Kenai Dipnet Fishery Open 24hrs

anchskier

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I fished that fishery once with my boat at the behest of a friend that wanted to go. Never again, and if I had known how it was going to be I would not have gone that time. It aint for me. Seems like there are altercations there every day.

We go from a boat every year. We are one of the smallest boats on the water, just a little raft. We don't ever have any issues, but that is because we avoid the big rodeo down where many of the other boats fish. We stick to the upper stretch, just a little blow the Ames bridge. We get our fish every year and don't have the craziness others seem to seek out down lower. If that was the only place to fish by boat, I wouldn't fish from a boat either, but there are other areas that are much safer if you seek them out.
 

mark knapp

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We go from a boat every year. We are one of the smallest boats on the water, just a little raft. We don't ever have any issues, but that is because we avoid the big rodeo down where many of the other boats fish. We stick to the upper stretch, just a little blow the Ames bridge. We get our fish every year and don't have the craziness others seem to seek out down lower. If that was the only place to fish by boat, I wouldn't fish from a boat either, but there are other areas that are much safer if you seek them out.

I go to Chitina, it's much closer for me and I never have the rodeo and the scheduled boat launch thing. And it's open for two months, we also get to keep some kings.

I'm glad you found a place you like.
 

smithtb

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I understand your disappointment, particularly with the yield tradeoffs. But what is the estimated mortality rate for Chinook salmon that are handled in the two different fisheries? My sense is that the set net mortality rate is quite high while the dip net morality rate is considerably lower. But I'm not that familiar with either fishery......

Hard to be sure, lots of variables and little if any data. I'll say this - any Kings I've released from a setnet have been in as good of shape as those two, but I lean towards harvest because I think all interactions with fish during that stage of life has a measurable effect on spawning success. The single digit estimates coming out of the inriver fishery are way too optimistic for me. I've rarely if ever voluntarily released a King tired enough to hold down for a picture.

Pretty sure the old lady and I are better at handling Kings in nets than 99.9% of dipnetters. Middle aged, active people who pick fish professionally. It was still a mess. Many people clearly keep them, according to the harvest report. Even when trying to release, the first instinct is to yard them into the boat to untangle things - which I'm sure many people do out of physical necessity. We resisted. The encounters were short lived, but violent and unpleasant for those fish. The smaller (30ish) hen twisted and was pretty tired by the time we untangled her. She swam off though. The 50lb Buck hit hard and struggled for about 20 seconds while we tried to not lose the net, then was gone in a flash. I was worried he broke the net or the mesh. I'd say they both had decent odds of living, but I also know (from tagging data I personally provided) that Kings are known to back out of the river and many miles into the salt after being handled inriver.

If you ask me, live release in any fishery should be considered at least a 30-40% hit on the spawning success of that fish. Spawning success is what it's all about.

I'm fairly confident I would have more data with a few more days of season. I don't really care if they extend dipping or not, but I think they should explain why they didn't, given current Sockeye escapements and their stated goal of putting fish on Alaskan's plates. My usual customers certainly aren't buying fish from me.
 

4merguide

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I go to Chitina, it's much closer for me and I never have the rodeo and the scheduled boat launch thing. And it's open for two months, we also get to keep some kings.

I'm glad you found a place you like.

That kinda surprises me that a guy like you that loves to fish as much as you do still dipnets. I stopped dipnetting many, MANY years ago, because I realized that I just love the feel of a salmon on the end of my fly rod way too much. And having two other avid fishermen/woman in the family we always get enough fish for the winter. Don't miss that rat race at all. Although that said, it would be nice to be able to net a king and keep it. Fresh king is our family's favorite table fare, and I haven't had one in about 7 years now.
 

mark knapp

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That kinda surprises me that a guy like you that loves to fish as much as you do still dipnets. I stopped dipnetting many, MANY years ago, because I realized that I just love the feel of a salmon on the end of my fly rod way too much. And having two other avid fishermen/woman in the family we always get enough fish for the winter. Don't miss that rat race at all. Although that said, it would be nice to be able to net a king and keep it. Fresh king is our family's favorite table fare, and I haven't had one in about 7 years now.

Dip netting is seen as a fish getting expedition for me. Chitina is the closest opportunity for me to get reds. When I float streams for salmon I don't have any way to keep them so all fish are released. so dip netting really is the best way for me to catch and keep salmon. I seldom catch and keep more than ten reds, never my limit. The end of July we went to chitina and got 46 reds for 5 people, don't need more than that. At Chitina I have the ability to take care of them and package them properly. Not true on remote trips.

Incidentally, when I release fish I don't see the mortality of catch and release fish that some people moan and groan about. We let go fish all the way down the river in crystal clear water, sometimes over a hundred fish a day, and we never see dead fish in the water. Not against the banks, not in the pools, nowhere. If they were dying at rates as high as some people say, we would see something. We do keep and eat for dinner the ones that seem to be hurt the most but we never see a dead or sick fish.

I live in the interior and fish mostly for lings, rocks, and halibut (some kings) so I don't have the opportunity for reds that many do. I really don't care for combat fishing.

Wishing you the best, and a king or two.
 

hawg boss

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Last year King retention was prohibited in the PU fisheries, yet estimated harvest was 50 Kings in the Kenai dipnet fishery, with 85% of harvest reports returned.

I dipped with my wife a twice on the Kenai last weekend. We caught a 50lb buck the first night and a 30lb hen the second. I know several other folks who also netted them.

The entire setnet fleet was shut down for the season this year in early July after an estimated harvest of 32 large Kenai Kings. I fished 4 setnet permits every day the Kasilof section was open and the largest King I saw was 17lb. We caught approximately 5 more jacks, all under 10lb. I caught more large Kenai Kings with a dipnet last weekend than our setnet site has in the last 2 seasons.

Not trying to poke at the PU fishery on this issue - I think it's generally true that people let them go. I'm just really disappointed by the yield tradeoffs were making when "every fish counts", but only in some fisheries.

I remember when this fisherie started. It's just strange to me anyway. Why not net these fish upstream where the current has separated most of the Kings from the Sockeye? Why not use a smaller net that most Kings wouldn't fit into?
What I believe I was seeing over time on the Kenai was a run of Kings that could withstand either a regulated commercial fisherie, or a sport fisherie, but not both. Whats that saying about a thousand cuts...Then you have ADFG gillneting in the river in the name of data collection, where they tie Kings up by the tail while they work on one fish they caught at a time, then the Kodiak fisherie, and then they add this personal use fisherie. I don't have any data about how the pu fisherie affects the King run, and by its self probably has little effect, but one has to wonder about the King crash after this fisherie started. Coincidence? The final nail?

Alaskan residents need to take a hard look at the King impacts across the board. I quit 15 years ago and I hoped to be able to fish it again and take my kids. It's only gotten worse. If you don't sacrifice now, what do you think the king run will be like in 15 more years?
 

smithtb

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I remember when this fisherie started. It's just strange to me anyway. Why not net these fish upstream where the current has separated most of the Kings from the Sockeye? Why not use a smaller net that most Kings wouldn't fit into?
What I believe I was seeing over time on the Kenai was a run of Kings that could withstand either a regulated commercial fisherie, or a sport fisherie, but not both. Whats that saying about a thousand cuts...Then you have ADFG gillneting in the river in the name of data collection, where they tie Kings up by the tail while they work on one fish they caught at a time, then the Kodiak fisherie, and then they add this personal use fisherie. I don't have any data about how the pu fisherie affects the King run, and by its self probably has little effect, but one has to wonder about the King crash after this fisherie started. Coincidence? The final nail?

Alaskan residents need to take a hard look at the King impacts across the board. I quit 15 years ago and I hoped to be able to fish it again and take my kids. It's only gotten worse. If you don't sacrifice now, what do you think the king run will be like in 15 more years?

Agreed, the dipnet fishery itself probably doesn't make a huge impact, although maybe the weekend level of activity does. And I think local harvest levels are very low, so my current concerns are more with inriver habitat and ocean harvest/mortality.

That is not to say I don't worry about local harvest. I think it's entirely possible (50/50 maybe?) that the Kings bounce back in the next 15 years, but if we don't establish more sideboards on these fisheries, the level of local activity/harvest will again balloon to unsustainable levels. Everyone loves them.
 

cdubbin

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PU and subsistence fisheries are the smallest harvesters of chinook in Cook Inlet....sport and commercial are the largest by far, according to the harvest data we have available. One huge problem with Kenai chinook is the fact that we're unable to accurately estimate juvenile abundance...as a result, we can't know what marine mortality looks like. We can estimate harvest and escapement, but it's kind of like trying to assemble a puzzle upside down...we need way more data across the entire life cycle of these fish...
 

Chez

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Rainbows in the Kenai are eating tons of king eggs, we should be able to retain them and get their population in check
 
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