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Thread: Kenai Kings, What do the counts mean?

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    Default Kenai Kings, What do the counts mean?

    I looked on the webiste for the state and i cant make sense of the graphs. Is the run ahead of last year or behind?

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    If I am reading it right the sonar counter says it's ahead, the test net catch compared to the sonar count shows its flat, or that is about even with last year, until you factor in the amount of test net effort, then it shows it lagging behind last year, and the creel survey shows it lagging behind, possibly due to low angler participation. With that being said, up until the last few days the water was very low and clear which usually contributes a positive effect on catch rates. So, at this point, the count is about as clear as the Killey to me. Let's hope the sonar is right and that the other indicators aren't.

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    Looks slightly below average with another bumper year of early run reds.... The low cold water is likely holding back kings from entering the river. Low effort in the fishery mean low catches and now with hooligan appearing and the water quality poor fishing wont pick up until river clears up and flows stabalize again.
    Something to keep in mind is that the sonar is historically inaccurate when larger numbers of reds.. Multi-species just simply doesn't work well for sonar counts anywhere.....

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    I think the past sonar inaccuracies supposed to be lessend with the new technology. I think they are running two seperate sonars this year, the old system and the didson, with that and taking more time to analyze the data I would hope that the managers are more confident in the numbers they are posting. Knowing the managers, they will error on the conservative side, but they still have a management plan to follow. I would expect then to watch the run for a week or so and see how it develops.

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    Not rocket science guys. With the exception of recreational CPUE, all the other indices are tracking ahead of last year.

    ELSD is the best since 2003 and well above the most recent 10 yr avg.

    Net apportioned sonar is the best since 2005 and comparable to the most recent 10 yr avg.

    So far I'm likin' what I see.

    The rec-CPUE is probably being skewed by reduced effort and less than ideal conditions... ain't many guys fishing and their effort probably does not accurately represent the true potential fishing power of the fleet.
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    Insanely good sockeye numbers going past the test net.

    So far, they're outnumbering chinook by a factor of 11:1.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCo...n.kenaiChinook
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    Fishery Update

    Catch rates of king salmon have remained stable however are below average. Capture of smaller, younger king salmon in the netting program has increased recently, and has been consistent with the catch observed in the sport fishery. Catches of early-run sockeye in the netting program remain high.

    **********

    Currently all indices used to assess early run Kenai king salmon indicate that there is no justification to liberalize the fishery such as allow the use of bait to achieve the optimum escapement goal. The fishery will continue to be managed by standard/normal regulations until the department can project with certainty, using the combination of all indices of king salmon abundance, that the optimum escapement goal will be achieved when the early-run is complete.
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    I understand that KRSA is fighting for bait based on the ELSD counts, which do not track with anything. Also ADF&G is saying about 2000 fish in the river vs the 7000 of the sonar. What a mess. Again, the independent review pointed out that split beam should not be used but here it is in the reports. Second, it is the only count in the local paper. The high counts misleads the public who read the paper and maybe this is intentional to keep people paying for guide services and lodging.

    The independent review said to move the site to where sockeye are closer to the bank. No movement on ADF&G to do this - they are still trying to make silk purse out of a sows ear. Do not count on the Didson to help. A small chinook and large sockeye are the same and thus lots of sockeye can look like chinook.

    Sometimes technology cannot overcome basic biology and I believe this is the case with the ADF&G sonar counters - regardless of model and make.

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    I would find it hard to believe that when considering all the data, including the 7000 number possibly being 2000, that KRSA would even consider stumping for the liberalization of the fishery. They certainly wouldn't be speaking for the vast majority of the sportsmen I know. I have not heard any of them say they think bait is justified. Most of the experienced guides and private anglers I talk to are hoping that the fish that are being counted are actually there, and that "maybe" the reason for such slow fishing is because we just can't catch many of them without the aid of bait, in spite of stellar water conditions. KTUU reported today that king fishing is good on the Kenai. Last week the Clarion reported King fishing to be good. Fish and game is sending the message that everything is fine. I sometimes wonder if the managers at ADF&G haven't been around long enough to know what good June King fishing looks like. Are they really happy with the current "status quo"? The reality is that it is very tough fishing, and by not more effectively informing the public of their potential overcounting of kings ADF&G is sending the message that everything is hunky dory, when in reality they are uncertain. I would find it disturbing if an organization like KRSA would push for more harvest if it wasn't totally clear that an excess of fish were present.
    Last edited by gotfish?; 06-16-2011 at 21:24. Reason: spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotfish? View Post
    I sometimes wonder if the managers at ADF&G haven't been around long enough to know what good June King fishing looks like. Are they really happy with the current "status quo"? The reality is that it is very tough fishing, and by not more effectively informing the public of their potential overcounting of kings ADF&G is sending the message that everything is hunky dory, when in reality they are uncertain.
    You and I had this conversation the other night that what we now come to accept as decent/normal fishing is a shadow of what normal/decent used to be. Here's a quote I love to post whenever I get the chance.

    "A curious thing happens when fish stocks decline: People who aren't aware of the old levels accept the new ones as normal. Over generations, societies adjust their expectations downward to match prevailing conditions." Kennedy Wame
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I understand that KRSA is fighting for bait based on the ELSD counts, which do not track with anything. Also ADF&G is saying about 2000 fish in the river vs the 7000 of the sonar. What a mess. Again, the independent review pointed out that split beam should not be used but here it is in the reports. Second, it is the only count in the local paper. The high counts misleads the public who read the paper and maybe this is intentional to keep people paying for guide services and lodging.

    The independent review said to move the site to where sockeye are closer to the bank. No movement on ADF&G to do this - they are still trying to make silk purse out of a sows ear. Do not count on the Didson to help. A small chinook and large sockeye are the same and thus lots of sockeye can look like chinook.

    Sometimes technology cannot overcome basic biology and I believe this is the case with the ADF&G sonar counters - regardless of model and make.
    +1

    ELSD is clearly the outlier index, and the one most prone to sockeye contamination.

    A precautionary approach should rule the day. Stay the course. No bait.
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    I really don't want to get into this, but the "2000 fish in the river" is not accurate, F&G is saying there is more than that. And there are other indicators that say there are more fish than that.
    But.....I am begining to wonder why they even run a sonar. BTW, pretty much the entire managment plan is based on the historical dual beam sonar results.

    What the heck are they going to do in July? I have a feeling the sonar numbers will be "good" in July, time will tell.

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    "A curious thing happens when fish stocks decline: People who aren't aware of the old levels accept the new ones as normal. Over generations, societies adjust their expectations downward to match prevailing conditions." Kennedy Wame [/QUOTE]

    SO very true Doc.

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    Updated today...

    Fishery Update 6-21-11

    King salmon catch rates remain below average and fishing is slow. King salmon captured in the netting program from June 13 thru June 20 were comprised of a mix of sizes and ages however approximately 34 percent; were smaller, younger king salmon (those less than about 32 inches in total length). Catches of both king salmon and sockeye salmon in the netting program have declined over the past 2 days.

    +++++


    Three of the four indices of early run king salmon strength are the third lowest of years 2002 - present. The ELSD sonar estimate of king salmon passing the sonar site on June 20 was 135 for a season total passage estimate of 8,656 king salmon.

    There will be no inseason liberalizations to the early run in 2011.

    Although no inseason restrictive actions are anticipated at this time, low and decreasing run strength indices dictate that the run will continue to be monitored closely using all indices of abundance to ensure that the optimum escapement goal of 5,300 to 9,000 early run king salmon will be achieved when the early-run is complete.
    The next update is planned for Friday, June 24.
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    Sonar index (ELSD) is the second highest for the past 10 years.

    The other three indices are at the third lowest in the same 10 years.

    So how many fish are we really talking about? And how do we go about formally determining that number? Majority rules? Split the difference? Throw a dart?

    Which number does ADFG defend when it comes to executing the management plan?

    Seems like either way they go, it's gonna peez somebody off.

    Maybe time to re-write the plan and re-define the enumeration parameters in light of what we obviously know is an imprecise sonar program? The plan is hard to defend when its very foundations were based on a faulty metric.

    Maybe time to re-think how the current harvest paradigm is structured? The unaccounted harvest of ER fish in July along with disproportionate exploitation of large, early-timed, mainstem spawners is flat out killing the river.

    What we've been doing the past four decades sure doesn't seem to be doing the fish any favors over the long haul.

    A hyper-conservative harvest approach for the next chinook life cycle would not be unreasonable until these uncertainties can be better sorted out.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Untill fishing for Kings above the Soldotna Bridge is closed, and above the bridge is single hook less than 3/4" gap and no bait nothing will help. Anyone fishing on the spawning beds should be flogged, most are stoned so that won't help. Would a hyper-conservative harvest approach be, close the river for the next 5 years to sport fishing for kings work for you, it would for me! Hope the bycatch reduction will help.

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    Regardless of where they are caught....

    If you don't kill them they WILL spawn.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Default Hmmmmmmmm . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    . . If you don't kill them they WILL spawn.
    Well, maybe and maybe not.

    Nature has equipped those fish entering fresh water to spawn with enough energy reserves to accomplish that purpose. How many times need a fish be caught and released before it no longer retains enough vigor to dig a redd and spawn?

    Once? Twice? How many? How many before the next generation is low-holed for the sake of thrills (and money)?

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    Doc, really like the Wame quote, thanks.

    Also, Marcus does make a good point I think on C&R possibly affecting spawning success and that just not "killing" spawners means they "will" all spawn.

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    Thumbs down The Collapsing Kenai . .

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Doc, . . C&R possibly affecting spawning success and that just not "killing" spawners means they "will" all spawn.
    Well, right from the get-go we know that, what, about eight percent—one in twelve—of those oh-so-nobly released kings will succumb to the mortality of catch-and-release stress. Add to that number those fish that no longer retain enough vitality to dig a redd and spawn, and one can plainly grasp the negative significance of catch-and-release fishing. What rancher in his right mind so abuses his cattle while systematically killing off the biggest and best of his breeding stock? Duh . . .

    Truly the human mind is at it most disingenuous when trying to justify self-interest. As one guy 'fessed up' in a Salmon-Trout-Steelheader magazine article some years back:

    “Angling for large trophy gamefish has become the obsession of many sportfishermen. The thrill of hooking and landing that fish of a lifetime,... , is a rush...(...) One is rewarded with a sense of conquest... (...) The sheer elation must be experienced...”
    Whatever else might be said of the nets—dip-nets, set-nets, and drift-nets—they know fish are to eat, and not intended to be abused for the sake of thrills, a rush, or a sense of conquest. The fishNaddiction crowd and the guides who pander to such impulses for the sake of money might do well to step back and admit their impact on the fishery instead of trying to lay all the blame elsewhere.

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