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Thread: Drifted The Upper on Sunday

  1. #1

    Unhappy Drifted The Upper on Sunday

    What was suprising to me is the amount of pressure still on the river. We must have passed by 100+ people between Sportsman's and Jim's. I'd say 60% were guided. That fishery sure has changed in the last 20 years. If the presssure continues to increase, I worry it will become unsubstainable. I'm not the type to say "it's our river, go away". God made it for everyone to enjoy. It's just sad to see something so beautiful get more and more trampled every year. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    BTW: Lots of bows and dollies(smaller 1-3lbs). Didn't see any silvers.
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  2. #2
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    Default Dido

    I floated on sunday for my first time and didn't really have any luck. Not much of a bead selection tho, so I was hurtin' there. Managed one 17" dolly but that was it. Lots of people catching the smaller ones though

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    ban beads and that river will be able to handle the pressure.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  4. #4

    Default

    We were on the upper river between Sportsmen's and Jim's last week for three days. It seems to me the number of larger trout (and perhaps dollies) over 3# has declined due to 1) mortality resulting from the cumulative stress of being hooked, played, released and/or 2) these fish having learned to avoid beads all together. And it seems that most of the fish over 18" bear visible signs (scarring, missing eyes, deformed jaws, etc) from being hooked repeatedly.

    If my observations are accurate, then continuing the status quo will result in very few large, healthy fish in the upper river, which might lead to a decline in fishing pressure since fewer fishers will be willing to pay the high price of being guided to catch and release small fish (and the nonguided anglers will also be less likely to fish the river as hard or as often).

  5. #5

    Default Me too

    Was there with probably half of Anchorage on Sunday. Totally shocked to see the guides still out as well.
    Wind made for difficult casting....but it was a great day to just be on the river!

  6. #6

    Lightbulb No Beads....Interesting

    I like PM's suggestion to regulate bead use. Before beads, it was yarn and flesh flies. Took more to entice them.
    We never really grow up, we only learn
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  7. #7

    Question CPR catch picture release

    The rivers up north have the same deformed-one-eye-no-jaw fish in them also. Flesh vs beads, doesn't matter they both catch em'. The issue is the population of people targeting them this time of year in a concentrated section of river, it's play-off season so to speak, for the fish and they are tired! I would seriously look at the pros-cons of catch and release vs the keep one get out of the river gig. I know guys that catch and release well over dozens of fish a day each trip, is that any better than keeping one and leaving the rest?????

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    [QUOTE=bobber;578752]It seems to me the number of larger trout (and perhaps dollies) over 3# has declined due to 1) mortality resulting from the cumulative stress of being hooked, played, released and/or 2) these fish having learned to avoid beads all together. And it seems that most of the fish over 18" bear visible signs (scarring, missing eyes, deformed jaws, etc) from being hooked repeatedly.

    QUOTE]


    Amen.
    I've said for years that catch-n-release is nothing but torturing a fish for your own amusement. People who brag about hooking dozens of fish, playing them to virtual exhaustion, and releasing them in a depleted or near-death state depress me. There should be no catch-n-release areas, period. If you're not catching for food, find some other way to get your entertainment.

    Just my opinion, based solely on how much I value fish and wildlife. You're welcome to yours. Not looking to cause a debate.

  9. #9

    Default

    Regardless of whether the catch-and-release ethic is flawed, if the fishery were to have an adverse effect on the rainbow and dolly populations (assuming of course that that removal of the larger, older fish has negative impacts, biologically, genetically, and/or ecologically), then we all have an interest in changing the way in which the fishery is managed.

  10. #10
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    Default It's not just the Kenai

    Many rivers that receive any pressure at all in even in Bristol Bay have the same hook scarring issue. Any spot that gets hit hard (Moraine, Talarik Creeks, Naknek, Agulukpak (and Wak) etc. etc. will have more than half of the fish having some noticeable mouth damage. However, if we went to catch and keep...there wouldn't be much fishing going on at current numbers in many rivers.

    Regarding playing to exhaustion...that's an issue of ability and line/rod size. When beading and swinging flies I use ten or twelve pound maxima and just this weekend on the Agulukpak I was catching some nice bows and once they were in my eddie (I was waded out to my knees so I had room to cast) I grabbed the line....pulled them right to me and popped out the hook...they had lots of fight left in them but I used an eight weight to turn them in the fast current and big enough line to subdue them before they were exhausted (ps, these were 21 to 26 inch fish). I see way too many folks who either don't know how or simply think you should play a fish until it rolls over before landing it. OR, purposely use a 4 weight in a bigger rod situation...kinda silly, it's not more sporting, it's hard on the fish.


    Most folks think I horse fish in...I think most folks play em like they are made of glass and then fatigue the heck out of them. Play em fast, keep em wet. ( this advice goes for lots of things )

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug from Anchorage View Post
    What was suprising to me is the amount of pressure still on the river. We must have passed by 100+ people between Sportsman's and Jim's. I'd say 60% were guided. That fishery sure has changed in the last 20 years. If the presssure continues to increase, I worry it will become unsubstainable. I'm not the type to say "it's our river, go away". God made it for everyone to enjoy. It's just sad to see something so beautiful get more and more trampled every year. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    BTW: Lots of bows and dollies(smaller 1-3lbs). Didn't see any silvers.
    Its not just the upper river with all the pressure, try & park at Binges landing this time of year. Lots of guides running up river past the lower Killey to the lake, you never saw any 20ft Willies up there fishing trout now its wall to wall, get the hell out of my way boat traffic attitude, do what we do or dont show up. Yip the fish are getting smaller and the boats are getting bigger, all for what?$$

  12. #12
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    The second post in this thread mentions landing only 1 small dolly in a day of fishing.

    This board is a service that allows many folks to catch fish that would not otherwise have the opportunity. From the perspectives here, I would say that a little introspection should come prior to banning beads and mandating fish bonking.

    I like to fish. I've seen more dead released fish floating down the Willow than down the Kenai. I don't fish the Willow very often.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    The second post in this thread mentions landing only 1 small dolly in a day of fishing.

    This board is a service that allows many folks to catch fish that would not otherwise have the opportunity. From the perspectives here, I would say that a little introspection should come prior to banning beads and mandating fish bonking.

    I like to fish. I've seen more dead released fish floating down the Willow than down the Kenai. I don't fish the Willow very often.
    You would see more backstrokers on the Kenai if it was similar in flow, width, etc. when compared to Willow. Not to mention the amount of eagles on one river/creek vs. the other. The dead bows are there.

  14. #14
    Member jockomontana's Avatar
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    Default go barbless

    Interesting thread here... though I think going to barbless hooks for rainbows and dollies would be a good start, as well as prohibiting fish to be landed on shore or even removed from the water, period. I fished the Upper for two days last week and saw too many 'bows and dollies being drug on shore only to be unhooked and kicked back in the stream... you people know who you are... use a quality landing net next time!

    I think the debate on catch-and-release stress should begin with our own personal fishing ethics, from the time we hook the fish to the time we watch it swim away; playing, landing, and releasing a fish is as much an art as pursuing them in the first place.

    try this next time: sparr or wrestle your fishing buddy for ten minutes, then dunk your head underwater for two minutes while your buddy fumbles the camera to capture the kodak moment. see how you like it.

    IMHO.

    "Hail the Supreme Beings!"

  15. #15

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    First step is to outlaw barbed hooks. I've never fished the kenai with a barbed hook, but have some friends that crimp them instead of using barbless hooks. With a barbless hook the fish doesn't bleed, and the hook comes out very clean and easy. A crimped barb tears up the fishes jaw and other parts. Some people don't even crimp them. It's sad.

    I haven't been able to find barbless hooks for sale up here. A buddy stocks me up when he makes in annual trip from the lower 48.

  16. #16
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    When it comes to return on regulations...barbless hooks are probably the least helpful of the options.

    First, outlawing bait and treble hooks is HUGE. Single hook artificial is the best first step.

    Fly tackle only ?....also helpful but the biggest thing is single hook with a gap restriction.

    Then outlawing pulling fish out of the water...I get hoppin mad every time I see someone flop a fish onto the bar, let it bang on the rocks and then flip it back in. Just leave the thing wet....sheesh, it's actually easier to unhook it with practice, rubber nets, also a good thing.

    Finally barbless.....errr, ummm that's a toughy and has met with mixed results in many areas I've seen it tried. Some tout it as an enforcement nightmare with law enforcement really having bigger fish to fry than someone who "forgot" to crimp their barb.

    Other than that, it's less hooks in the water. But that one is a tough pill to swallow, who gets to fish? who doesn't? I'm not gonna even go there.

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    I'm not sure that I agree with the premise of your argument here... You are assuming that trout fishery is in trouble, but I'm not sure that's true. I remember 15-20 years ago (i may be off by a few years) when trout fishing was really tough due to liberal limits on both bows and dollies. As soon as they restricted the limits the fishery responded very well. The presence of scarring on the mouths and eyes are simply evidence that catch and release regulations are successful in my eyes. I am all for proactive regulations, and I'd love to see a barbless hook reg in the near future, but let's not go overboard here. We still have one of the top trout fisheries in the world, and the trout population is very healthy. If there is someone out there with research showing that beads and/or boat pressure has put the fishery in danger, please share because I'd love to see it.
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  18. #18
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    Default here here

    Quote Originally Posted by markw3 View Post
    I'm not sure that I agree with the premise of your argument here... You are assuming that trout fishery is in trouble, but I'm not sure that's true. I remember 15-20 years ago (i may be off by a few years) when trout fishing was really tough due to liberal limits on both bows and dollies. As soon as they restricted the limits the fishery responded very well. The presence of scarring on the mouths and eyes are simply evidence that catch and release regulations are successful in my eyes. I am all for proactive regulations, and I'd love to see a barbless hook reg in the near future, but let's not go overboard here. We still have one of the top trout fisheries in the world, and the trout population is very healthy. If there is someone out there with research showing that beads and/or boat pressure has put the fishery in danger, please share because I'd love to see it.
    Ill second that.
    Go Fish

  19. #19

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    I used to think the fishery was in trouble at severals points during its "evolving" regulations. The first time I thought so was back in the 70s. What I have learned is that this is a very big trout farm with 2 huge lakes and several more large lakes in the larger tributaries, i.e. Upper/Lower Russian, Ptarmigan, Cooper, Hidden, etc., as well as having a ton of major and minor tribs. There is a vast supply of year round food furnished by the salmon, and a decent amount of protection from many predators afforded by the turbid water. I have steadily watched the angling pressure increase to the point where I no longer enjoy fishing it. I recognize now how spoiled I was back in the 70s and 80s. There were seasons that I would spend 100-200 days on the Upper Kenai. I was a fanatic! Back then, after August 20th when the red season closed the Upper Kenai turned into a ghost town. Frequently I could fish the entire length of the upper and never see another angler all day, occassionally I would see one or two others. We generally got to know each other and would give each other large berths. We would never land on a bar or section of river that was occupied as is common practice now. As word got out about the world class rainbow fishing available along the road system the pressure began to build. It built really quickly in the late 80s. I thought the river would be doomed by now. But what I have learned is that the fishing has stabilized and this fishery is very resilient. Over the years I have also watched many other anglers discover this fishery, become hooked, and worry that the pressure could not be sustained. I have learned to relax about it because I know it will be fine. For you guys fishing it the rest of the season keep in mind that the fishing falls off as the calender gets into October. The water cools, fish get satiated and sore-mouthed, some die, and many move back into the lakes. No worries the fish will be back next year. Good luck.

  20. #20
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    as far as missing eyes and ripped faces, you guys do know that spawning salmon frequently attack trout who get to close, and dollies, like all char, are very cannabilistic, as are rainbows to an extent. just like a time that i found a 19" lake trout in the belly of a 30" laker, so ive caught big dollies and arctic char with the tails of smaller dollies and other fish stickin out of their mouths......once on the middle kenai i caught a dolly that was 29" long, and half his face was gone, literally, the scars were really old and well healed, i caught him on a silver single hook vibrax #4 while fishing silvers. i am not a kenai trout guy, if i want trout i head north, where there aint no crowds and my favorite spots are only accessible by long walks through thick country on very faint trails that have grown back over every time i go out, and the holes are always full of trout, grayling and whitefish....i very rarely ever see another person, and most of those guys are local friends. and i dont do catch and release too much...ill catch my limit of 2 nice rainbows or dollies and a limit of fat grayling or whitefish if i can, and cook and eat em on a sandbar, or take em home and have em for dinner

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