Question for akkona on PU and Fish Creek
Easy guys, lets not get another thread shut down. I fished the opener this morning at Fish Creek. It was amazing to see the number of fish in the creek before it opened, and the speed with which they jetted upriver out of harm's way. I kept 18, though I could've kept all 35- I threw back a lot of red ones and dinks, as well as 4 silvers that were rapidly losing all their scales. I don't know why it is, but there a ton of very small fish that compose the Fish Creek run of today
The above was posted on another thread in this forum but thought it deserved its own thread. It raised some red flags for me and maybe akkona can answer these questions.
1. At the 2008 Board of Fish meeting I thought ADF&G put in a proposal to end the Fish Creek PU fishery on 31 July to avoid coho. Now we see coho are being required to be released and they are probably being descaled. What changed ADF&G position this year and the impacts stated about coho and intertidal areas being high mortality for releasing coho? Are you monitoring the coho release numbers so we know how many are impacted? Why not just have people keep them if in fact they are being descaled?
2. The fishery is selecting for large fish or fresh fish. However, if gill net web is in the net these released fish may be having a high mortality. What allows a person to catch and release with dip net fish. Should a regulation be in place to make people keep what they catch? Also, if there are lots of red fish being released and the dinks released does this represent an issue for the ADF&G or the BOF.
3. This question is probably not for you but the individual above who posted this has made the case for no fish for valley residents but here we read that he is selective in the harvest. Also he claims there are few coho coming north but here 4 were descaled which will probably die (he had to do this by regulation so no slam on him). Does this sound good to anyone? At least with the Kenai and Kasilof it is primarily fresh sockeye and the fishery closes before coho become abundant.
4. The management plan has a closure date of 31 July - was the Commissioner of ADF&G made aware of going outside the plan prior to the e.o being issued. I am just curious because he has stated during this season he would control the ADF&G position on going outside the plans.
I am not against harvesting fish in a PU fishery but the above post had some questions that should be answered.
Nerka, I'm with you
I was a little amazed that fish creek was opened at all. A few calls were made to the Palmer office a few days before the escapement was reaching it's 50,000 mark. People were told that the fishery would not open at all. Two days later, it is opened by EO, outside the normal July 31 deadline. So what changed? Who forced the Palmer's office hand and opened it anyway?
With gill nets being legal on dipnets, why should we be forced to release Coho that will probably die before spawning anywho? they opened the fishery, knowing full well the mortality rate with gilnetting.
This opener seems to be little thought out on it's ramifications. I'm asking anyone interested, to call Dave Rutz and find out what he was forced to change or instructed to do. Something is a little fishy around here!
I'm not accusing anyone of skullduggery here. I love it that fish creek is finally open after 10 years. Access besides the point. But what gives?
What preempts what?
The way I understand the fishery is that the BOF decision to manage within the goal parameters for one species (reds in this case) was more important than protecting silvers. In my earlier post, quoted earlier, let me clarify a couple things.
First, I was using a black mesh landing style net.
Second, the "dinks" I referred to were in many cases jacks. 12-16", with a few up to 20". This is a fishery to put meat in the freezer- filling a limit with 1/2 pound fish doesn't accomplish that. Fish Creek fish are mainly dinks as compared to Kenai fish, so my standards were set pretty low. With the landing style net a release is as simple as flipping the net- it happens very quick. Even with that style net, and being as careful as possible with the silvers, by the time positive id was made, they had lost scales. When I started dipping in the tidal area later in the week, the descaling was a lot worse, as many people were using the gillnet mesh- and they did catch more of all species with that style net.
The silver numbers at the tidal interchange, higher in the creek, were quite low until the last couple days of the fishery. I'm not sure what the escapement needs of Fish Creek are, but there are 3,000 fish past the weir now. Fishing for coho immediately following the dipping was good. Even with the dipping, Fish Creek is over the top end of the goal as currently measured. If the Fish Creek goal hadn't been lowered several years ago, it would still be within the goal range. I'm glad the dipping is over with- the percentage of silvers getting caught was getting too high at the end, so scooping up every last red to keep it within range wasn't worth the risk.
Fish Creek is already managed with the knowledge that the run is made up of predominately small fish. Fish Creek fish, being smaller, slip through the mesh in the commercial fisheries that impede their progress. (Italicized because that is quoting an earlier post) Net scars in the midsections of many fish caught attest to the truth of that. So it is not new knowledge that Fish Creek reds are small. I'm just not keeping the jacks, which slip through the gillnet meshed dipnets without ever being seen in most cases- beat me up over that if you want. Releasing very red fish from a landing net is pretty easy on them, too- their scales are hardened, and its just a matter of flipping the net over and leaving them go their merry way.
We get one post telling us that commercial nets are the reason Fish Creek runs have suffered in recent years. Then we get a post like above that says, hey, Fish Creek reds are known to be small, they slip right through the gillnets. I'm trying to decide how the gillnets impede their progress if that's the case.
But of course, some will sift through those small fish to try to find the few large fish that escape the evil gillnets. By doing that, we are genetically downsizing the salmon from the Fish Creek run and actually doing them a favor as more of them will escape the gillnets and make their way to a fishery that is meant to put meat in the freezer, even tho we don't want the meat of the "dinks" that we are creating. Pretty soon we'll have a whole run of unwanted dinks, but that's OK because we want the right to catch and release as many unwanted fish as we can even if we kill Silvers in the process. In the long run, all we have to do is blame the commercial guys somehow for the problem.