Although, this is very complex considering that in 2006-07 the jack numbers where so high.

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    The above chart compares 2006 & 2007 age data collected at Funny R weir.... 70% of the early run sport harvest is less than 44"... So, it looks as though roughly 80% of the sport harvest is less then the new 46" rule.... Clearly there is not enough incentive to harvest small fish less then 28". If I where to chart the age data for the Killey this the chart would look very different however. Assuming that the rasio telemetry that get older every year is right that 20% of the early run is represented from the Funny, and assuming that the other small tributary early run fish exibit similiar age structures to the Funny, the current runs DO NOT conserve tributary spawning early run Kenai chinook.
    Ty I lifted this from the other thread as it is an excellent chart and thought it belonged on this thread about Funny River.

    BTW I e-mailed Doug Palmer about the dataset for length. He said the length data was collected mid-eye to fork, as is customary for ADFG research purposes.

    Curious, were the lengths in the chart above adjusted upward to reflect total length? If not, all of the points would shift over to the right slightly. That would push more of the FR4-o's into the old slot range.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post




    Ty I lifted this from the other thread as it is an excellent chart and thought it belonged on this thread about Funny River.

    BTW I e-mailed Doug Palmer about the dataset for length. He said the length data was collected mid-eye to fork, as is customary for ADFG research purposes.

    Curious, were the lengths in the chart above adjusted upward to reflect total length? If not, all of the points would shift over to the right slightly. That would push more of the FR4-o's into the old slot range.
    I could have told u where the data came from and how it was collected... I used ADFG convertion to change the length to total length... This conversition is lengths of Kenai Kings that go all the way back to mid 80's, so is a very reliable convertion and of coruse is sex specific. This chart was used for KRSA and KRPGA as a tool to illistrate just how unaffective the slot limit is for small tributary Kenai King Salmon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    This chart was used for KRSA and KRPGA as a tool to illistrate just how unaffective the slot limit is for small tributary Kenai King Salmon.
    CORRECT.

    The original 44-55" slot was NEVER intended to protect those fish.

    It was conceived to protect the larger, older ER5-o fish.

    Obviously not many of those were sampled in the FR in '06 and '07.

    Of all the FR fish sampled at the weir, only 2.3% were slot-sized. That's a 10-fold lower incidence of slot-sized fish compared to the mainstem sample. Basically that says the FR is full of dinks... which is what one would expect for a small, low-gradient trib.... any fish of any size can get there.

    It would be interesting to see the same data collected for Killey. Its less stable turbulent glacial flows probably select for a bigger burlier fish to power through the current. They would have to be able to move enough gravel to deposit eggs deep enough to be protected from being scoured by the less stable flows. I do know that Terry Bendock sampled some HUGE fish in the upper Killey and Benjamin Cr. back in the day.

    I still contend that a significant chunk of those larger, older ER kings are also mainstem Kenai spawners... phenotypcally bigger fish to combat the greater flows and to move and the bigger cobble in the mainstem as well as to deposit eggs deep enough to prevent being scoured out in the heavier flows. It just makes too much intuitive sense.

    As Nerka and I have been harping all these years, this segment of the run... large early-timed mainstem Kenai spawners .... shoulder a disproportionate exploitation compared to the rest of the run because they are exposed to the fishery for virtually their ENTIRE stream life. It is probably the most "at-risk" component of the Kenai's total chinook population.
    Last edited by Daveinthebush; 06-01-2009 at 22:58. Reason: by request
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    Default You are partially correct.........

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    CORRECT.

    The original 44-55" slot was NEVER intended to protect those fish.

    It was conceived to protect the larger, older ER5-o fish.

    Obviously not many of those were sampled in the FR in '06 and '07.

    Of all the FR fish sampled at the weir, only 2.3% were slot-sized. That's a 10-fold lower incidence of slot-sized fish compared to the mainstem sample. Basically that says the FR is full of dinks... which is what one would expect for a small, low-gradient trib.... any fish of any size can get there.

    It would be interesting to see the same data collected for Killey. Its less stable turbulent glacial flows probably select for a bigger burlier fish to power through the current. They would have to be able to move enough gravel to deposit eggs deep enough to be protected from being scoured by the less stable flows. I do know that Terry Bendock sampled some HUGE fish in the upper Killey and Benjamin Cr. back in the day.

    I still contend that a significant chunk of those larger, older ER kings are also mainstem spawners... phenotypcally bigger fish to combat the greater flows and to move and the bigger cobble in the mainstem as well as to deposit eggs deep enough to prevent being scoured out in the heavier flows. It just makes too much intuitive sense.

    As Nerka and I have been harping all these years, this segment of the run... large early-timed mainstem spawners .... shoulder a disproportionate exploitation compared to the rest of the run because they are exposed to the fishery for virtually their ENTIRE stream life. It is probably the most "at-risk" component of the Kenai's total chinook population.
    While over the last three years the USFWS has failed to sample any 1.5 fish on the Funny, they do appear in the video footage... Maybe, they are very large 1.4.... I find it ironic that many ppl believe this small stream connot rpoduce large fish....

    Of coruse Benjamin Cr has some monsters... In summer of 2006 ADFG last conducted genetic samples that should have some interesting age data. USFWS proposed a weir up there and the power at be where uninterested in the project at this time..... What a shame... Imagine what we could learn about these fish...

    What is curious to me is how many mainstem Killey spawneres are there?? The early run fish that staged at the mough to the Killey last year do u think they ran all the way up to Benjamin Cr? I think it is likely that these fish spawn somwhere in the the mainstem Killey and rear in the Kenai. In 2006 capturing these fish up the Killey they seemed to enter the River very mature and nearly ready to spawn... This indicates to me that there is a mainstem spawning componet.....

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    Default Here ya go!

    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    What is curious to me is how many mainstem Killey spawneres are there?? The early run fish that staged at the mough to the Killey last year do u think they ran all the way up to Benjamin Cr? I think it is likely that these fish spawn somwhere in the the mainstem Killey and rear in the Kenai. In 2006 capturing these fish up the Killey they seemed to enter the River very mature and nearly ready to spawn... This indicates to me that there is a mainstem spawning componet.....
    Definitely LOTS of mainstem KILLEY spawning going on.

    If you pool all three years of the Bendock data, nearly two-thirds (93/143 = 65%) of all trib spawners go to the Killey system. Within that drainage, 7 out of 10 fish spawned in the Killey and 3 out of ten spawned in Benjamin Creek. (67 of 93 = mainstem Killey spawners).
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    Here are a couple of problems that I see with getting more protection for the early run mainstem spawners. 1) There has to be some harvest on the early run as the catch n release idea did not go over very well when that was put on the table. By increasing the slot to protect more kings it puts the fishery on just that track.

    The Kenai is closed to fishing above Skilak Lake which is half of the entire Kenai River so some mainstem spawning areas are being protected. Spawning closure days and areas were expanded at the last BOF which will protect even more mainstem spawners. However this leads me to problem #2) Do we close more waters to fishing to protect the remaining mainstem spawners? Do we really want the Kenai to be open for a mile closed for a mile type of thing or...Do we close all known first run spawning areas such as Sunken Island, Fall n Hole, Farmers Hole, Swiftwater, Honeymoon Cove, etc? Do we close the Kenai above the Soldotna Bridge to king fishing? Do we not allow bait above the Soldotna Bridge? These will lead to more crowding among other issues so... I am just asking to see what your thoughts are on this.

    Remember that there has been no bait allowed above the Moose River thru mid July the last several seasons so more Killey River kings are being protected.

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    Just read the post by Doc and Ty. Wanted to point out that at the last BOF the area from below Third Hole up past Wally's Creek (Mouth of Killey River is in this location) is now closed for the season. Before it was closed from June 25 - mid Julyish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblue View Post
    Here are a couple of problems that I see with getting more protection for the early run mainstem spawners. 1) There has to be some harvest on the early run as the catch n release idea did not go over very well when that was put on the table. By increasing the slot to protect more kings it puts the fishery on just that track.

    The Kenai is closed to fishing above Skilak Lake which is half of the entire Kenai River so some mainstem spawning areas are being protected. Spawning closure days and areas were expanded at the last BOF which will protect even more mainstem spawners. However this leads me to problem #2) Do we close more waters to fishing to protect the remaining mainstem spawners? Do we really want the Kenai to be open for a mile closed for a mile type of thing or...Do we close all known first run spawning areas such as Sunken Island, Fall n Hole, Farmers Hole, Swiftwater, Honeymoon Cove, etc? Do we close the Kenai above the Soldotna Bridge to king fishing? Do we not allow bait above the Soldotna Bridge? These will lead to more crowding among other issues so... I am just asking to see what your thoughts are on this.
    Here ya go....

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...1&postcount=30

    Obviously this is a concept that you cannot write a regulation for... impossible to define how "ripe" is too ripe.... and forget about enforcement!

    This would have to be something entirely voluntary, sort of an unwritten code of conduct that permeates the entire sport fleet. Yes, change like this is possible, especially when folks are led by example and mentoring... guide to client, friend to friend, father to son. It's an education process. Would love to see this concept discussed as part of the curriculum at the Fishing Academy for the everyday Joe as well as the Guide Academy.
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    Doc, more is being done right now to protect the first run fish than anytime in history, we have the slot (perfect, no, protection yes), the Funny River season long closure, Slikok Creek season long closure, Moose River Closed to boat area, the newly extended in distance and time (season long) Thrid Hole and Wally's Creek Closure (Kenai Keys residents are not real happy about this one), generally no bait above the Moose River, no bait until goals will be met, no fishing in the Funny, Killey, Wally's or any tributary, no king fishing above Skilak and slot limit above the bridge until mid-July, that is what I can think of off the top of my mind.

    I think we are doing a lot to protect these fish. The effort that used to be in these areas is now being displaced to different parts of the river. After the last BOF meeting when Third Hole and Wally's were closed for the season (a major action by the BOF) I got a lot of e-mails from guys (non-guides) about how to fish the lower river. The subsequent reports tell me that all of these anglers were displaced to the lower river.

    IMO, we are doing a lot to protect these fish (that have exceeded escapement goals) already. More restriction and regulation will only force more people to the tidewater. If we are able to spread out the effort throughout the river it will be a better fishery for all.

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    Default talked to ADF&G

    I talked with Robert today and they will not go to bait until after this weekend if they go at all. Of course if the counts go up more than expected that could change. Just thought you would like to know.

    On another thread about Susitna I asked if people wanted to see sub-populaitons of early run chinook managed in the Kenai. The answer I received was yes but now I see posts that suggest users do not want to see mainstem spawners protected to the level they probably need. We will see what happens in the future but I have serious concerns about early run fish that spawned at Sunken Island, around SlikoK Creek and above the bridge.

    Of course until someone actually tries to go and look at these subpopulations nothing will be known for sure.

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    Nerka, do you not feel all the measures we have in place are enough? How much pressure do you want to displace to the tidewater? We continue to overescape the first run, how much opportunity do you want to take way from the anglers?

    IMO, the board did a good thing by balancing protection for the ER kings and providing opportunity.

    I do feel for the guys (average Joe) coming out of the Kenai Keys fishing for kings in third hole. Some of them have been doing it for longer than I have been alive, I would like to see them to continue to fish, even if the closure happens earlier than in the past (From June 25 to June 15 or so)

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    Default Agree

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I do feel for the guys (average Joe) coming out of the Kenai Keys fishing for kings in third hole. Some of them have been doing it for longer than I have been alive, I would like to see them to continue to fish, even if the closure happens earlier than in the past (From June 25 to June 15 or so)

    I'll second that!

    The third hole closure has displaced a bunch of middle river king fishing to the lower river.

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    Yukon, I think you misunderstand me.

    If you click on the link in my last post to iceblue, you will see a variety of ways one could go about conserving the very vulnerable ER mainstem spawners. Many of those things are already happening to one extent or another, but unfortunately most of the protections go away on July 1, leaving the mainstem spawners far too vulnerable for the remainder of their stream life.

    You could go about protecting them with even more regs, but as I said, that can only compress the fleet into a smaller physical space and narrower window of time. Bottom line, doing so would carry HUGE implicatons for recreational opportunity in July.

    The answer is NOT more regs, but rather educating participants about the very real issue of over-exploiting ER mainstem Kenai spawners, and adopting a more responsible yet voluntary code of conduct that reduces the "window of vulnerability" for those mainstem spawners. My plea to release dark kings is a perfect example of that code of conduct. I'd love to see the guide leadership buy into the concept. Like it or not, guide behavior sets the tone for the rest of the fishery.

    As we all know, peer pressure can be a very strong motivator. We've certainly seen it happen in wild trout fisheries all over the nation, including Alaska. Almost nobody kills a wild trout! It's certainly a huge phenomenon here in the PNW when it comes to wild steelhead conservation. Even where it's still legal to kill them, the overwhelming majority of anglers choose NOT to. Even though it's legal to kill a great big over-ripe tomato in the first 2-3 weeks in July, these are NOT the fish anyone should be willfully targeting.

    Maybe I'm just dreaming here , but one day I'd love to see an enlightened user group eliminate the routine harvest big ol' fire-engine red kings simply because it's the right thing to do.

    Yes, it will require more discipline and having to forgo the gory glory shot on the fish rack back at the launch, but it's something users are gonna have to come to grips with.... before the early mainstem spawners have been systematically extirpated from the population. It'll be good for the industry, it'll be good for the river, and it'll be good for the fish.

    Like the NIKE commercial says... JUST DO IT!
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    Is a well blushed King any good to eat?? If not why would you want to keep it? I would take a dime bright red of a well blushed king any day but thats just me

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    Default No I do not

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Nerka, do you not feel all the measures we have in place are enough? How much pressure do you want to displace to the tidewater? We continue to overescape the first run, how much opportunity do you want to take way from the anglers?

    IMO, the board did a good thing by balancing protection for the ER kings and providing opportunity.

    I do feel for the guys (average Joe) coming out of the Kenai Keys fishing for kings in third hole. Some of them have been doing it for longer than I have been alive, I would like to see them to continue to fish, even if the closure happens earlier than in the past (From June 25 to June 15 or so)
    I do not think we have protected mainstem early run spawners enough, especially those in the lower river.

    I also think the idea of balancing protection with opportunity is a great way to lose salmon populaitons and other fish populations. Users win that debate and opportunity takes the priority - the BOF has never had the discussion of mainstem spawners in the lower river. Just look at the marine fisheries on the east coast and gulf coast to see how user opportunity wins out over fish populaiton protection.

    Relative to the distribution of the harvest there is nothing that says the lower river fishery should fish 7/24 and the upriver areas get most of the conservation burden. A few closures downstream could move the harvesst back upstream. No one wants to discuss that option either - except maybe some upriver land owners.

    ADF&G needs to start to think about the genetic diversity of the different substocks in the Kenai River. They need to look at viable salmon population analysis to see if they have independent populations. This is something that should be done for all salmon stocks in Alaska. It would help focus management. Right now it is anyone's guess as to what is happening to early run chinook salmon in the Kenai River.

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    Doc, the topic of catch n release, releasing fish that clients do not really want to take home, keeping small 10 pound fish over trying to get a rack of 40 plus pounders, targeting dark fish, keeping bleeders no matter the size, and other items along this line are topics that come up during the weeklong KRGA Course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblue View Post
    Doc, the topic of catch n release, releasing fish that clients do not really want to take home, keeping small 10 pound fish over trying to get a rack of 40 plus pounders, targeting dark fish, keeping bleeders no matter the size, and other items along this line are topics that come up during the weeklong KRGA Course.
    A hearty << thumbs up >> to each of those talking points, iceblue. Glad to hear it! Those are the types of discussions that help harvesters become beter stewards of a limited resource.
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