Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ice Houses Must Be Off the Lakes By April 30

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reminding anglers that ice houses must be off the lakes and other water bodies by April 30. Warm weather is making ice travel unsafe.

Kenai Watershed Trout/Steelhead Spawning Closure

From an ADFG News Release:

Fishing for rainbow/steelhead trout, including catch-and-release, in the flowing waters of the lower Kenai River and in Skilak Lake is closed by regulation from May 2 – June 10, to protect spawning fish.

As a result, and to provide protection for these stocks, an Emergency Order was issued in 2006 to prohibit anglers from removing rainbow trout from the water during the spawning closure.

In order to continue to provide protection for Kenai River rainbow trout, ADF&G has again issued an Emergency Order that prohibits anglers from removing rainbow/steelhead trout from May 2 through June 10. This Emergency Order applies to the flowing waters of the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to Skilak Lake, and in Skilak Lake, except for the lake waters within a one-half mile radius of the Kenai River inlet. The lake waters within a one-half mile radius of the Kenai River inlet, and the rest of the upper river, are closed by regulation to all fishing from May 2 to June 11, again, to protect spawning rainbow/steelhead trout.

Prohibiting anglers from removing rainbow trout from the water during the spawning closure will reduce mortality of these incidentally-caught trout, during the time when spawning fish may be more susceptible to handling mortality.

Other streams on the Kenai Peninsula, such as the Kasilof River and the Anchor River, have a similar regulation.

To avoid accidentally catching spawning rainbows, anglers fishing for Dolly Varden should fish downstream of spawning trout where the Dolly Varden tend to hold and feed on drifting eggs.

For additional information contact Larry Marsh, Assistant Area Management Staff Biologist, (907) 262-9368.

Kenai Kings No Fillet Rule

From an ADFG News Release:

This Emergency Order applies to all Kenai River king salmon harvested, regardless of size.

Anglers may not fillet, mutilate, remove the head, or otherwise disfigure a Kenai River king salmon in such a manner that would prevent determination of the length of fish. Anglers may fillet king salmon after the fish are offloaded from the vessel or removed from the shoreline fishing site. “Shoreline fishing site” means the point on the shoreline where the fish is hooked and removed from the water, at which time it becomes part of the angler’s bag limit.

This regulation becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1, and remains in effect through 11:59 p.m., Saturday, July 14, 2007.

Anglers will still be allowed to remove the gills and guts from their Kenai River king salmon before offloading from a vessel or removing the fish from the shoreline fishing site.

By regulation, the Kasilof River also has the no-fillet requirement.

The Board of Fisheries authorized the Department to issue this type of Emergency Order for the purpose of enforcement of bag and size limits. Department of Fish and Game personnel and other resource agency staff will enforce this regulation, and anglers who disregard this requirement will be subject to a citation.

For additional information contact Larry Marsh, Assistant Area Management Staff Biologist, (907) 262-9368.

King Regs Liberalized in Saltwater Near Petersburg & Wrangell

From an ADFG News Release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced today that sport fishing regulations for king salmon will be liberalized in the marine waters near Petersburg and Wrangell from May 1 through July 15, 2007. In January 2006, the Alaska Board of Fisheries (Board) approved a Stikine River king salmon management plan for commercial and sport fisheries. For sport anglers, this management plan includes provisions to liberalize sport fishing in years when an allowable catch exists for Stikine River king salmon.

The liberalized sport fishing regulations will be in effect in the salt waters of Sections 8-A and 8-B (see attached map). Sport fishing regulations during this time will be:
  • Sport fishing for king salmon may be conducted with the use of 2 lines (rods) per angler. No more than six lines may be fished from a vessel.
  • Resident anglers will have a bag limit of three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length, and a possession limit of six king salmon.
  • Nonresident anglers will have a bag and possession limit of two king salmon 28 inches or greater in length, and an annual limit of five king salmon.
  • Charter operators and crew members may not retain king salmon when clients are onboard.
  • King salmon fishing will remain closed in fresh waters of the Stikine River and its triburaries, upstream of a line between Pt. Rothsay on the Stikine Flats, and Indian Pt. in LeConte Bay.
These sport fishing regulations are intended to provide additional opportunity to harvest Stikine River king salmon that are surplus to escapement needs and are expected to remain in effect through July 15, 2007. The ADF&G will monitor the harvest and run strength, and modify the regulations if needed.

Please click here for a map showing District 8 marine waters identified as area waters inside district boundary lines (District 8 side indicated by arrows) and designated freshwater boundary for Stikine River drainage (marine waters indicated by arrows emanating from dashed lines).

Anyone needing further information concerning this announcement should contact the Division of Sport Fish office in Petersburg at (907) 772-5231. For additional information contact Doug Fleming, Petersburg-Wrangell Area Biologist, (907) 772-5231.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fish Board Maintains Window Closures

The Alaska Board of Fisheries decided to continue the current management strategy of periodically closing commercial fishing to allow bursts of Cook Inlet sockeye salmon to reach upstream anglers during summer weekends.

The Board had been petitioned to consider an emergency change, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

"Some commercial gillnetters had asked the board to change the upper Cook Inlet management plan to make meeting escapement goals -- the preferred range of salmon numbers getting upriver to spawn -- the top priority. In recent years the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have exceeded the state's escapement goals, so managing with the emphasis on those targets could have opened more commercial netting opportunities.

Sport fishing groups complained that the move could end the regular practice of commercial "window" closures that are meant to allow bursts of fish upstream for river anglers on summer weekends."

Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Friday, April 13, 2007

SE Alaska King Salmon Regs Set For 2007

From an ADFG News Release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced on April 11 the 2007 sport fishing bag and possession limits for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat which will become effective 12:01 A.M. May 1, 2007. The Regulations are:
  • The use of two rods per angler is allowed from October 2007 through March 2008.
  • Alaska residents: bag and possession limit of three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length; no annual limit.
  • Nonresidents: bag and possession limit of two king salmon 28 inches or greater in length in May and one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length for the remainder of the year; an annual limit of four king salmon 28 inches or greater in length for the entire year.
These regulations apply in all marine waters of Southeast Alaska unless otherwise announced. The nonresident annual limit of four king salmon also applies in all freshwaters between Cape Suckling and Cape Fairweather.

The 2007 harvest allocation for the sport fishery is based on a preseason abundance index of 1.60 as determined by the Pacific Salmon Commisssion’s Chinook Technical Committee. This index equates to a 60,900 king salmon allocation to the sport fishery. The Southeast Alaska king salmon management plan prescribes that the regulations listed above be implemented when the king salmon abundance index is between 1.51 and 1.75.

For further information regarding sport fisheries in Southeast Alaska, contact the nearest ADF&G office or visit the ADFG Sport Fish Region One website.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SE Alaska Rockfish Regulations Set For 2007

From an ADFG news release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the sport fishing bag and possession limits, and the mandatory retention of non-pelagic rockfish. Nonresident angler annual limits of yelloweye rockfish have also been established for the 2007 season. The following regulations become effective 12:01 A.M. May 16, 2007.

  • All non-pelagic rockfish caught must be retained until the bag limit is reached.
  • The resident bag limit is three non-pelagic rockfish only one of which may be a yelloweye; possession limit of six fish, two of which may be yelloweye.
  • The nonresident bag limit is two non-pelagic rockfish only one of which may be a yelloweye; possession limit of four fish, two of which may be yelloweye; with an annual limit of two yelloweye rockfish. Nonresident anglers must record all yelloweye rockfish harvested, in ink, either on the back of their sport fishing license, or on a nontransferable harvest record immediately.
  • Charter operators and crew members may not retain non-pelagic rockfish while clients are on board the vessel.
These regulations apply in all marine waters of Southeast Alaska as a means to reduce total mortality, keep regulations consistent to avoid angler confusion, and improve enforcement.

The Board of Fisheries established management provisions for a subgroup of non-pelagic rockfish (demersal shelf rockfish) to be imposed within the sport fishery for controlling harvest (5 AAC 47.065). The board acted upon concerns regarding recent harvest levels of demersal shelf rockfish within the sport fishery during 2001 and 2005. The Board allocated 16% (66 metric tons) of the total allowable catch of demersal shelf rockfish to the sport fishery. An approximate harvest of 71 metric tons during the 2006 season dictates that further restrictions are required. The measures being imposed during 2007 are intended to reduce harvest and total mortality to within the 66 metric ton allocation.

Filleting, de-heading, prohibited in some SE Alaska fisheries

From an ADFG news release:

Marine boat anglers returning to ports where and when on-site ADF&G creel surveys are conducted will again be prohibited from filleting, mutilating, and de-heading sport caught lingcod, non-pelagic rockfish, king and coho salmon. Marine boat anglers returning to any port on the road system of the communities identified below, during the designated times, may not fillet, mutilate, or de-head these fish until the fish have been brought to shore and offloaded, unless the fish have been consumed or preserved on board:

Ketchikan: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 23, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 23, 2007.

Craig: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 30, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Klawock: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 30, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Sitka: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 23, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 23, 2007.

Juneau: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 23, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 23, 2007.

Petersburg: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 23, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Wrangell: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 23, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Haines: 12:01 A.M. Monday, May 7, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, June 24, 2007.

Skagway: 12:01 A.M. Monday, May 21, through 11:59 P.M. Friday, August 31, 2007.

Gustavus: 12:01 A.M. Monday, May 7, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Elfin Cove: 12:01 A.M. Monday, May 7, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Yakutat: 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 30, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, September 9, 2007.

Anglers are reminded that lingcod may be harvested only during open seasons (consult E.O. No. 1-LC-R-01-07 for specific areas and dates).

The purpose of this restriction is to maximize information attained through ADF&G angler interview and dockside sampling programs. Southeast Alaska management plans adopted by the Alaska Board of Fisheries require length and sex information for lingcod, weight information for non-pelagic rockfish, and identification of tagged salmon, which can only be obtained when fish are intact. On-site sampling is conducted during the fishing season at most harbors to estimate sport fishing effort and harvest, and contribution of hatchery and wild stocks of king and coho salmon to regional sport fisheries.

This action does not prohibit gutting and gilling fish before returning to the ports. For the purposes of this regulation, anglers may fillet and head king and coho salmon, lingcod, and non-pelagic rockfish on board a vessel once it is tied up at a docking facility where the fish will be offloaded.

SE Alaska Lingcod Regulations Set

From an ADFG news release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the lingcod sport fishing seasons, bag and possession limits, annual limits, and size limits have been established for 2007. These regulations vary by area and are outlined on page 11 (Southeast Alaska) and page 22 (Yakutat) within the Southeast Alaska 2007 Sport Fishing Regulations Summary.

Effective May 16, 2007 the lingcod annual limit for guided and nonresident anglers will be one fish in all waters of Southeast Alaska east of 137° W. long (see map on page 11 of the sport fishery regulation summary booklet). Guided and nonresident anglers fishing in this area are reminded that upon landing and retaining a lingcod they must enter the date and location of harvest, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or harvest record reporting form before continuing to fish.

No lingcod annual limit was established for the Yakutat area.

Charter operators and crew members may not retain lingcod while clients are on board the vessel.

The Southeast Alaska 2007 Sport Fishing Regulation Summaries are available at all local ADF&G Sport Fish Division offices and at most sport fishing license vendors.

These regulations are designed to ensure that the sport harvest of lingcod does not exceed fishery allocations established by the Board of Fish. Recent (1998-2006) harvest trends in the Southeast Alaska sport fishery indicate the sport allocation would be exceeded in 2007 if these additional harvest restrictions were not implemented.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Invasive Pike Targeted in Caring for the Kenai Project

Pike are great game fish, but not-very-clever (and lawbreaking) anglers have sometimes transplanted them into waters where they don't belong. Some Kenai Peninsula students are doing something about it where they live, according to Alaska Fish and Wildlife News.

"Northern pike (Esox lucius) are native to Alaska’s Interior waters north and west of the mountains of the Alaska Range, and fresh waters in the Bristol Bay region. Here they do not pose ecological problems; indeed, they are an important subsistence food and sport fish species. But when introduced to water bodies outside their native range, the highly predacious pike can reduce a closed system lake from a diverse ecosystem to a pike-only fishing hole."

New Proxy Fishing Regulations

From an ADFG News Release:

At their March 2007 statewide finfish meeting, the Alaska Board of Fisheries adopted the following new regulations on the sport, personal use, and subsistence proxy fishing program, which are expected to become effective in June 2007.
  • A person who is fishing proxy for a beneficiary must immediately record, in ink, on the Proxy Fishing Information Form, the date, location (body of water fished), species, approximate weight (in pounds), and number of any fish or shellfish taken by the proxy on behalf of the proxy recipient.
  • In addition, a proxy who takes fish or shellfish for a beneficiary shall, as soon as practicable, but not later than 30 days after taking the fish or shellfish, personally deliver to the beneficiary all edible parts of the fish or shellfish removed from the field on the behalf of the beneficiary.
The Proxy Fishing Information Form has been revised to reflect these new requirements. Anglers are advised that they must pick up the new form prior to proxy fishing. Those anglers who have already obtained a Proxy Fishing Information Form for 2007 will need to return the old version and obtain the new version prior to proxy fishing.

For more information, visit the proxy fishing web site at or contact your local ADF&G office.

ADF&G Announces 2007 Chinook Salmon Quota Plan

From an ADFG News Release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced that this year’s Southeast Alaska Chinook salmon harvest quota is 329,400 fish. While this is 17,000 fish lower than last year’s quota, it remains above the average for the past 8 years.

Utilizing data on the strength of West coast Chinook salmon stocks that contribute to Southeast Alaska fisheries, the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Chinook Technical Committee recently determined that the 2007 Abundance Index for Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska is 1.60. As specified in the 1999 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement, this translates into an allowable all-gear catch for Southeast Alaska of 329,400 treaty Chinook. Most Chinook salmon produced in Alaska hatcheries are not factored into the Abundance Index, and may be caught by harvesters in addition to the treaty limit.

The Chinook salmon returns to many West Coast rivers from Oregon to Alaska remain strong, but have declined from the very high levels seen from 2003 to 2005. Most of the Chinook salmon stocks covered under the Pacific Salmon Treaty benefited from an upturn in ocean survival in recent years. However this trend is changing for stocks originating from the Columbia River and it appears that the average size of stocks originating from the West Coast of Vancouver Island is declining as well.

The treaty Chinook salmon harvest will be allocated to sport, commercial troll, and commercial net fisheries according to the management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Alaska to Receive $30 M for Sport Fish & Wildlife Restoration Work

From a USFWS News Release:

Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today that more than $600 million will be distributed to 56 state and territorial wildlife agencies to fund conservation efforts, shooting ranges and hunter education. This funding results from an excise tax paid by firearm, ammunition, archery and angling equipment manufacturers as well as boat motor fuels through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration programs. This year the State of Alaska will receive a total of almost $30 million in grants for sportfish and wildlife restoration and hunter education programs.

"Since establishment of these federal programs more than a half century ago, manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, archery, fishing and boating equipment have paid more than $10.5 billion in excise taxes, which has been used by state wildlife agencies to maintain and restore fish and wildlife resources, educate hunters and fund sport shooting ranges nationwide," said Kempthorne. "By paying these excise taxes, the manufacturers and sportsmen and women continue to provide critical funding for wildlife conservation in North America."

The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2007 totals nearly $267 million, with more than $50 million tagged for hunter education and shooting range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2007 totals more than $349 million. Federal Assistance funds pay up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project while the states are required to contribute at least 25 percent.

"In the 1930s, after an era of massive habitat degradation and commercial hunting had decimated game populations, sportsmen stood up and said, "We want to restore the numbers of game and we know someone has to pay to do it," said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Then they suggested something that was virtually unprecedented, the establishment of a tax."

"In 1937 sportsmen called for passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, and in 1950, the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act. As the Wildlife Restoration Act approaches its 70th anniversary in September, it's an ideal time to take stock of the extraordinary accomplishments of these two programs," Hall added.

Sport Fish Restoration is funded by the collection of excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. Sport Fish Restoration funds are allocated to the states based on a formula that includes the land and water area, inland waters and the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas where applicable, and the number of fishing license holders. States use the funds to pay for stocking fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; and the construction at boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational boating access.

States have bought about 150,000 acres for public fishing areas and maintained more than 15 million acres since the program began.

Please visit the Service's Division of Federal Assistance Website for detailed state-by-state funding allocations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.