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Kenai ER king escapement objectives... time for a change?

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  • #46
    Doc not disagree with you on a restoration approach that is more than just an escapement goal. To me restoration may include the following based on a tributary vs main stem separation of stocks.

    1. Evaluation of counting techniques error associated with that technique

    2. New method of determining age composition of the return. The present netting program is a failure

    3. Creation of a pass through fishery which allows harvest over the entire return and age composition

    4. The potential of stocking tributaries like Slikok Creek to jump start their recovery. First try natural straying but if that fails look to a stocking program for a limited time (the increase of Crooked Creek stocking may provide strays to Slikok Creek which is ironic)

    5. Establishment of goals that reflect the biological reality of a recovery program - this may include much higher goals at first as Mr Fish is correct. However with our data set it is unlikely that we know the difference between MSY and Max Production.

    6. Start a full habitat and life history evaluation study on chinook in the Kenai to understand freshwater production issues.

    7. Start a full discussion of how the fishery should look to meet social and cultural issues given a pass through fishery

    8. Get a Commissioner of ADF&G who is resource oriented who can fight for budgets and programs from a management point of view

    9, Define how the Board of Fish interacts with the above to maintain a long term program of restoration.

    This is a start and cod that is why I say it is more than just closing the fishery. That will happen with the above in some years but not all years of restoration. Also sorry if I was snarky with you. Just get frustrated knowing how complex this issue is and ADF&G will not move on any of the above. Doc you asked about the petition for stock of concern. At the time the early run did not meet the criteria. It may now but without an action plan from ADF&G it will go nowhere.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Nerka View Post
      To me restoration may include the following based on a tributary vs main stem separation of stocks.

      1. Evaluation of counting techniques error associated with that technique

      2. New method of determining age composition of the return. The present netting program is a failure

      3. Creation of a pass through fishery which allows harvest over the entire return and age composition...
      Yep...managing a return without those first three suggestions is a crap shoot. I am a firm believer in weirs. They tell you exactly how many, what sex, what age, what size, and where the fish are. They are fairly inexpensive to construct and operate in context to their usefulness. I would like to see a series (half-dozen) of weirs throughout the river. We could better identify species, pin-point the affects of in-river harvest, better quantify C&R mortality, identify mainstream spawners, and a host of other things.

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      • #48
        Nicely done, but I cringe at #4. That's the camel's nose under the tent. I am very confident that #4 would be successful. But then what? We all know that if you stock juvenile salmon, they will return as adults. So if stocking is good enough for Slikok Creek, why not the rest of the basin, perhaps to restore the ER Chinook? Or perhaps to provide more LR Chinook? I know that was not what you were suggesting, but we know where this leads.....

        #6 is a better option, although it may take more time than most folks would prefer.

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        • #49
          Many are basing this discussion on the fact that the downward trend since 2006 still continues. Haven't the last 2 seasons trended upwards by all measures? Realizing this shouldn't be considered a comeback, but it might be a start...

          I have watched the age comp of the LR slowly improve over the last 3-4 years, indicating poor survival of some age classes and better survival for others. Went from tons of 1.1's, to more 1.2's the next year, to more 1.3's the next... could be a good sign.

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          • #50
            I think if they cant hit escapement goals they will lower them until they do.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by smithtb View Post
              Many are basing this discussion on the fact that the downward trend since 2006 still continues. Haven't the last 2 seasons trended upwards by all measures? Realizing this shouldn't be considered a comeback, but it might be a start...

              I have watched the age comp of the LR slowly improve over the last 3-4 years, indicating poor survival of some age classes and better survival for others. Went from tons of 1.1's, to more 1.2's the next year, to more 1.3's the next... could be a good sign.

              It is more than two years. Four tribs have no chinook. Counting for 30 years was thrown out and no new management approach has been discussed. We will just repeat the past without significant change.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                It is more than two years. Four tribs have no chinook. Counting for 30 years was thrown out and no new management approach has been discussed. We will just repeat the past without significant change.
                Fair enough. Just wanted to point out that it's possible things are improving.

                Coho, I think the Camel's nose is already under the tent. The Ditch has been stocked with Kings for years. Kings are known to stray, and these two rivers are only a few miles apart.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                  We will just repeat the past without significant change.
                  God I hope you're wrong on that one, Nerka.

                  The ER is in dire need of HUGE change. So far management has been a hodge-podge of band-aid fixes cobbled together piecemeal over the past dozen years or so. There's no unifying strategy with meaningful, clearcut, and measurable goals to allow recovery.

                  The most basic of ingredients needed for success is eggs in the gravel. That means vastly improving the female escapement, esp the LARGE 1.4 hens. How best to achieve this? We either 1) raise the total overall goal to compensate for the tiny proportion of hens or 2) establish a large fish goal that will contain within it a significantly larger proportion of hens. The slot limit will be a key component in helping to achieve that large fish goal and its attendant benefit in escaping MORE HENS.

                  But even more important is learning from our past mistakes. It's not enough to simply allow those fish to escape the fishery in May-June. Meaningful conservation MUST continue beyond June 30. What's paramount is providing adequate sanctuary protection of that hen escapement thru at least peak spawning activity, preferably thru the entire month of July.

                  It's time to finally figure out the most effective strategies to get there.
                  "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                  sigpic
                  The KeenEye MD

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                  • #54
                    Don't know if this report has been linked yet. It covers 07-12, but doesn't include 13-15. Haven't really looked at it too much yet. Anyone know why 13-15 wasn't included? Perhaps they're still working on it? Or maybe it's in another report because of the new counting system?

                    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMS16-01.pdf

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                    • #55
                      A friend in the department told me that ADFG is backing off a big fish goal for Kenai Kings for the next board cycle. They said the dept. is still working towards that, but does not feel there is time to get everything figured out and inform the public before the process for the 2017 UCI BOF meeting starts. I was relieved to hear this - I understand the reasoning for going to a big fish goal (although I have my reservations), but don't think that another major change in our Kenai King counting system is a good idea right now.

                      I'd like to illustrate the concern for ER Kings in some sort of visual perspective (want to do it for LR too). I was looking at the 2012 run reconstruction report, and the graphs of the age comp. I thought it might be cool to use some consistent data and develop a graph of age comps for the ER through 2015. The easiest IMO would to be to use midriver netting age comp data (knowing that they have changed netting procedures throughout the years and there is nothing we can do about that).

                      What I thought might be interesting is to compare the rate of change in age comp with that of other King stocks. Obviously there is Kasilof (Crooked Natural), Deshka, Anchor, Deep Creek, etc, that I could compare to. I've been told that this might not be so easy of a comparison to make however, because the Kenai has a much different proportion of older fish - the run is historically dependent on 1.4 fish, whereas many of the other streams I listed are more dependent on 1.3 fish. Anyone know of any other Alaskan King streams with historic age comp data that have a large proportion of 1.4 or older fish? I just though some visual aids might help put the ER return into perspective, and would appreciate any input before I submit a data request.

                      Onthego, here's your chance to bring other areas of the state into this discussion...

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                      • #56
                        A source tells me another dismal ER is expected for 2016.... entire run-size forecast is below OEG
                        "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                        sigpic
                        The KeenEye MD

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                        • #57
                          Early run outlook:

                          http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...un_outlook.pdf

                          Late run outlook:

                          http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...un_outlook.pdf

                          ER forecast is slightly less than last year's forecast, LR forecast is substantially more than last year's forecast. Both are still not good, but at least better than a couple years ago.

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                          • #58
                            Thanks for the official links, tb

                            "The outlook for the early run of Kenai River Chinook salmon in 2016 is below average, with a forecast total run of approximately 5,206 fish. If realized, this run will rank the 2nd lowest measured (29th out of 30 years)."
                            "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                            sigpic
                            The KeenEye MD

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by fishNphysician View Post
                              "The outlook for the early run of Kenai River Chinook salmon in 2016 is below average, with a forecast total run of approximately 5,206 fish. If realized, this run will rank the 2nd lowest measured (29th out of 30 years)."
                              So by looking at the Management Plans, it looks like the Early Run in-river sport fishery will be closed (again), and the Late Run will be fair game. Once again we could be left with the issue of harvesting Early Run fish in the Late Run.

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                              • #60
                                Yes there likely will be some early run fish harvested in the late run, but I believe these numbers would be extremely negligible.

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