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    Here are the new EO's, 6 sockeye below the Commercial Division Sonar Counter and the Dipnet opens for a few more days.

    2-RS-1-37-06 08/03/06 Kenai Reopens the personal use dip net fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River, beginning at 5:00 p.m., Thursday August 3, 2006, through 11:59 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2006. Contact:George Pappas
    2-RS-1-38-06 08/03/06 Kenai In the lower Kenai River, liberalizes the bag and possession limit of salmon to 6 per day. Contact:George Pappas

  • #2
    Thank YOU!

    Originally posted by yukon
    Here are the new EO's, 6 sockeye below the Commercial Division Sonar Counter and the Dipnet opens for a few more days.

    2-RS-1-37-06 08/03/06 Kenai Reopens the personal use dip net fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River, beginning at 5:00 p.m., Thursday August 3, 2006, through 11:59 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2006. Contact:George Pappas
    2-RS-1-38-06 08/03/06 Kenai In the lower Kenai River, liberalizes the bag and possession limit of salmon to 6 per day. Contact:George Pappas

    Thanks for posting that! I'm gonna drive all the way down there tomorrow and fish for an hour or two!


    Michael Strahan
    Site Owner
    Alaska Hunt Consultant
    1 (406) 662-1791


    • #3
      Where is the sonar at???
      "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey


      • #4
        Well, crap. It was hard to do, but I finally gave up on filling my freezer with dipnetting and was starting to turn my attention for the weekend to scouting animals. Now I've got a dilemma. Arrgh!



        • #5
          The message I got from George was from the sonar down which is about river mile 18 or 19 just below the Soldotna bridge. But the EO says the Lower River and I would assume that meant below the bridge in Soldotna. But I am not sure on that.


          • #6
            The order is for sure NOT below Skilak. So only keep three if you go up from Bings.
            As far as dipping goes, remember this, if they are EO'ing the dipnetting you can be sure the commercial nets are out.
            I would go scouting, dipping won't be worth the time in my opinion.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Strahan

              Thanks for posting that! I'm gonna drive all the way down there tomorrow and fish for an hour or two!



              Mike - you are such an unethical, over-opnionated schmuck!!! Hope to see you down there bud!!!
              Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.


              • #8
                Isn't that funny how we went from not being able to keep any reds to 6 in the lower river?? Looks like the panic was all for naught!! What do you think the chances are of them raising it to 6 in the upper river?


                • #9
                  I thought I had seen it all.

                  I have defended ADF&G up to this point but cannot do so after these EO's.

                  On Monday, the PU fishery was closed and the reason given that Kenai River sockeye run strength was declining. This was not supported by fact and if ADF&G had looked at the historical data set they would know that the Kenai run does not end the first week of August in a late year.

                  The real reason the PU fishery closed was the Commissioner did not want to fish any extra time in the commercial fishery (outside what was in the plans). He felt that if the PU fishery was extended he would have to fish the commercial nets and maybe extend their season. This was a rookie mistake - he hoped the run would die when all the data was to the contrary. Having political appointments manage fisheries from Juneau is bad for everyone.

                  Second, as the escapements climbed it was obvious on Monday that keeping the escapement under 850,000 was not going to happen. Therefore, the Commissioner decided that all fisheries should reopen but not until a week latter - again a rookie mistake. Local staff knew that keeping the escapement in the goal range was not going to happen at the escapement levels they were seeing and the timing of the run.

                  The problem is that the Commissioner had closed the PU fisheries. People had turned in permits and with the opening of the commercial nets to heavy fishing the volume of fish at the river mouth will be low. This is not mid-July when you get a build up of fish in the district and they move in mass. Right now fish are swimming hard and fast to the river so there is no concentration. The Commissioner has created a fishery that will have 10-20 thousand fish available to it - this will just make everyone upset.

                  Finally, with over 850,000 fish in the Kenai the sport fishery should have been opened to 6 fish the whole length by emergency regulation. The goal is to reduce spawning numbers back into the range designed for an inriver goal of 650,000-850,000. The Department is saying they will be in the 500,000 to 1 million spawning range and that is correct. However, they are ignoring the spread the escapements out over this range mandate.

                  In addition, to have a 6 fish bag limit below the sonar counter at river mile 19 and 3 above is not enforceable. How does a protection officer know where the fish were caught? I could have 6 fish in my car upriver and tell him that I caught them downstream. ADF&G went through this in past years with protection and they frown on this type of EO.

                  I guess this year is the perfect storm to show how the management plans and staff are not functioning well. This season was really fairly easy to manage - low runs are easier than large run.

                  However, when the Commissioner involved himself in the fishery it went to heck. First, he went with the terminal fishery early and did not use the traditional set net fisheries - this created all types of user conflicts and resource issues, second he may have committed an illegal action by raising and lowering the bag limit in the sport fish by emergency order instead of emergency regulation, third he closed the PU fishery when he should have allowed it to continue, fourth he did not react by going outside the plans limiting commercial time when sockeye were present in large numbers and there were few coho early this week, and fifth he should have gone to a 6 fish bag limit along the whole river.

                  This is not Monday quarterbacking - the data are there and some of us wrote to the Commissioner about these points. Unfortunately, the Commissioner is not a fishery manager and therefore makes these rookie mistakes. The State of Alaska had good fishery management when local area staff had flexibility to make this calls. Today, that is no longer the case - between the Board of Fish and Commissioner the critical decisions are no longer made by the local area staff that knows the fisheries and there limitations.


                  • #10
                    So what if you already sent in your permit?


                    • #11
                      To many?

                      Nerka, so are you saying that now they have to many fish in the river and escapement is going to be over what they wanted? I'm not ragging in you, i just want to get a clear picture of what's going on.


                      • #12
                        Wait, wait, wait, now I'm confused. Wasn't it just last week that people on this site were telling us that this years horrible run was the result of not letting the comercials take enough fish in past years? How could it be that the fish showed up?


                        • #13
                          run is still weak

                          If you need a permit you can get a duplicate at the vendors or ADF&G.

                          No one said this years return was due to overescapement. It was the result of poor freshwater survival that is related to size of fry and the interaction of the brood years in Skilak and Kenai Lake.

                          This return to the Kenai is still very weak - total return is estimated at about 1.6-19 million in my opinion - ADF&G thinks it is smaller. Of that the Skilak and Kenai Lake component is probably less than 50% when it should be 80-90%. The average Kenai return is about 3 million fish.

                          The return is made up of three brood years - the failure of one brood year (2001) is the issue. That brood year will produce only about 1 million fish from the glacial rearing lakes. The discussion of large escapement and rearing limitations is focused on Skilak and Kenai Lake - not the Russian River which probably is doing fine this year. In a normal year these lakes should produce 2.5 million fish or more.

                          When there is no fishing by the commercial fleet to speak of in July then the whole return goes into the escapement. That is what you are seeing right now. If the fishery had been operating the escapement levels would be much lower. So you cannot judge run strength just by escapement. You have to add in the catch. This return is late and weak.

                          What ADF&G missed is that when Kenai is late and closures are in place for 10 days or more their models are not going to work to estimate the escapement - models on run timing are built on runs that are larger than this and therefore there is lots of fishing in late July and August.

                          Let me give you an example. There are a number of years in the data set on Kenai River sockeye escapement that show the mid-point of the escapement on late years is around 25 July. However, in a number of these years the runs were average to record levels and fishing took place for days straight at the end of July and early August. This year the escapement was around 300,000 on the 25th. So if one used the 50% point ADF&G would have estimated 600,000 fish in the escapement - below the goals. However, one needed to adjust this estimate for the lack of fishing. This would have made the estimated escapement much higher.

                          My point is that by the 27 July ADF&G was making estimates that 400,000 to 800,000 fish were left in the return. The escapement was 400,000 fish and the sonar was counting 50,000 fish/day. At this point there are two days of fish below the sonar counter and thus the escapement was probably close to 500,000 in the river. By the 30th when the PU decision was made the escapements for the inriver goal were assured and the predicted return of nearly 800,000 remaining fish was being realized, not the 400,000 lower end estimate. Therefore, on the 30th this level of escapement was anticipated by some of the management staff. The problem was that the Commissioner did not understand the data set or ignored it when he closed the PU fishery.

                          So in conclusion - to assess run strength one combines catch and escapement - the Kenai return this year is probably about 50-60% of normal. The brood year of 2001 has failed in both the 4 and 5 year old fish which points to a freshwater issue, the Russian River should do well by all accounts, the escapement is reflecting the lack of fishing by all groups for 10 days in July not a strong return, and ADF&G either did not assess the run correctly or the Commissioner made a huge mistake in trying to get away with no extra commercial fishing time. Late runs to the Kenai require fishing in August - there is no option if one wants to maintain the escapements in the goal range.


                          • #14
                            Understanding the Kenai

                            Last summer I was unimpressed with the upper Kenai late Sockeye run. Despite the outstanding lower Kenai counts, the run was late and not too impressive above Skilak. Most fish were red by the time they arrived late above Jim's landing. I believe the numbers were not above average above Skilak (correct me if I am wrong here).

                            My question for Nerka (or anyone else with info) is other than the Russian, has their ever been a weir/documentation of the runs above the Russian and is their a potential cyclic nature to the sockeye numbers? Is this about 25% of the total Kenai run? Are copepods a factor in Kenai lake? Is this years run mostly made up of upper river fish? My guess is that the Russian in the next couple of weeks will be above average returns as well as the upper Kenai above the Russian (which will also improve upper Russian rainbow fishing this fall). My native friends kept telling me the salmonberries are late so so are the salmon.....perhaps they should be on the Bof!

                            Where can I research this info?


                            • #15
                              Red count

                              I don't see how they can come close to counting "reds". On July 31st, I dipped the 14 reds I wanted, but 9 of the last 11 I caught were humpies that I tossed back, much to the chagrin of some out-of-towners that weren't (couldn't?) speak English.
                              I know they do some test netting, but on the odd "humpy" years, it's such a mixed bag.
                              I have a freind that works at the sonar counter, and he just tosses his hands up.
                              Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.


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