Wednesday, May 30, 2007

King Limits Increased in Wrangell Narrows / Blind Slough

From an ADFG News Release:

ADFG has announced an increase in the bag and possession limit for king salmon in the Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough Terminal Harvest Area from June 1 through July 31. In this area, the sport fishing bag and possession limits for all anglers will be four king salmon 28 inches or greater in length and four king salmon less than 28 inches in length. The Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough terminal harvest area near Petersburg is described as: that portion of Wrangell Narrows, south of 56O 46’ N. latitude (Martinsen’s dock) and east of the longitude, and north of the latitude, of the northern tip (Inlet Point) of Woewodski Island, and; the waters of Blind Slough upstream of a line between Blind Point and Anchor Point. King salmon caught by nonresident anglers in the terminal harvest area, June 1 – July 31, do not count toward the nonresident annual limit.

The increase in bag and possession limits are justified based on a projected run of Crystal Lake Hatchery king salmon under provisions in the Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough Terminal Harvest Area Management Plan (5 AAC 33.381). This plan directs the department to increase the bag limit from June 1 through July 31 when the projected king salmon return to the terminal harvest area is greater than 4,000 fish. The 2007 estimated run is 5,500 king salmon. The nonresident annual limit is repealed in the terminal harvest area based on provisions in the Southeast King Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 47.055).

Anglers are reminded to observe and follow regulations concerning methods and means for this local sport fishery, which are posted at area boat launches and at access points to Blind Slough. Anyone needing further information concerning this announcement can contact the Division of Sport Fish, in Petersburg at (907) 772-5231

Juneau Hatchery King Fishing Open

From ADFG News Releases:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced recently that king salmon sport fishing regulations for freshwater drainages crossed by the Juneau road system, which are open to sport fishing, and in the hatchery terminal harvest area (THA) near Juneau will be liberalized to provide recreational anglers additional opportunity to harvest surplus hatchery king salmon. The new regulations will be in effect from 12:01 A.M. Friday, June 1 through Friday, August 31, 2007.

The new regulations for both the freshwater area and the Juneau THA are as follows:
  • The daily bag and possession limit is 4 king salmon, no size limit.
  • King salmon harvested in these freshwater areas by nonresidents do not count toward their annual limit.
Only a few king salmon may stray into most streams on the Juneau road system.

However, the department expects that over 500 king salmon will enter Fish Creek on Douglas Island. Therefore, in Fish Creek Pond (see attached map), regulations that pertain to sport fishing methods and means will also be liberalized as follows:
  • The use bait is allowed.
  • The use of weighted hooks and lures, and multiple (treble) hooks with a gap greater than ½ inch between the point and shank is allowed.
  • Anglers may retain king salmon that are hooked elsewhere than in the mouth (snagged).
In the remaining fresh waters of Fish Creek and in all intertidal waters within a 200 yard radius of the creek mouth as shown on the enclosed map (excluding Fish Creek Pond), regional freshwater sport fishing methods and means will apply. In these freshwaters, the following is prohibited: the use of bait, weighted hooks and lures, treble hooks with a gap greater than ½ inch between point and shank, attempting to snag fish and retaining fish hooked elsewhere than in the mouth.

The department is authorized to liberalize sport fishing regulations in the Juneau THA when the number of king salmon returning to Macaulay Hatchery exceeds brood stock needs for the hatchery program.

Anglers cannot possess king salmon in excess of bag and possession limits for the area they are fishing and regulations prohibit the possession of king salmon less than 28 inches when fishing outside of the Juneau THA. Therefore, anglers possessing king salmon less than 28 inches caught in the Juneau THA, nonresident anglers possessing two king salmon, and resident anglers possessing four king salmon may not fish in areas outside of the THA while these fish are in their possession.

For additional information on this or any inseason regulations changes, anglers should contact the Division of Sport Fish office at (907) 465-4270, or visit the ADFG website.

Brown Shirts Coming Back

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has fulfilled a campaign pledge to restore the Alaska Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Her predecessor in the Governor's mansion, Frank Murkowski, had merged the fish and wildlife law enforcement function of the Department of Public Safety into the Division of State Troopers and tasked troopers with enforcing all laws. The move was widely criticized in the outdoors community where a substantial reduction in fish and wildlife enforcement efforts was predicted and observed.

The paper reported Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan as saying that "part of the problem with the merged departments was that officers who were supposed to be focused on wildlife were not able to devote enough attention to that aspect of their jobs because of their law enforcement obligations. The separation should help resolve that, he said.

"They'll still be doing some blue shirt work, but their primary focus is now back to wildlife enforcement, which is what they need to be (doing)," he said."

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

Saturday, May 26, 2007

King Limits Up in Wrangell Narrows / Blind Slough in SE Alaska

From an ADFG News Release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish today announced an increase in the bag and possession limit for king salmon in the Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough Terminal Harvest Area from June 1 through July 31. In this area, the sport fishing bag and possession limits for all anglers will be four king salmon 28 inches or greater in length and four king salmon less than 28 inches in length. The Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough terminal harvest area near Petersburg is described as: that portion of Wrangell Narrows, south of 56O 46’ N. latitude (Martinsen’s dock) and east of the longitude, and north of the latitude, of the northern tip (Inlet Point) of Woewodski Island, and; the waters of Blind Slough upstream of a line between Blind Point and Anchor Point. King salmon caught by nonresident anglers in the terminal harvest area, June 1 – July 31, do not count toward the nonresident annual limit.

The increase in bag and possession limits are justified based on a projected run of Crystal Lake Hatchery king salmon under provisions in the Wrangell Narrows-Blind Slough Terminal Harvest Area Management Plan (5 AAC 33.381). This plan directs the department to increase the bag limit from June 1 through July 31 when the projected king salmon return to the terminal harvest area is greater than 4,000 fish. The 2007 estimated run is 5,500 king salmon. The nonresident annual limit is repealed in the terminal harvest area based on provisions in the Southeast King Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 47.055).

Anglers are reminded to observe and follow regulations concerning methods and means for this local sport fishery, which are posted at area boat launches and at access points to Blind Slough. Anyone needing further information concerning this announcement can contact the Division of Sport Fish, in Petersburg at (907) 772-5231

Friday, May 25, 2007

King Limits Lowered on Karluk and Ayakulik Rivers June 1

From an ADFG News Release:

The biological escapement goal for king salmon was not achieved in either the Karluk or Ayakulik rivers during the 2006 season. The Department is anticipating a below-average return of king salmon to these two rivers again in 2007. In order to protect this fisheries resource, the king salmon daily bag and possession limits are being reduced preseason in the Karluk and Ayakulik rivers to one per day and in possession, regardless of size. The annual limit of 5 king salmon 20 inches or longer will remain unchanged and in effect for both rivers. Lowering the daily bag and possession limit will lower the sport harvest on below-average returns and help ensure that escapement objectives are met.

The Department will closely monitor returns through the weirs. The biological escapement goal for the Karluk and Ayakulik rivers is 3,600 – 7,300 and 4,800 – 9,600, respectively. Accurate end-of-season projections of escapement goal achievement can usually be made by June 20, and further restrictions or liberalizations of sport fishing harvest opportunities will be made at that time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sport Fish Division Tagging Ninilchik Kings

From an ADFG News Release:

The Division of Sport Fish will be using a beach seine to net and tag king salmon in the lower two miles of the Ninilchik River, one day each week, from May 15 to July 28, 2007. The goal of the tagging project is to help fishery managers estimate king salmon run timing, as well as the percentage of hatchery king salmon available for harvest.

Both wild and hatchery king salmon will be tagged. Biologists will place a numbered dark green plastic tube on the fish's back, near the left side of the top (dorsal) fin. All king salmon tagged will then be released.

If you catch a tagged king salmon, please make a note of the tag number and contact the Division of Sport Fish with the tag number, and the location and date of harvest. Please do not remove the tag from kings you release.

Deshka King Limit and Hours Increase

From an ADFG News Release:

The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or longer has been increased from one (1) per day two (2) in possession to two (2) per day four (4) in possession in that part of the Deshka River open to king salmon sport fishing. Also, fishing is allowed 24 hours-per-day. These changes go into effect 6:00 a.m., Friday, May 25, through 11:59 p.m., Friday, July 13, 2007.

The area affected by the increased bag and possession limit and fishing hours in the Deshka River is from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker near Chijuk Creek, and all waters of the Susitna River within a one-half mile radius of the Deshka River confluence. The Deshka River 300 ft. upstream and downstream of the ADF&G weir located at river mile 7 remains closed to all fishing.

King salmon returns to the Deshka River have been above the escapement goal range for the past eight years, and the 2007 king salmon return should also be well above the goal. The average Deshka River king salmon sport harvest is about 7,400 fish annually, and even with a 3,000 – 5,000 fish increase, the escapement should be within the middle to upper range of the escapement goal. All other regulations for the Deshka River remain in effect.

Troublemaking Russian River Bears to be Color Marked for ID

State and federal agencies have agreed on a plan to color mark troublemaking bears that frequent the Russian River area, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The plan is to chemically immobilize bears and dye their coats with bright color markings to allow managers and anglers to be able to identify specific bears. The point is to find out which bears cause trouble and which stay away from people.

The agencies are also promoting the "stop, chop and throw" to prevent bears from being habituated to finding easy to obtain food where anglers gut their fish.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Extra Day Added for Kasilof River Anglers

From an ADFG News Release dated 10 May 2007:

Beginning May 17, Thursday will be an additional day anglers may keep a naturally-produced king salmon, which is a fish that still has its adipose fin. Hatchery king salmon, which are fish that are missing their adipose fin, can be kept seven days per week.

This news release informs Kasilof River anglers that they may keep either a naturally-produced king salmon OR a hatchery king salmon on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays, beginning May 17.

All other king salmon regulations remain the same, including the daily limits of 1 per day/1 in possession. Kasilof River king salmon that are 20 inches or longer count toward the annual limit of five, and must be recorded immediately.

According to ADF&G weir count data, escapement of naturally-produced king salmon met the goal of 650-1,700 fish in 2006 while allowing anglers to harvest a naturally produced king salmon three days per week. In 2006, 1,516 naturally-produced king salmon were counted past the weir on Crooked Creek, a tributary of the Kasilof River. Escapement counts since 2003 indicate that by increasing by one the number of days per week that anglers may keep naturally-produced kings will not threaten the sustainability of early-run Kasilof River king salmon.

For more information, contact the ADF&G Division of Sport Fish Soldotna Area Office at (907) 262-9368.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sportsmen Outraged Over Subsistence Changes

The Anchorage Daily News reports that some sportsmen are outraged over the Federal Subsistence Board's action to award subsistence fishing rights to "rural residents" living in Ninilchik on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.

"I'm a little outraged about this whole process," Kenai Peninsula sportfisherman Les Palmer told the Federal Subsistence Board as it drafted salmon and trout rules on the second day of meetings in Anchorage. "I haven't heard a word of concern from the board on the impact on the current users of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. There just seems to be no reluctance on your part to do this."

"The rules could allow residents of Ninilchik, Hope and Cooper Landing to dipnet or hook thousands of salmon from the Kenai drainage. They also let Cooper Landing and Hope residents take rainbow trout and Dolly Varden from the river."


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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Feds keep Ninilchik subsistence fishery ruling

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the Federal Subsistence Board on May 2nd rejected the State of Alaska's request to block a Kenai River subsistence fishery established the previous November.

"At issue was whether Ninilchik residents historically fished the stocks that return to the upper Kenai for spawning. In approving the fishery preference last November, board chairman Mike Fleagle said it was possible that even if Ninilchik residents didn't always fish in the upper Kenai they did fish in Cook Inlet for salmon that eventually returned to the stretch of river"

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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Wild Weekends" Opening Soon on the Ninilchick

From an ADFG News Release:

The Ninilchik River will be open continuously for hatchery king salmon starting Memorial Day weekend.

An Emergency Order has been issued to open the Ninilchik River continuously to fishing for hatchery king salmon from Saturday, May 26, 12:01 a.m. (Memorial Day weekend) through Sunday, July 15 at 11:59 p.m. Bait will be allowed until September 1, but anglers can use only one single-pointed hook through July 15. The use of double or treble hooks may resume July 16 and continue until September 1.

The harvest of wild king salmon will be permitted only during the usual “wild weekend” openings, which are Memorial Day weekend, the next two weekends and the Mondays following those weekends. Outside these dates, only hatchery king salmon may be kept, and wild king salmon may not be retained or possessed. Hatchery fish can be recognized by their missing adipose fin and healed fin clip scar. King salmon intended for release may not be removed from the water.

The fishing area remains the same: from the river mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the regulatory marker. Daily bag and possession limits for king salmon 20 inches or longer are 2 per day and 2 in possession, only 1 of which may be a wild king salmon. Daily limits for king salmon under 20 inches are 10 per day and in possession.

Any king salmon 20 inches or longer that is kept counts toward the annual limit of five and must be recorded immediately.

A person may not fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a king salmon in such a manner that prevents determination that the fish is a hatchery or wild fish until the person has stopped fishing in the Ninilchik River drainage for the day and has moved more than 100 yards away from the Ninilchik River.

Anglers will still be allowed to remove the gills and the guts from their Ninilchik River king salmon before removing the fish from the shoreline fishing site.

King salmon are stocked in the Ninilchik River to provide additional harvest opportunity for sport anglers while preventing overharvest of the wild king salmon that return to the river. Approximately 40 percent of the expected return of hatchery-produced king salmon continues to escape the fishery despite the liberal bag and possession limits.

For additional information contact Nicky Szarzi, Fisheries Biologist III, (907) 235-8191.

Small Section of Kenai River Closed

From an ADFG News Release:

300 feet above a smolt trap at River Mile 44.75 closed through June 25, 2007

This is the third year of three that the Division of Commercial Fisheries will operate red (sockeye) salmon smolt-counting equipment in the Kenai River immediately upstream of the confluence of the Upper Killey River, at River Mile 44.75.

Since floating smolt traps and sonar equipment will be anchored to the river bottom, waters within 300 feet upriver of the smolt traps are closed to sport fishing through June 25.

A mooring anchor with two buoys is located approximately 90 feet offshore of the north bank and 200 feet upriver of the smolt traps. A submerged steel cable runs from the buoys downriver to the smolt traps, and two more steel cables run directly from the smolt traps to the north bank. Additionally, a submerged steel cable runs from the north bank to the south bank on the river bottom near the smolt traps.

Anglers and boaters should use extreme caution in this area. To avoid the equipment and steel cables, boaters should stay on the south side of the river. If going downstream, stay in the left side of the river. If going upstream, stay in the right side of the river. Sport fishing gear drifted through this area will likely get snagged and lost on the equipment and cables located under the water.

For additional information contact Mark Willette, Fisheries Research Biologist, (907) 262-9368.

Yakutat Sport and Personal Use Dungeness Crab Closure

From an ADFG News Release:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that sport and personal-use Dungeness crab fishing in the Yakutat area will be closed effective 12:01AM, Friday May 4, 2007.

The most recent surveys conducted by the Department indicate the Yakutat area Dungeness crab stocks are not rebuilding following the closure of the commercial fishery in 2000. Since 2005 the Dungeness crab sport fishery, in the Yakutat vicinity, has also been closed. State Wide Harvest Survey estimates of sport Dungeness crab harvest, prior to 2005, have also shown a declining trend in the Yakutat area Dungeness crab stocks. Because these indications suggest that the stock is not rebuilding, the sport and personal use fishery will continue to be closed in 2007. The subsistence fishery will remain open as managers monitor harvest in Yakutat Bay to determine if additional conservation measures are necessary.

For further information, anglers should call the Division of Sport Fish, Yakutat, at (907) 784-3222.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tagged Rainbows in Willow Creek and other Susitna Drainages

From an ADFG News Release:

The Division of Sport Fish is studying rainbow trout in Willow Creek, a tributary of the Susitna River about 30 miles north of Wasilla. Although Willow Creek supports a popular rainbow trout fishery, the number of trout spawning in Willow Creek is unknown. The goal of the study is to collect information to help the Division sustain the fishery through appropriate management.

Division personnel will be working weekdays on Willow Creek between the mouth and Shirleytown Bridge, and on Deception Creek. A numbered, green plastic tube will be placed near the left side of the dorsal (or top) fin. Tagging will take place May 15 to July 28, 2007.

Tagged rainbow trout may move to other tributaries of the Susitna River. Anyone catching a tagged rainbow trout is asked to note the tag number and contact the Division of Sport Fish with the number plus the location and date of capture. Please do not remove the tag from the fish.

For more information on the project, and to report tagged fish, contact Chris Brockman in the Division of Sport Fish Palmer Area Office at 907-746-6338

Minto Flats Pike Limits Reduced

From an ADFG News Release:

The sport fish daily bag and possession limit for northern pike in all lakes and flowing waters of the Minto Flats area (including the Chatanika and Tolovana rivers, and Minto Lakes) is decreased to 2 fish per day, only one of these fish may be 30 inches or more in total length.



This emergency order is effective from 12:01 A.M. Friday, June 1, 2007 through 11:59 P.M. October 14, 2007 (when the pike sport fish season is closed by regulation).

Over 750 fish were harvested in the Chatanika River subsistence pike fishery from January 1 through February 22, 2007, therefore this sport fish daily bag and possession limit reduction is mandated by the Minto Flats Northern Pike Management Plan (5 AAC 70.044).

Questions or comments are welcome and should be directed to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game – Division of Sport Fish, Fairbanks Regional Office, 907-459-7228.

C&R Only for Rainbows in Anchorage Chester and Campbell Creeks

From an ADFG News Release:

An Emergency Order has been issued to restrict Campbell and Chester creeks, including University Lake, to catch-and-release only for rainbow / steelhead trout. This restriction goes into effect Thursday, May 3, 2007, for the remainder of the year. Anglers may not keep rainbow / steelhead trout from these streams, or from University Lake, and must return rainbows to the water unharmed.

Bait is still allowed on Chester Creek, and in Campbell Creek downstream of the forks near Piper Street. This Emergency Order does not affect Anchorage area stocked lakes, where the rainbow trout bag limit currently remains 5 per day / 5 in possession, only 1 per day / 1 in possession 20 inches or longer. This Emergency Order also does not affect Arctic char / Dolly Varden in these streams.

In 2006, due to the loss of warm water at the state hatcheries, only one-third of the usual Anchorage area rainbow trout quantity was available for stocking. Campbell Creek, normally stocked with 3,000 rainbow trout, was stocked with only 1,525 rainbows, and Chester Creek received only 325 rainbows. And this year, due to pathology concerns at Elmendorf Hatchery, neither of these streams will be stocked with rainbow trout.

Campbell and Chester creeks are very popular summer fisheries, so this action has been taken to help ensure good fishing opportunities throughout the year, and to protect the native populations of rainbow trout that reside in both streams.

For more information on the pathology concern, see the news release posted on the ADFG website.