# Thread: Fish Creek and migratory rates.

1. ## Fish Creek and migratory rates.

Actually, all commercial fishing set and drift was closed. From the East Forelands to Fish Creek, by looking at Google Earth, the distance is 79 miles. I have read that salmon swim upstream at roughly 7 miles an hour. Elementary math would put that at under 12 hours, if they were traveling against the current. The tide change from Deep Creek to Anchorage is 4 hours. Deep Creek is further south than East Forelands. Salmon can stay with a tide as it moves in- so it could take them as little as 4 hours to move from Deep Creek to Fish Creek, if they stay with the tide that whole time.

Willphish4food posted the above on another thread and rather than hijack that thread I started this one to discuss migratory rates.

Willphis4food is not correct here and I have pointed out in another thread that his assumptions are bogus for some obvious reasons but thought this data should be in a new thread.

There is tagging data available for Fish Creek sockeye done in 1983 and 1984 by ADF&G. In those studies the migratory rate of sockeye salmon to Fish Creek was 8.9 km/day (5.4miles per day-) in 1983 based on a sample size of 3 and in 1984 it was 11.3 km/day (or 7 miles per day) based on a sample size of 48.

So if Willphish4food wants to claim 80 miles and the above data represent something close to reality then it would take 11-15 days for a fish to reach the fish creek weir from the Central District. If that is correct then the fish saved on 27 July and 30 July are not even in the stream yet. I used 5-7 days in a previous post because that was the lower end of the confidence interval which made travel times faster. However, it is probably better to go with the average in this discussion.

2. ## good info

So the July 27 fish could arrive at Fish Creek anywhere from August 1st on. It will certainly be interesting if we see any more spikes in escapement.

~tr

3. ## I have to admit it, I'm confused.....

It seems that a number of folks are trying to correlate this year's return of fish to Fish Creek because of the commercial closure. If this is true then how does one explain all the other years there were closures and the returns at fish creek were subpar? What makes this year so different? Also, shouldn't we see large spikes of fish in other systems due to the closure as gr8fl points out?

4. Thanks Nerka. That's good information. However, I doubt it will stop some here from lighting fires, using misguided assumptions, and looking for any way to get what they want. As long as it continues we have a lot of work ahead of us.

5. ## not convinced

I'm not really convinced, Nerka. What were the tides and winds during those studies? How great is the confidence from 3 fish- is that a good sample size? If you were to throw out high number and low number as is done in many studies, that leaves you with one fish for one of the years. Were fish tagged throughout the season to come up with the final average, or was it done with one pod of fish? I would like to see what the winds and tides were when those studies were done, as I understand those two factors are very big when considering fish movements. Why is it so bogus to claim that fish will push with a tide, and not all fish move at the same rate?

Why this big amount of fish is important in Fish Creek is that Nerka and others have claimed that due to impaired water quality in Big Lake the Fish Creek red run can never recover. That commercial fishing in the inlet is not a limiting factor to Fish Creek escapements. They have yet to show proof that the commercial fleet is NOT intercepting a large percentage of Fish Creek salmon. And I posted this correlation between a weeklong closure of the commercial fisheries in the inlet with large escapements to Fish Creek as evidence that there is significant interception by the mixed stock fisheries, and that despite poor water quality in Big Lake the salmon can still return in high numbers. If fish can pass through the central district to fish creek in 5-7 days, then the weir count coming in so strong a week after the last commercial fishing day certainly lead one to think that there is a strong connection between the two events. 5-7 days IS within the confidence interval, as stated by Nerka, yet he still states that my assumptions are bogus and I am just not correct.

What is it- do we look at the studies and use the data, or don't we? Basically, if I say something that Nerka for some reason disagrees with, apparently what the data and studies show are meaningless. This sounds like a god complex- I'm sorry, but I serve and obey one God, and that God is not Nerka. Whew! thats good. Sorry dude.

I'm going back out to help F&G stay within its goals. I'll be back with some reports in the dipnet section.

6. If the fish creek run can never recover, then how did it apparently do just that?

7. ## Some fish are just idiots

I think we have a large amount of fish this year that are just bloomin idiots. Maybe they don't follow these threads or read any of the studies that have been put out. All I know is I did not blow any beaver dams this summer nor did I Kill any pike either. Those two points are always beat to death by some to show how bad the Valley streams are becoming.
So... I'm a little confused myself. To add another note, Pete Spinnell from spinnell homes has not stopped building out here by the creek. So what is the verdict cause I certainly don't know?

8. ## man what are people drinking

Originally Posted by thewhop2000
I think we have a large amount of fish this year that are just bloomin idiots. Maybe they don't follow these threads or read any of the studies that have been put out. All I know is I did not blow any beaver dams this summer nor did I Kill any pike either. Those two points are always beat to death by some to show how bad the Valley streams are becoming.
So... I'm a little confused myself. To add another note, Pete Spinnell from spinnell homes has not stopped building out here by the creek. So what is the verdict cause I certainly don't know?
First, Fish Creek has a history of problems with sockeye production. To the point that Cook Inlet Aquaculture has stopped stocking the system because of poor fry to smolt to adult survival. As I have pointed out disease such as IHN and poor water quality reduces production. I and others have never said Fish Creek cannot produce fish in some years but the probability is low given the environmental and disease issues.

Relative to the studies Willsphis4food refuses to even read them and then references 3 fish and ignores the 48 fish tagged in 1984. These fish were tagged through the season and the data are available to look at. However, for people like Willphish4food it just confuses them so they make stuff up.

Relative to the 5-7 days and Willphish4food. The closure was on 27 and 30 July not 23 July. In a regular season fish moving between 23 and 27 July would have moved with or without a closure. So calling the start date 23 July is bogus. The fish saved would be from the 27th and 30th closure. What is interesting on August 1 the drift fleet caught a total of 11,000 sockeye from all stocks in the inlet. Just how many fish from Fish Creek could be in that level of harvest - less than 100 for sure.

Finally, the escapements into Fish Creek was 50,000 total on 30 July and was 27,000 on 27 July. So if you use 5 days which is twice the average travel time the fish would have arrived on August 1st so the fish there by 30 July could not have been from the 27 July closure. Willphish4food, look at the data and try to understand it - and forget the one God bull on this forum. That is out of line - saying you are posting bogus data is the truth - you started this with a bogus posts about sockeye traveling to Fish Creek in a few hours.

Relative to pike and beaver dams that is a discussion for the Susitna River lakes and sockeye and coho production. Over 100 lakes have pike now and this year Red Shirt Lake had a weir on it and to date no sockeye. This system use to produce tens of thousands of sockeye salmon and due to pike they are gone. This is not something made up but real and ADF&G has numerous publications out discussing this problem. Chinook are missing and coho are down in these pike infested systems. There should be no confusion on this point.

9. ## Nerka, I have a droll sense of Humor

That was my take at humor, not potshots at anyone or anywho. Sometimes, my brother, you just have to roll with the punches. I view these forums as a learning experience but also at a place that I can get a good laugh too. Lighten up buddy. Life is too short.
By the way, Mr. Fish lost his Mother-in-law yesterday. Maybe send a Pm with your thoughts? Ken

10. ## Point well taken

Originally Posted by thewhop2000
That was my take at humor, not potshots at anyone or anywho. Sometimes, my brother, you just have to roll with the punches. I view these forums as a learning experience but also at a place that I can get a good laugh too. Lighten up buddy. Life is too short.
By the way, Mr. Fish lost his Mother-in-law yesterday. Maybe send a Pm with your thoughts? Ken
Sorry, you are right. I actually hit your quote instead of Willphish4food's and just went with it. I am actually doing fine but company from 26 June until 8 August is starting to wear me down. Looking forward to a calm winter.

11. ## Fish Creek is Interesting....

I don't know about you guys, but I find it really interesting why a system that has struggled in the past has all these fish this year. There has to be reasons. There's probably a number of them.

I personally think that Nerka's numbers on the distance the fish travel is probably really reasonable. But, they may go faster or slower. Some of them probably got caught by commercial guys and obviously a whole lot of them didn't. Maybe they just weren't in the area the nets were at. Who knows? It is not like we can ask them but it is interesting to think that there probably was a large number heading to Fish Creek that got intercepted. Talk about a small system and a big run.

So what could cause this abnormal run. Is IHN termperature dependent? It has been rather cold the last few winters and even summers. Could this be a factor? Does IHN struggle to propagate in years where there is stong water flow due to precipitation and dilution into the system thanks to cold ground water? Does IHN has cycles of strong years and week years? Did the fish go slower due to water conditions in the inlet and the strong storms?

I know, SO many variables and so few constants. It makes it very hard to really put a finger on it for me. Perhaps I too need to start drinking so I can have more to offer in hear Who am I kidding.....if I did that I couldn't even type. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law Nerka. Times like that are tough.

Have a good one guys!

Tim

12. ## TR Bauer

It was Mr. fish's Mother-in-law that passed. I just threw that into Nerka's post so he and others would be so inclined, to send a private message to Mr.Fish and say what they thought. Mr. Fish is a great source of info on these boards and chirps in when he thinks it is right. He is a past BOF member but I will not say any more, since we all should be able to hide behind a moniker, is we want to. Enough said.
Hey Nerka, Board up that spare bedroom or turn it into a saltwater Aquirium. My .02 sense worth

13. Originally Posted by thewhop2000
It was Mr. fish's Mother-in-law that passed. I just threw that into Nerka's post so he and others would be so inclined, to send a private message to Mr.Fish and say what they thought. Mr. Fish is a great source of info on these boards and chirps in when he thinks it is right. He is a past BOF member but I will not say any more, since we all should be able to hide behind a moniker, is we want to. Enough said.
Hey Nerka, Board up that spare bedroom or turn it into a saltwater Aquirium. My .02 sense worth

I need to read more carefully. Mr Fish is in here a lot....my mother would tell him to keep his fingers out of his mouth.....LOL

14. ## Other who can answer better.

Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer
I don't know about you guys, but I find it really interesting why a system that has struggled in the past has all these fish this year. There has to be reasons. There's probably a number of them.

I personally think that Nerka's numbers on the distance the fish travel is probably really reasonable. But, they may go faster or slower. Some of them probably got caught by commercial guys and obviously a whole lot of them didn't. Maybe they just weren't in the area the nets were at. Who knows? It is not like we can ask them but it is interesting to think that there probably was a large number heading to Fish Creek that got intercepted. Talk about a small system and a big run.

So what could cause this abnormal run. Is IHN termperature dependent? It has been rather cold the last few winters and even summers. Could this be a factor? Does IHN struggle to propagate in years where there is stong water flow due to precipitation and dilution into the system thanks to cold ground water? Does IHN has cycles of strong years and week years? Did the fish go slower due to water conditions in the inlet and the strong storms?

I know, SO many variables and so few constants. It makes it very hard to really put a finger on it for me. Perhaps I too need to start drinking so I can have more to offer in hear Who am I kidding.....if I did that I couldn't even type. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law Nerka. Times like that are tough.

Have a good one guys!

Tim
There are others who have studied Fish Creek in more detail that can answer your questions and I will contact some of them. Relative to IHN my understanding is that it hits primarily in the Fish Creek smolt as they outmigrate. It can be triggered by stress so smolting is stressful and of course environmental conditions can stress fish - water temperature for example. Also, when fish are crowded IHN can break out. So you can see why one year could be poor and another fine.

One thing we have not discussed in that Fish Creek fish are small and they tend to go through the nets. We found this out with some sampling for age and scale patterns.

Here is a figure I hope everyone can relate. The drift gill net fleet harvested 1 million sockeye this year - the total sockeye return to the inlet is probably around 3.3 million (set net harvest 1 million, escapement to all systems 1.3 million). So the drift fleet exploited sockeye salmon at about 30%. That is not very high and we know that few Fish Creek fish get to the east side set nets. So again, there is just no way that two periods closed can explain the good return to Fish Creek. It just that Fish Creek produced a good return this year.

15. Originally Posted by Nerka
There are others who have studied Fish Creek in more detail that can answer your questions and I will contact some of them. Relative to IHN my understanding is that it hits primarily in the Fish Creek smolt as they outmigrate. It can be triggered by stress so smolting is stressful and of course environmental conditions can stress fish - water temperature for example. Also, when fish are crowded IHN can break out. So you can see why one year could be poor and another fine.

One thing we have not discussed in that Fish Creek fish are small and they tend to go through the nets. We found this out with some sampling for age and scale patterns.

Here is a figure I hope everyone can relate. The drift gill net fleet harvested 1 million sockeye this year - the total sockeye return to the inlet is probably around 3.3 million (set net harvest 1 million, escapement to all systems 1.3 million). So the drift fleet exploited sockeye salmon at about 30%. That is not very high and we know that few Fish Creek fish get to the east side set nets. So again, there is just no way that two periods closed can explain the good return to Fish Creek. It just that Fish Creek produced a good return this year.
Thanks Nerka

16. let us not forget that in 2008 drift and setnets were shut down onJuly 24 through the remainder of the sockeye season yet the fish creek escapement was only about 20,000

17. ## Run entry

Originally Posted by willphish4food
I would like to see what the winds and tides were when those studies were done, as I understand those two factors are very big when considering fish movements. Why is it so bogus to claim that fish will push with a tide, and not all fish move at the same rate?
While I'm not familiar with Cook Inlet per se, I have gillnetted salmon for 40 years now and have observed salmon run entry from The Columbia River, Willapa Bay, and Grays Harbor Bay in Washington, and The Copper River Delta, Prince William Sound, and Kodiak in Alaska. While salmon may travel at speeds up to 7 mph in rivers depending on river level and flow, that is usually not the case while they are still in salt water. They meander. They feed. They check out streams other than their home stream. They spend time in inter tidal areas as their bodies change to allow them to survive in fresh water again. And if conditions aren't right (water temperature, water flow) they will mill around in a giant holding pattern waiting for the right time to enter the stream. Sure they will move with the tide closer to their destination, but they will also ebb back away if they aren't ready to enter. They like to get in the general area and sniff things out. Watch schools of salmon in salt water. You will see they are in no hurry to get anywhere. Once they are above tide water, that's where they start to get a sense of urgency. Esther Hatchery chums are a good example and so are Main Bay Reds. The fish will show up and go right by the hatchery and mill about sometimes more than 20 miles away. The chums will stage up past the north end of Esther Pass and the Main Bay reds come up that way too. Sometimes there are large schools at the North end of Culross Pass. When I fished Washington in the 70's we had a summer season on Grays Harbor and on Willapa Bay where we fished Columbia River Kings and Silvers that flooded over the bars feeding on baitfish. Some nights we'd catch hundreds. Weeks later we'd be fishing the same fish on the Columbia. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Fish Creek sockeye spend time between Tyonek and the Su or up Turnagin Arm.

The point is, in salt water, they take their sweet time.

18. ## my original point

This was my original point: there seemed to be a very strong correlation between a weeklong district wide set and drift gillnet closure and a 13,000 fish weir count in Fish Creek.

Nerka- "Relative to the 5-7 days and Willphish4food. The closure was on 27 and 30 July not 23 July. In a regular season fish moving between 23 and 27 July would have moved with or without a closure. So calling the start date 23 July is bogus. The fish saved would be from the 27th and 30th closure. What is interesting on August 1 the drift fleet caught a total of 11,000 sockeye from all stocks in the inlet. Just how many fish from Fish Creek could be in that level of harvest - less than 100 for sure.

Finally, the escapements into Fish Creek was 50,000 total on 30 July and was 27,000 on 27 July. So if you use 5 days which is twice the average travel time the fish would have arrived on August 1st so the fish there by 30 July could not have been from the 27 July closure. Willphish4food, look at the data and try to understand it - and forget the one God bull on this forum. That is out of line - saying you are posting bogus data is the truth - you started this with a bogus posts about sockeye traveling to Fish Creek in a few hours."
I disagree with Nerka's assessment that the only fish "saved" came from the 27th and 30th closures. The last open commercial fishing period was July 23rd. Therefore, salmon had unimpeded passage from 7 pm July 23rd to 7 am August 1. You cannot start the clock at July 27th, the first closure, as Nerka is saying, because the fish had already been in transit for 4 days. It is not impossible, and my information put forward is not bogus; the correlation exists, and it is very possible that the dipnet surplus of salmon in Fish Creek got there because of commercial closures due to low Kenai escapements.

Twodux, good post. Fish do mill. Sometimes for days, sometimes weeks, sometimes not at all. The overall average of all fish travel in the 2 studies was 5 and 7 miles per day. That does not show what the max travel time in any day was. A group of fish milling in an area for a while could suddenly move a much further distance than 7 miles, then stop and mill around, or even move back the way it came. They're fish, thats what they do. Given that, my scenarios are not "bogus", and its very reasonable to believe that in 7 days fish could travel 70-100 miles. There is a range of error in all studies, and that travel time falls within that field, per Nerka-

"I used 5-7 days in a previous post because that was the lower end of the confidence interval which made travel times faster. However, it is probably better to go with the average in this discussion."

Yup, if you use the average you can claim my contentions are just bogus. By staying within the confidence interval, or in other words, looking at all the data in the study, my claims are very valid and supported by the studies. You can't have that, though. You must be able to claim that I'm just spewing bogus rot- and you can only do that if you "go with the average in this discussion." Good show, lad.

19. ## still bogus

Originally Posted by willphish4food
This was my original point: there seemed to be a very strong correlation between a weeklong district wide set and drift gillnet closure and a 13,000 fish weir count in Fish Creek.

I disagree with Nerka's assessment that the only fish "saved" came from the 27th and 30th closures. The last open commercial fishing period was July 23rd. Therefore, salmon had unimpeded passage from 7 pm July 23rd to 7 am August 1. You cannot start the clock at July 27th, the first closure, as Nerka is saying, because the fish had already been in transit for 4 days. It is not impossible, and my information put forward is not bogus; the correlation exists, and it is very possible that the dipnet surplus of salmon in Fish Creek got there because of commercial closures due to low Kenai escapements.

Twodux, good post. Fish do mill. Sometimes for days, sometimes weeks, sometimes not at all. The overall average of all fish travel in the 2 studies was 5 and 7 miles per day. That does not show what the max travel time in any day was. A group of fish milling in an area for a while could suddenly move a much further distance than 7 miles, then stop and mill around, or even move back the way it came. They're fish, thats what they do. Given that, my scenarios are not "bogus", and its very reasonable to believe that in 7 days fish could travel 70-100 miles. There is a range of error in all studies, and that travel time falls within that field, per Nerka-

"I used 5-7 days in a previous post because that was the lower end of the confidence interval which made travel times faster. However, it is probably better to go with the average in this discussion."

Yup, if you use the average you can claim my contentions are just bogus. By staying within the confidence interval, or in other words, looking at all the data in the study, my claims are very valid and supported by the studies. You can't have that, though. You must be able to claim that I'm just spewing bogus rot- and you can only do that if you "go with the average in this discussion." Good show, lad.
Now you want to make up some super fish that mills around the Central District and then travels at speeds not recorded for sustained travel. Willphish4food, you are reaching beyound rationale thought.

Relative to the closure you made the claim that the closure caused the increased escapement this year to Fish Creek. You cannot claim fish that moved before the 27th as that is normal fish management in UCI. You are claiming that if the fleet fished on the 27th you would not have seen the high escapements. That is your claim and it is bogus. For it to be accurate fish moving after the 23rd and between the 27th and 30th would have had to been caught in large numbers in the drift or set gill nets. As I have pointed out the overall exploitation rate is low for Fish Creek and therefore a single closure cannot explain the escapement levels. Try as you might you cannot make that claim Willphish4food but as I said when I started this discussion this is not about making you see the light but for others who have an open mind.

20. Where can I find the data on overall exploitation rate for Fish Creek?

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