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  • Kasilof Terminal Fishery - how many Kenai

    With just over 217,000 sockeye harvested in the terminal fishery on Monday the 24th some people are asking how many are Kenai? I thought I would provide some perspective. Final numbers will come out after the season from ADF&G but right now they are not saying much. Inseason politics are starting to get in the way of good discussions.

    However, here is one way to look at the data. The Kenai River sockeye run right now is composed of about 42% five year old fish that reared one year in freshwater. Therefore, we can use this to make a Kenai estimate.

    In the terminal set nets the percent 5 year olds is 16.5 %. In the drift fishery it is 29 %.

    So if all the 5 year old fish were Kenai then the set nets took 16,500 and the drift 34,000 or a total of 50,500 5 year old fish. Since 5 year old fish are 42 percent of the escapement then the total Kenai portion can be estimated by 50500/.42 which gives 120,000 Kenai fish if all 5's that rear one year in freshwater are Kenai.

    However, the data for Kasilof show that 5 year old fish are going up that river also. Therefore, the 120,000 estimate would be a maximum amount. I suspect that around 50,000 Kenai fish will be in the range of harvest when this all sorts out. I need to get recent Kasilof escapement age data to see what portion is 5 year olds.

    So what does this all mean? It means ADF&G had no choice when they stopped fishing the set nets but to use this area. It appears to be targeting Kasilof but the drift fleet may be harvesting more Kenai than the set nets since they are further from shore. ADF&G maybe should think about reducing the drift area.

    However, with the counts going up in the Kenai (84,000) everyone may be back in the water by early next week. There is probably over 450,000 fish committed to the river - it looks better everyday but only time will tell.

    According to the management plans the sport fishery should reopen above the sonar counters when ADF&G can project they will meet the 500,000 spawning requirements. Since there was little harvest before the closure (there was no fish in the river) the turn on for the sport fishery above the counter should come before the downstream sport fishery or commercial fishery. Those fisheries are managed to reach 650,000 at the sonar counter. The upriver fishery has different management objectives.

    Therefore, they do not need 650,000 by the counters - probably around 575-600 thousand should do it. With a full blown fishery they usually only harvest around 100 -150 thousand fish at these escapement levels. Therefore, with a July closure they should project a much lower harvest and therefore turn on the sport fishery earlier - lets see if they do it.

  • #2
    Maybe CIAA should have stopped dumping 6 million smolts a year into the lake and we've have less of an issue.

    Let's hear some second-run king numbers Nerka? What's the percentage impact there?

    I know the answer, there isn't one. We don't know.

    No plan, no nothing exists ... except a study that after years and years of begging for is finally underway. I'm sure we're going to get accurate numbers from it given the Kasilof section / Terminal area schedules the past two years.

    Comment


    • #3
      Questions about possible opening. . .

      If they reopen the sockeye sportfishery, aren't they obligated to also reopen the gill net fishery?

      Could a reopening of the sport and gill net fisheries for sockeye be perceived as contrary to the interests of in-river charter boats targeting coho?

      Comment


      • #4
        Question for Bob. . .

        Originally posted by Bob Ball - Piscatorial Pursuits
        Maybe CIAA should have stopped dumping 6 million smolts a year into the lake and we've have less of an issue.

        Let's hear some second-run king numbers Nerka? What's the percentage impact there?

        I know the answer, there isn't one. We don't know.

        No plan, no nothing exists ... except a study that after years and years of begging for is finally underway. I'm sure we're going to get accurate numbers from it given the Kasilof section / Terminal area schedules the past two years.
        Bob,

        Are you suggesting that an aquaculture project involving six million smolt and its resulting industry, etc. be stopped for the sake of eventually providing in-river charters more kings for their sports?

        If not, what are you wanting here? Help me out. . . thanks. . .hang in there. . .

        Comment


        • #5
          correction for Bob

          Bob, if you read the ADF&G reports on CIAA stocking then you would know that at 6 million ADF&G could not even tell if it was just replacing wild production. When you look at the return there are hatchery fish but when you compare the 6 million spring fry with the 50 or more million spring fry that enter the system naturally it is hard to know if the fry are just replacing natural production. At 300,000 escapements over 750 million eggs are potentially deposited and if these survive at 10% then 75 million spring fry enter the system.

          This year is different to a degree because the percentage of hatchery fish is higher - the wild stock was impacted by the significant flood event. However, natural production is still the driving force. The stocking program was stopped because of the USFWS land classification so this discussion is somewhat mute.

          Relative to your quesiton about chinook in the Kasilof the answer is that last year was the first year they made an estimate - I believe the escapement range was 5,000 to 10,000 (I may be wrong on the exact numbers but it is in that range). They are tagging this year and to date the tag numbers are down but not enough to get them excited - I called and asked them. Also, regardless of exploitation rate they can tag fish and make an estimate - the confidence intervals may be wider.

          I tried to answer your questions - mine for you is how would you manage the sockeye salmon fishery to the Kasilof for high sustained yields? - that is the mandate from the State constitution. Kasilof chinook also have the same mandate. For the record at 500,000 Kasilof escapement of sockeye they do not replace themselves - therefore no yield. Kasilof chinook sustainable escapement numbers are not known but the run has sustained a growing sport fishery and commercial fishery. So this one year should not threaten the long term yield of the stock even if there is a high exploitation rate.

          However, a full discussion of the terminal fishery is needed and I share your concerns but I think everyone needs to back off somewhat and let the data come out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Terminal Fishery

            That is alot of info. If I understood you correctly you think the commercial guys might have taken 50,000 Kenai Reds and the "sport" fishery was shut down because there was not enough fish in the river. Do you have an estimate on how many Kasilof Kings the Terminal Fishery netted ? King fishing has been real slow on the Kasilof when the Terminal Fishery is going on. It seems as though the salmon are managed for the commercial industry first and the majority of Alaskans get a crack at what is left. Is that a fair assessment ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Marcus, way to twist Bob's words around. Did he mention anything about guided fishing???? They are killing a run of King salmon because they don't know anything about those fish. It makes no sense. That was a strong run by the numbers of fish that were hooked into in the past, now people, guided and unguided, are not hooking up at all and kings are not going on the dinner plates of Alaskan families. It is about biology, not economics. I know most guides and non guides would gladly stop fishing a stock if ment the fishes safety, even if it cost them money because they know the fish will be better off.
              I know you hated when the Kenai was on the verge of C&R in the first run. Everyone blames the guides and KRSA, but that is only a small part of the story, how do I know, I was there. The guides were willing to loose a lot of business if it helped the fish and build the numbers for the future. What is happening to the second run of kings on the Kasilof is a travesty, plain and simple!
              It also looks like they were taking a few more Kenai reds in the Kasilof district than everyone thought. Boy, that Kenai limit to one fish really did a lot of good, I knew they would catch more Kenai fish in the Kasilof district in one opener than would be saved by limiting sportfishermen to 1 fish.
              Bob knows that fishery better than anyone and he catches fish, a lot of fish, if he doesn't catch them then the fish are not there. I bet Bob could go through his books and tell you exactly how down the fishery is this year. It is just a shame that those fish will suffer because the research has not been done.

              Comment


              • #8
                Also Marcus, do you have any thoughts to add to discussions that are not anti-guides and pro-commercial fishing? All your posts are as if the entire river management plan is a conspiracy by the guides and KRSA to put more fish in the river for all this big outside money. You must really hate anyone that makes a dime from fishing, except a commercial fishermen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  some facts.

                  In the terminal fishery this year the sockeye harvest is about 600,000 fish. The chinook harvest is 3000 fish. If the terminal fishery was not in place and ADF&G still was mandated to harvest sockeye in the set nets then I suspect many more chinook would have been caught. So when one looks at the overall data it appears the saving of chinook was realized but those chinook may be headed for the Kenai - pitting one sport fish group against another if one does not fish both rivers. Relative to last Monday 217,000 sockeye were harvested for about 300 chinook harvested - a number of them in the drift gill net fishery which is further offshore - not all were headed to the Kasilof.

                  Relative to the sockeye sport fishery in the Kenai I believe the Department made an error in judgement but that happens in the uncertainity of fishery management. On July 25th they estimated that Kenai had 400,000 to 800,000 fish left in the return. At the low estimate and with the downstream of the sonar fisheries closed ADF&G would have made the goal of 650,000. According to the plans a full blown sport fishery with 3 fish bag limit could operate all season above the sonar at a sonar count of 650,000. Therefore, taking a little risk they could have kept the upstream sport fishery open with a 1 fish bag limit by emergency regulation. However, they were risk adverse and closed everyone. They were also risk adverse relative to Kasilof since they knew that Kasilof would push to the river in the near future. I believe no one thought that 217,000 fish would have been caught in the terminal fishery on one day although that type of push has been seen in the past - last year being one of them.

                  Relative to the status of the chinook return to Kasilof it is premature to say that the run is being wiped out. As I mentioned earlier the netting/tagging data as presented by ADF&G does not support that conclusion. In addition, ADF&G closed the terminal area today so the final analysis will not be made until after the season. It is time for everyone to calm down and wait for the data to sort out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Conflicting stories. . .

                    Originally posted by yukon
                    I know you hated when the Kenai was on the verge of C&R in the first run. Everyone blames the guides and KRSA, but that is only a small part of the story, how do I know, I was there. The guides were willing to loose a lot of business if it helped the fish and build the numbers for the future.
                    yukon: Concerning your claim above that guides were willing to lose "a lot of business if" making the first run of Kenai kings a c&r fishery would help the fish, I've got to plead confusion. Who am I to believe? You or Joe Connors, president of Kenai River Professional Guide Association? Here's Connors' version (Alaska Magazine, April 2004):

                    "There was nothing to hide, said Joe Connors, president of The Kenai River Professional Guides Association. Guides and the rest of the local tourism industry liked the idea because it promised a stable fishery, which is better for business. Few local anglers fish the Kenai in June because there are other local rivers where it is easier to catch a king that time of year, he says. So why not manage the early run for maximum fishing and benefit the guides, restaurants, motels, tackle shops and other businesses that depend on tourists?"

                    Which story do we believe? Bad for business or good for business? Who to believe you or Connors? Nor am I anti-guide. I have worked as a guide, have used a guide, and have friends who are guides. What I don't like is BS, especially BS in pursuit of special interests.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Salmon runs

                      I understand some of techno fish written here, however, after having taken fish out of these rivers for nearly half a century, my observation is....These enhanced Mega runs everyone has enjoyed over these last few seasons will not last. The river system supports far fewer inhabitants over the long run. Fish need food, when the food is used up, the numbers will drop, when the food comes back, numbers will go back up. Oh, there will be lots of number crunching and people having meetings, but in the short term, all that will happen is we will create a few more jobs. Trying to play god is complicated......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Making my case for me. . .

                        Don Johnson, an area fishing guide has a letter-to-the-editor in today's Clarion. Mr. Johnson makes my case that in order to let more second run kings into the Kenai River the sockeye fishery must be mismanaged.


                        Peninsula Clarion letter-to-the-editor, July 28, 2006:

                        Fish management backwards
                        (...)
                        On the positive side, many Upper Cook Inlet king salmon escapement goals have been greatly helped out by the resulting gill net closures. King salmon gill net interceptions appear to have been greatly reduced as a direct result of the gill net closures.

                        It may be hard to believe, but it looks like the incorrect management of Cook Inlet's sockeye salmon may be the only way for us to get correct management of Cook Inlet's king salmon.

                        Don Johnson
                        Soldotna


                        Don Johnson is an area fishing guide. As it stands now, 100% of first run Kenai kings enters the river, and 75% of the second run enters the Kenai River. What numbers would constitute "correct management"?

                        I'm not against guides as yukon suggests or accuses, but I don't like BS and I don't like greed especially when it's destructive of community harmony and area economics. More second run kings in the river may be of some benefit to in-river charter boats, etc., but not at the cost of mismanaging the hugely more significant sockeye fishery, producing more years of economic and social loss like the present.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry for the late response, I have been busy, out enjoying the river.

                          I would believe both of us. Is it smart business to say in an interview in Alaska magazine that the C&R rule will kill business and everyone should stay home??? It is a smart move to market the fishery in a positive light no matter the regulation. Even with the slot limit, more people want to come in July when the have the opportunity to harvest a king salmon over 44", although most do not, especially this year. Those that are here in June have a great time and catch a lot of fish, catching a 48" fish and having to release is still a great thing, where else in the world can you do that?
                          Marcus, have you ever been to a fish board meeting and testified or taken part in a committee?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Need to know?

                            Originally posted by yukon
                            Marcus, have you ever been to a fish board meeting and testified or taken part in a committee?
                            First, please tell me why you want that information. . . thanks. . .

                            It's too hard for me to believe both your and Joe's account of the drive to make the first run c&r. If you read Joe's quote carefully, he said the guides and the local tourism industry liked the idea of making the first run c&r because it would be good for business, not bad for business. A stable, predictable product is also a marketable product.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Fine

                              Originally posted by Marcus
                              First, please tell me why you want that information. . . thanks. . .

                              It's too hard for me to believe both your and Joe's account of the drive to make the first run c&r. If you read Joe's quote carefully, he said the guides and the local tourism industry liked the idea of making the first run c&r because it would be good for business, not bad for business. A stable, predictable product is also a marketable product.
                              FINE. TELL THE COMMERCIAL GUYS TO CATCH AND RELEASE TOO.
                              FAIR IS FAIR.
                              NOT ALL FISHERMAN ARE ELITISTS. SOME ACTUALLY LIKE TO EAT SALMON.
                              Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

                              Comment

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