Can we still go King Salmon fishing?
Last week the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game sponsored a symposium in Anchorage. The symposium featured "scientific presentations and panel discussions from a wide variety of experts from private, state, federal, and academic backgrounds. The goal is to identify and discuss key knowledge gaps and assemble a list of potential research priorities to fill these gaps”
Listening to scientists and fisheries experts for two days over the web is not my idea of fun, but it is important to recognize what is happening in the investigations of stocks of King Salmon (Chinook), and its affect on the Kenai Peninsula.
My personal takeaway is that the State is doing an excellent job of research and finding potential answers that will pay off in proper fish management for years to come.
The answers are still not complete. Too many factors influence fish physical size as well as return size. i.e. ocean, in-shore waters, and river temperatures; predators, and prey abundance; competition for food sources; commercial, subsistence and sport fishing pressures; other ecological and environmental nuances, to name a few have specific impacts.
The Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, our home waters, were a small portion of the study. But the results on these rivers is similar to what is happening all over Alaska in both Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea Chinook Salmon stocks. The last few years have produced some weak King Salmon runs. However, as evidenced in the recent past, that can change from one year to the next, as the all of the above factors “kick in”.
Kenai Peninsula Fishing Vacations
The Kenai area has a huge advantage over many other Alaska fisheries for us, the sport fisherman.
First, the Kasilof has a hatchery enhanced programs which many other Alaska Rivers do not have. Other species of salmon…sockeye, and silvers are showing excellent returns. Trout fishing on the Kenai is gaining in popularity and as a trophy catch and release fishery, maintains quality fishing. Halibut regulations have not changed and Halibut limits are very regular. Other adventures like, hiking, wildlife viewing, canoeing, rafting, glacier viewing, fly-ins, birding, and photography are available without the worry of weather-related transportation issues. Value is also prevalent with outfitters like Russell Fishing Company offering packages for any budget, as well as discount rental car partners.
Like most things in nature, fish stocks and fishing have and will continue to change over time. And cycles can be varied in length from thousands of years to a few years. As a vacationer turned lodge and fishing manager, I have learned to leave myself options, try new adventures, and take full advantage of all that is available.
Anything else that happens, like a 60+ lbs King, . . . is a bonus!
- Posted by Cap'n Gilz,
Russell Fishing Guide and Vacation Booking Manager
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