Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 76

Thread: Kenai slot limit... your thoughts?

  1. #1
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default Kenai slot limit... your thoughts?

    The current 44-55” non-retention slot was enacted to help protect declining numbers of large 5-ocean kings in the early run. It was an important step in the right direction, however, many of the 5-ocean kings saved in May-June become fair game for harvest in July. These fish are believed to be the backbone of the mainstem-spawning component of the early run. Many believe that a major part of the problem in the decline of ER5-o kings is that these fish are being yarded off their redds through all of July. The legal harvest of ER5-o kings in July is obviously counter-productive to their restoration.

    The BOF addressed this issue partially by extending the slot out to mid July above Soldotna bridge. Yes, another step in the right direction, but still inadequate to protect ER5-o mainstem spawners. Here’s why.

    ADFG’s limited ER transmitter data from the Bendock study showed that about one in five ER kings are mainstem spawners and the median spawning activity took place July 19. A slot thru July 14 does not even begin to protect these fish thru their peak spawning activity.

    The transmitters showed that 27% of mainstem spawners use the lower river (RM 12-21, below the Soldotna bridge) while 45% used the middle reach (RM 21-39, bridge to Naptowne Rapids). If you look at those numbers and compare the actual amount of habitat available for spawning, there are 9 miles in the lower reach and 18 miles in the middle reach. From the standpoint of spawners per mile, the data suggests there is actually a greater density of lower river spawners than middle river spawners! The way I see it, mainstem ER5-o spawners in the lower river require just as much protection as those in the middle river.

    As one of the vocal proponents that helped to make the slot limit a reality, I believe strongly in the concept, but I am concerned that the way it is being applied to the river significantly undermines its intended objective.

    From another thread:
    The merits of the slot-limit in conserving large early run fish is unquestionable! The problem is not the concept, it's the way it is being executed. Lifting the slot on July 1 is like putting on a long sleeve shirt first thing in the morning to prevent a sunburn, then taking it off at two in the afternoon.... you're gonna get burnt! That strategy severely undermines the odds that the slot limit will achieve its intended purpose....
    Your thoughts?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  2. #2
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    First off who keeps a spawning fish really? Second, what spawning fish that has had lures dragged past its head for two or three weeks will actually bite? Third a slot limit does nothing to prevent catching spawning fish, which even with C&R probably leads to a very high prespawn mortality. Lastly the guides will never allow it.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  3. #3
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    First off who keeps a spawning fish really? Second, what spawning fish that has had lures dragged past its head for two or three weeks will actually bite?
    You gotta be kidding, dude!









    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  4. #4

    Default Curious about the upper size lmt

    I've been wondering about this for some time now, but haven't looked into the justification for the upper bound limit. To the naive, it looks like a move to cull the biggest (and to some) the bestest from the gene pool. Somebody straighten me out here, or better yet point me to some literature.

    A good friend that is a long time taxi says, on average he doesn't see nearly as many big uns as he used to. Do others share that perception.

  5. #5
    Member tyrex13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage/Soldotna
    Posts
    1,176

    Default

    Would eliminating king fishing above Sunken solve the problem?

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,073

    Default

    To my knowledge there has not been an ER king caught over 55". I am sure Doc has that data but I do not think there has been any. My opinion is that it is there just in case of a world record fish is caught.
    The current world record was caught May 17th.
    Doc, I am sure Nerka has the data, but I think there is more data showing that 5 ocean fish are not in trouble and that at the current 25% or so exploitation rate we aren't really hurting anything. That being said, I am a supporter of the slot, and have been, I am concerned (as you are) that in the 40" to 43" inch range there seem to be a lot of hens, most 4 ocean but many are 5 ocean, while a 46 to 47" male is really the same fish due to the "snout" is often a 4 ocean. (I have the RC 36? data in my office)
    I think there are a lot more hens being caught and killed due to the slot. Not to mention the increased effort now directed at the July fish. There is a lot to think about in this issue.

    AKPM, Doc is right, there are a lot of spawners caught throughout the river, but that is true of every river, it is not unique to the Kenai. IMO every king that enters the river is a spawner, each one would spawn if sportfishermen didn't catch them, they are all spawners. I have caught red fish with sea lice in tidewater, many of them. It is a very complex issue and I think from F&G's point of view, they don't care as long as they feel their escapement is being met. The tough thing to swallow is fish caught July 1st are counted as second run fish. Sunken Island holds a lot of those first run fish staging for Slikok. With the new escapement I don't think F&G is too worried.

  7. #7
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default What's so special about 55 and 44?

    The slot limit rule came into effect in 2003. Both the upper and lower limits of the slot came about after much deliberation, taking into account the biological and social realities of managing this run.

    While many of us pushed for no upper limit, there was a strong desire to permit the retention of the next world record salmon. That would be the main social consideration for determining the upper limit.

    The current record weighed 97 and change and was nearly 59" in length.

    My own length/girth/weight tables indicate that it would take a VERY girthy fish of at least 57" to top the current record. A fish with typical 3 x 5 Kenai proportions would have to be at least 58.5 inches long to beat the record. Depending on girth, a 55" fish might weigh "only" 75-85 pounds.... far short of the 97-pound world record. Because of this, many of us conceded to an upper limit of 58" to accomodate the retention of the next world record.

    From a biological perspective, a size-distribution curve was generated for every early run king ever sampled by the ADFG test nets in the lower river. The data showed that 99.8 percent of the run is under 55" in length. In other words only 0.2% of the total run was vulnerable beyond the upper end of the slot. ADFG sampling shows that every early run fish over 55" is male. If you look at just bucks, 99.7 % of them are under 55"... meaning only 0.3% of bucks in the early run would be susceptible to the hog-hunters. ADFG feels this vulnerable population reperesents such a tiny proportion of the run that it is inconsequential to the overall spawning escapement as a whole. So biologically they feel 55" is very defensible.

    The lower end of the slot was the issue that generated the mosted heated and passionate debate. That's a long story. The dilemma was the fact that there is considerable overlap in the size distribution for each age class. In a nutshell, it was a balancing act between generating enough savings on 5-ocean fish (the biological mandate) without severely impacting harvest opportunity on the 3- and 4-ocean fish which make up the bulk of the run (the social mandate).

    Suffice it to say that a singular conservation-minded advocate, ONE voice in a vast and empty wilderness, was able to prevail in securing a lower limit that actually saves a majority of the 5-ocean hens returning to spawn. And that's how we arrived at 44" on the lower end.

    Hope that puts the slot numbers into better perspective for everybody.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  8. #8
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    170

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Suffice it to say that a singular conservation-minded advocate, ONE voice in a vast and empty wilderness, was able to prevail in securing a lower limit that actually saves a majority of the 5-ocean hens returning to spawn. And that's how we arrived at 44" on the lower end.
    Interesting.......

  9. #9
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    Yes, it is VERY interesting for those of us who have a passion for conserving the giant fish that make this river so special.

    For the record,
    18% of ER5-o hens are smaller than 42 inches,
    25% are smaller than 43 inches,
    40% are smaller than 44 inches,
    55% are smaller than 45 inches.

    In other words,
    a 42" slot protects 82% of ER5-o hens by excluding them from the harvestable pool of fish.
    a 43" slot protects 75% of ER5-o hens.
    a 44" slot protects 60% of ER5-o hens.
    a 45" slot protects 45% of ER5-o hens.

    Biologic considerations favor the shorter lengths to conserve more fish to seed the gravel.

    Social considerations favor the longer lengths to maximize recreational harvest opportunities.

    It can be a tricky balancing act, but if in doubt, you really can't go wrong when the fish come first.
    Last edited by Brian M; 03-10-2007 at 12:40.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  10. #10
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    OOPS

    That last line in blue should have read:

    a 45" slot protects 45% of ER5-o hens.

    (too late to edit by the time I caught the error)
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  11. #11
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    My post was deleted in this thread for no good reason. Apparently calling someone who does something heinously unethical and borderline illegal a dissenting generalization is not allowed on this over moderated forum.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  12. #12
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Valdez, Alaska
    Posts
    4,402

    Default AKPowdermonkey

    3) Treat others as you would have them treat you. Netspeak: no flames. .....

    7) We do not permit negative comments about individuals, businesses or organizations.....

    You agreed to the rules.......

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  13. #13

    Default

    The slot is a great thing. I still relaease big fish into july. I caught my big king when I was younger, now I would like to have my daughter catch one when she grows up. There are plenty of other fish to be caught. There is still no better feeling in the world then watching a 60 pound king swim from your hands.

    It should be a season long event!!

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    5,639

    Wink Not quite. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    . . . those of us who have a passion for conserving the giant fish that make this river so special.
    For the record, Francis, it's fishing for those giant fish that makes the Kenai so special. Those giant fish simply facilitate, indulge, and pander to the notion that size matters.


  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    For the record, Francis, it's fishing for those giant fish that makes the Kenai so special. Those giant fish simply facilitate, indulge, and pander to the notion that size matters.


    Very true but do you need to kill them to enjoy them????

  16. #16

    Default

    Yup, size does matter in the state that bills itself as "The Last Frontier." The slot limit is a good thing and if it needs to be tweaked to make it better, I'm in favor of it.

  17. #17

    Default Hens getting whacked-

    From my experience it seems that a lot of large hens are harvested in the early run fishery- any data out there to back this up- Could a seperate slot on Males and Females be possible- or would identification and enforcement be to difficult.

  18. #18

    Default Good info

    Thanks much,

    Unless someone writes and says this isn't exactly gospel, fishNphysician explained the slot limit such that I think I've got it. It does make me think of more questions though.

    When ADFG constructed the size distribution probablility curve, did they look at how it has varied over time? Is there a trend?

    Since the ER fish spawn throughout the entire season, why lift the slot limit at all?

    Are ER and LR fish really different? Whats magic about July 1 to distinguish them?

    If one knew where good spawning habitat was couldn't it be discouraged from fishing those grounds?

    When Chinooks settle in on the bed they want, how much milling around do they do? Could a few key sanctuaries be established?

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    3,073

    Default

    Marcus, are you suggesting that we bonk all those big fish to rid Kenai fishermen of the "Those giant fish simply facilitate, indulge, and pander to the notion that size matters." mentality?

  20. #20

    Default Slot limit is a good thing

    I think the slot limit is a great idea. I too would like to see it extended for the duration of the season.

    An interseting idea that was posted was a different upper and lower limit for males and females. I like the sound of that. If different limits would reduce the exploitation of the 5 year old fish for both males and females at the same percentages, then lets make it happen.

    I will admit that I like the upper limit. While fishing it's nice to know that if I catch that dream fish, I have the option of tagging him, which I think is the reasoning behind the upper limit to keep the anglers hopes alive for the dream.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •