All posts by Chris Cocoles

Coast Guard Searching For Missing Floatplane

The U.S. Coast Guard has been searching for a missing floatplane that left Homer on Saturday with two aboard to scout mountain goats.

Here’s KTVA TV with more:

The Coast Guard has been searching by water and in the air, since around 10 p.m. McClelland said the search is challenging because the plane’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT) never went off. There is no confirmation of water or ground landing, he said. 

“Coast Guard helicopter crews have been searching continuously since last night and we continue to, aided by the Bailey Barco,” said Cmdr. Michael Kahle, search and rescue mission coordinator. “We are also coordinating with multiple partners including the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol to assist us in the search for the missing plane.”

 

 

Hockey Star Zoe Hickel Giving Back Through Teaching

 

MALMO, SWEDEN – APRIL 4: USA’s Stephanie Anderson #18 and Zoe Hickel #36 celebrating with the Championship trophy after a 7-5 gold medal game win over Canada at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

MALMO, SWEDEN – APRIL 3: Russia’s Valeria Tarakanova #1 reaches out to make a glove save while Yelena Silina #16 and USA’s Zoe Hickel #36 look on during semifinal round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Photo courtesy of Zoe Hickel.

As a massive hockey fan that I am, some of my favorite profiles I’ve written are on players such as Alaskan NHLers like Nate Thompson and Matt Carle.  And I also enjoyed getting to know Zoe Hickel,  who became a standout player both in college (Minnesota-Duluth), on the international stage (she won a world championship gold medal with Team USA) and professionally (she participated in the inaugural season in the American’s women’s pro league, the NWHL, and played the 2017-18 hockey season in China).

Hickel is giving back in her home state of Alaska by hosting a strength and conditioning clinic later this month for aspiring female athletes (with an assist from her sister, Tori, who also played Division I college hockey at Northeastern University and plays professionally in Sweden).

KTUU’s Kari Bustamante, herself a fomer star volleyball player, has a report on Hickel’s camp. (Check out the video below).

Here’s a little more in Bustamante’s piece:

Zoe Hickel’s Summer Training Program runs June 11th-26th at Elite Sports Performance and is customized to work on strength, mobility, power, speed, agility, and conditioning.

Zoe tells KTUU that she tries to spend as much time off the ice in the summer, and that aspiring athletes should do the same. “During those developing years, it’s hugely important. If you do want to make gains and make it to the next level, this is where it happens.” 

You can get more information on Zoe Hickel’s program here.

Here’s Zoe’s sister Tori’s website. 

 

 

Alaska Enduring Dozens Of Wildfires

While summer is welcomed in many places, especially Alaska given the long and dark winters there, warmer, drier weather usually spells trouble for fire crews, and Alaska is suffering through several wildfires, per KTVA TV in Anchorage:

At least five new lightning-caused wildfires ignited Tuesday around McGrath in Southwest, according to fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry. 

The largest of the currently-burning wildfires is the Tusikpak Lake Fire near Point Hope. Smokejumpers were called in to bring the 2000+ acre fire under tundra grass control. The BLM Alaska Fire Service says there are seven cabins and numerous Native allotments within the area of the blaze. … 

The BLM says as of Tuesday morning, Alaska has had 118 fires with 3150 acres burned so far. Of those, 93 are determined to be human-caused. Two are still unknown, with the rest either naturally or lightning-caused.

 

Sport Fishing For King Salmon Opens In Hatchery Areas Near Juneau

Wikimedia photo of Douglas Island – near Juneau – by user Dinker022089.

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish announced today that sport fishing regulations for hatchery king salmon will be liberalized in a designated saltwater hatchery sport harvest area near Juneau (see attached map). These new regulations are intended to provide opportunity to harvest surplus hatchery king salmon returning to the Juneau area.

The hatchery king salmon regulations in the designated saltwater hatchery sport harvest area will be in effect from 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 15 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, August 31, 2018. These new regulations are as follows:

  • The daily bag and possession limit is 2 king salmon of any size;
  • King salmon harvested by nonresidents in the designated saltwater hatchery sport harvest area do not count toward their annual limit.

The department is liberalizing sport fishing regulations in the designated hatchery sport harvest area due to the number of returning hatchery fish exceeding brood stock needs for the hatchery program.

Anglers should note that the bag, possession and size limits for king salmon in the salt waters outside of the designated saltwater hatchery sport harvest area are more restrictive, and that regulations prohibit anglers from possessing fish that exceed the limits for the waters where they are fishing. Therefore, anglers who catch king salmon within the designated saltwater hatchery sport harvest area may not continue to fish outside of that area if they possess king salmon that do not comply with the regional king salmon bag, possession and size limits.

For additional information contact the Division of Sport Fish Region 1 office in Juneau at (907) 465-4270

Sport Fishing For King Salmon Opens In Hatchery Areas Near Juneau

Alaska Ponders What To Do With Hagfish

 

Hagfish photo by ADFG

Laine Welch, who covers all things fish in the state, has an interesting report today on the little-known eel-like hagfish population in Alaska. 

Here’s Welch with more in her column:

Little is known about hagfish in Alaska, although they are commonly caught elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. In Oregon, for example, a fleet of 15 to 20 boats catches up to 2 million pounds each year in customized five-gallon buckets or large barrels and pay fishermen up to $1.25 per pound.

Now, two Alaska biologists who were given a special permit to catch 60,000 pounds of hagfish for their studies are testing the waters for a fishery with a longliner in Southeast.

“It’s commonly seen as a pest,” said Andrew Olson, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Douglas. “In longline fisheries for sablefish, they often leave slime blobs on the hooks and strip bait, and they get into shrimp pots as well.”

Olson is in the second year of a hagfish study with fellow researcher Aaron Baldwin. Their goal is to “keep the science ahead of any fishery to make sure it is sustainable” by learning more about the unique species.

“We are looking at basic biology such as length, weight and egg counts in females. We can’t yet age the fish and they don’t thrive well in captivity. We are really starting from scratch,” Olson said.

Reproduction and spawning have never been witnessed or documented, and biologists don’t know where or when hagfish do so.

“We’ve seen eggs, and juveniles, but nothing in between,” said Baldwin. “No one has ever seen a baby hagfish.”

A single foot-and-a-half, nine-ounce hagfish can fill a bucket with slime in seconds from 100 glands alongside its body.

 

Washington Senator Continuing To Press Lawmakers On Pebble Mine

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (in green), joins local fisherman and community members at a Stop Pebble Mine Rally in Seattle in 2014. (CHRIS COCOLES)

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) has been one of the more vocal Lower 48 politicians in opposition of the Pebble Mine.   Cantwell sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week in an attempt to raise more awareness in her state, home to many of the commercial fishers who work Alaska’s salmon-rich waters around Bristol Bay.

Here’s a link to Cantwell’s full letter to R.D. James, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. She writes,

I write to call on the Army Corps of Engineers to expand opportunities for public comment and testimony during the public scoping period and subsequent public comment periods in the Corps Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. It is critical that the Army Corps is as rigorous, transparent and thorough as possible to ensure that Bristol Bay salmon and the jobs that rely on them are protected from the potentially devastating impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine. Your agency’s process must include stakeholders impacted by this decision, which includes Washington state fishermen and small businesses who rely on Bristol Bay and Bristol Bay salmon for their livelihood.

This year, more than 51 million sockeye salmon are expected to return to Bristol Bay, the world’s largest sockeye fishery and one of the world’s largest Chinook fisheries. Pacific Northwest fishermen, shipbuilders, suppliers, sportsmen and restaurants have built an economy around this one-of-a-kind sustainable fishery. The commercial sockeye fishery is valued at $1.5 billion in annual economic output, including $500 million in direct income. Bristol Bay supports 12,000 commercial fishing jobs and another 10,000 salmon-related industry jobs across the United States, including thousands of jobs in Washington state. In addition to commercial fisheries, private anglers take an estimated 37,000 fishing trips every year to Bristol Bay, generating $60 million in economic activity and supporting another 850 full and part time jobs.

The Corps estimates the final Pebble Mine EIS will be completed as early as 2019, with a decision on the project expected in early 2020. I am extremely concerned about this expedited timeline, especially considering the magnitude of the proposed Pebble Mine. Comparatively, the proposed Donlin Gold Project in Western Alaska is in the midst of a six year permitting process. Public Scoping for Donlin Gold began in March of 2013 and the Preliminary Draft EIS was completed in June of 2015—a full two years later. The Draft EIS was then published in November of 2015 and was followed by a full six month comment period until May of 2016, allowing for thorough and repeated opportunities for public participation and technical comments on the project. This thorough environmental review is critical to ensuring best available science is used in public policy decision making, and to make certain all voices are heard.

In addition to the ongoing 90-day public comment period for the scoping process, the Corps had announced only nine public scoping meetings, all in the state of Alaska. There are no public meetings scheduled in Washington state. This expedited process is grossly insufficient, and does not allow my constituents the opportunity to participate in the permitting process in person. As Washington state residents are directly impacted by the permitting decision for the proposed Pebble Mine, I urge to the Corps hold public meetings in Washington state.

Due to the importance of Bristol Bay fisheries to our economy, Washington fishermen, suppliers and businesses have an enormous interest in ensuring that Bristol Bay salmon continue to thrive for generations. Washington state fishermen, sportsmen, and small business owners deserve to have a seat at the table as the Army Corps considers the proposed Pebble Mine. If permitted, the Pebble Mine would be one of the largest mines in our nation’s history—located in the headwaters of one of the greatest salmon runs on earth. The stakes are too high to leave out these important voices.

A little more from the Anchorage Daily News on Cantwell’s plea:

Cantwell said her constituents should have a say in the ongoing environmental review of the project because many of them have interests and livelihoods tied up in Bristol Bay.

“Pacific Northwest fishermen, shipbuilders, suppliers, sportsmen and restaurants have built an economy around this one-of-a-kind sustainable fishery,” the letter said.

The Army Corps said it plans to complete an environmental impact statement in 2019, and offer a decision on the project in 2020.

Cantwell said that schedule is too fast, “grossly insufficient, and does not allow my constituents the opportunity to participate in the permitting process in person.”

“The stakes are too high to leave out these important voices,” Cantwell wrote.

The Army Corps extended the comment period to 90 days from 30 days upon the request of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The time to submit comments by mail or online ends June 29, and the Corps planned community meetings that ended in Anchorage on April 19.

 

ADFG Announces King Salmon Restrictions/Closures In Homer Area

ADFG photo

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

King Salmon Fishing Restrictions in Effect for the Marine Waters in Lower Cook Inlet

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restriction in marine waters within 1-mile of shore from Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 2, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 2018. King salmon fishing (including catch-and-release) is prohibited in response to the weak inseason run projection for Anchor River king salmon.

As of May 29, 2018, only 90 king salmon have been counted using a combination of sonar and video weirs on the Anchor River. The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for Anchor River king salmon is 3,800-7,600 fish, and based on 2009-2014 average run timing ADF&G is projecting the SEG will not be achieved and has closed sport fishing on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek to reduce the mortality of king salmon in these drainages.

“Based on genetic analysis from 2014-2016, approximately 10% to 25% of the early run harvest north of Bluff Point originated from Cook Inlet streams,” stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “In waters north of Bluff Point, maturing king salmon (spawners) tend to be harvested near shore at a greater rate than immature (non-local) king salmon. From 1996-2002 and 2014-2017, the king salmon harvest north of Bluff Point more than 1 mile from shore was primarily comprised of outside Cook Inlet stocks. Therefore, it is justified to prohibit retention of king salmon in salt waters within one mile of shore while these locally spawning king salmon migrate through the area and into fresh water.”

In conjunction with this restriction, a sport fishing regulation closure was issued closing sport fishing on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages.

The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep Creek Drainages Closed to Sport Fishing

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation closures on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 2, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 2018, to sport fishing.

As of May 29, 2018, only 90 king salmon have been counted using a combination of sonar and video weirs on the Anchor River. The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for Anchor River king salmon is 3,800-7,600 fish, and based on 2009-2014 average run timing ADF&G is projecting the SEG will not be achieved. By this same date when runs were weak (2009-2014), escapement averaged 301 king salmon. The final escapement for these years ranged between 2,497 in 2014 to 4,509 in 2012.

“During the weak run years, inriver and nearby marine fisheries were managed conservatively using a combination of restrictions and closures,” stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “The Anchor River king salmon escapement failed to achieve the SEG from 2009-2011 and 2014 despite restrictions including closures. To minimize the shifting of effort due to conservation actions for the Anchor River, it is warranted to restrict sport fishing on the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek as well.”

In conjunction with this closure, a sport fishing regulation restriction was issued pertaining to king salmon fishing (including catch-and-release) in marine waters within 1-mile of shore from Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River in response to the weak inseason run projection for Anchor River king salmon.

Deadliest Catch Mourns Death Of Capt. Blake Painter

Blake Painter photo by Discovery Channel.

The Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch is mourning the sudden death of  Capt. Blake Painter, who was on the popular show  in its earlier days. Here’s USA Today with more:

Blake Painter, a former crab fisherman on Deadliest Catch, was found dead in his home last week, according to authorities in Clatsop County, Ore., who are awaiting toxicology reports before declaring the cause of death.

Painter, 38, was found dead Friday by a friend who became concerned after not seeing him for several days, Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin told USA TODAY. When the friend stopped by Painter’s home just outside the town of Astoria, Ore., he saw a body lying prone on the kitchen floor and called the Sheriff’s Office, Bergin said. 

Bergin said Painter had been dead for a couple of days by the time deputies entered the house and found him. The cause of death has not been determined, he said. 

He said there were no signs of foul play or suspicious circumstances. Drugs, including prescription drugs, were found in the home but they may not have anything to do with Painter’s death, Bergin said.

“We just have to wait a few weeks for the toxicology report,” he said.

Bergin said Painter was familiar to local law enforcement, having “visited our facility a few times.” …

Painter appeared on the show in early seasons, working as an engineer and eventually as the skipper of the crab boat F/V Maverick for a total of six years. 

Condolences to Blake Painter’s loved ones.

 

Fishing Updates From Around Alaska

Photo by Mike Lunde

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Fishing Updates

Northern Kenai Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Northern Kenai Peninsula Area before heading out on their next fishing trip.
  • Per Emergency Order No. 2-DV-1-04-18, effective January 1, 2018, the retention of Arctic char/Dolly Varden is prohibited in Stormy Lake to continue the restoration of native fish stocks.
  • Per Emergency Order No. 2-NP-1-03-18, effective January 1, 2018, in Soldotna Creek Drainage Lakes sport fishing will be permitted at East and West Mackey, Sevena, Union, and Derks lakes; however, the retention of all species of fish is prohibited at these lakes.
  • Many flowing waters closed May 1, 2018, to sport fishing by regulation in order to protect spawning fish. Anglers are reminded to check the current regulation booklet as the water they may intend to fish may be closed to ALL fishing.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • Fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kenai River is slow. Water conditions are low and clear.
  • Fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kasilof River is slow with a few king salmon being caught in the section of the river near the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.
  • The Upper Kenai River and Russian River do not open to sport fishing until June 11.

Lake Fishing

  • Lake fishing for trout should be improving with warming lake temperatures.
  • Spirit (Elephant) and Island Lakes have recently been stocked with catchable Arctic char.
  • Johnson Lake has recently been stocked with catchable rainbow trout.

Personal Use

  • Hooligan fishing on the Kenai River has dropped off and is reported as slow.

Northern Pike

  • All lakes with developed public access on the Peninsula have had invasive pike removed.

Bristol Bay Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

Freshwater Fishing

  • All rivers and most lake are now ice free.

King Salmon

  • It is still early for king salmon in the Naknek and Alagnak drainages. Sport fishing should be productive by mid-June in the Naknek and late June in the Alagnak.
  • It is still early for king salmon in the Nushagak drainage. Sport fishing should be productive by mid-June.
    • The sonar is scheduled to be operational approximately June 5. Management will be in accordance with the Nushagak/Mulchatna King Salmon Management Plan. No substantial inseason information will be available until after June 20. Productivity of Nushagak kings has been consistently fair to good in recent years; therefore, ADF&G is cautiously optimistic for a good return in 2018.
  • In the Togiak River and nearby drainages is it still early for king salmon. Sport fishing will not likely be productive until late June.

Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling

  • Most of the flowing waters of the Kvichak and Alagnak River drainages and portions of the Naknek River drainage remain closed to all fishing until June 8 to protect spawning rainbow trout.
  • On the Naknek River, angling is fair to good in the portions of the drainage that remain open to fishing.
  • In the Togiak River and nearby drainages, there have been no angling fishing reports from this section, though opportunities should improve as ice recedes and waters warm.
  • In the Wood River Lakes system fishing should be good to excellent in and at the outlets of larger tributaries of the lakes.

Northern Pike

  • In the Naknek and Alagnak River drainages angling is good in the portions of the drainage that remain open to fishing.
  • In the Wood River Lake system fishing should be good along the lake and slough shores.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

  • In the Nushagak Bay area fishing should be fair off the coast of Protection Point.

Kodiak Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases for the Kodiak Area before heading out on their next fishing trip.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-06-18, effective June 1, 2018, in the Ayakulik River drainage, king salmon fishing is restricted to catch and release. All king salmon caught must be released without being removed from the water. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited and only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lures may be used.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-07-18, effective June 1, 2018, in the Karluk River drainage, including Karluk Lagoon, fishing for king salmon is closed. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited for all fishing downstream of Karluk Lake.
    • Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-4-08-18, effective June 1, 2018, Monashka Creek and Bay are closed to king salmon fishing. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in Monashka Creek.
  • Anglers are reminded there are new rockfish regulations for the Kodiak Area.
    • The bag and possession limits for rockfish in Chiniak and Marmot Bays has been reduced to 3 per day, 6 in possession, only 2 per day, 4 in possession may be non-pelagic, and only 1 per day, 2 in possession may be a Yelloweye. Please review the 2018 Southwest Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a detailed map of the affected area.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • The Buskin River weir is currently being installed but no fish have been counted yet. In recent years, the Buskin sockeye salmon run has peaked in the first week of June, but the run appears to be starting out slower this year.
  • The Karluk weir is also being installed right now but just a handful of sockeye and king salmon have been counted. Other weirs currently in place are Litnik and Ayakulik and just a few reds have been counted at these locations.
  • In anticipation of relatively poor returns in 2018, sport fishing for king salmon in the Karluk River drainage, including Karluk Lagoon, will be closed. In addition, the use of bait for all sport fishing is prohibited downstream of Karluk Lake and single hooks must be used.
  • Poor king salmon run returns are also expected this year for the Ayakulik River. Consequently, king salmon sport fishing is restricted to catch and release only. Bait is not allowed for any sport fishing during this time and only single hooks, artificial lures may be used.
  • In recent years, returns of stocked king salmon have been poor to Monashka Creek; however, returns have been excellent at the American and Olds Rivers. Poor returns are expected again this year; therefore, Monashka Creek and Bay are subsequently closed to king salmon fishing to aid in collection of brood stock for enhancement of road system king salmon runs. In addition, in Monashka Creek, bait may not be used, and only single hooks are allowed.
  • The freshwaters of Pillar Creek will be open to king salmon fishing, but the immediately adjacent saltwaters are closed.
  • King salmon should be returning to the American, Olds, and Salonie in good numbers, but look for these runs to start in mid-June.

Trout, Dolly Varden

  • Dolly Varden are leaving freshwaters and headed to the ocean for the summer. Recent fishing success has been reported in Buskin Lake and Buskin River. Look for areas where salmon fry congregate as dollies often feed on salmon fry as they make their way back to the ocean for the summer.
  • Other popular spots on the Buskin include the Beaver Pond and near the upper weir site.

Lake Fishing

  • This is an excellent time to fish our stocked lakes as rainbows are becoming more active as waters warm up and they begin to feed more actively. Visit lower elevation lakes first as fish will be more active in warmer waters.
  • Although ADF&G currently stocks only sterile juvenile trout, some lakes with a stocking history dating to the 1950s may also contain spawning populations of adult fish. Review the 2018 Southwest Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a current list of stocked lakes as harvest of rainbow trout is only allowed in lakes that are currently stocked.
  • Rainbow trout typically spawn during the month of May, and anglers wishing to avoid catching these fish should target their efforts away from flowing waters into or out of lakes during that time.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

  • Few reports of anglers catching halibut have come in so far. Anglers should try fishing deeper waters in the 200-300 feet range or more for halibut this time of year.

Salmon

  • King salmon fishing has been reported to be good in the vicinity of Chiniak recently when the weather has allowed. Fishing should be picking up in the coming weeks as water temperatures warm.
  • Other popular spots to fish kings in May are Kalsin, Sharatin, and Kizhuyak Bays and in between Woody and Long Islands.

Other Saltwater Fishing

  • Black rockfish can be caught just out of the boat harbor near kelp beds along rock pinnacles and other natural or man-made structures. Rockfish are also frequently caught from shore at locations such as the outer reaches of White Sand beach and the breakwater barrier shielding St. Paul Harbor. Remember to check the current regulations for the area you intend to fish. Bag limits for rockfish have been reduced to 3 per day for pelagic rockfish in Chiniak and Marmot Bays.
  • Anglers are reminded that the lingcod season does not open until July 1.

Mat-Su Fishing Report

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Regulation Reminders

  • Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Northern Cook Inlet Area before heading out on their next fishing trip. The Regulation Summary booklet is available on the ADF&G website, ADF&G offices, and local vendors.
  • Anglers are reminded that flowing waters in the Palmer-Wasilla Zone are CLOSED to all fishing until June 15.
  • Many flowing waters along the Parks Highway are catch-and-release only for rainbow trout until June 15.
  • Anglers are advised that, in an effort to meet king salmon escapement goals in the Susitna River and Little Susitna River drainages, the following sport fishing restrictions are in effect May 1 – July 13:

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-10-18, effective May 1, 2018, for Units 1-6 of the Susitna River drainage:

  • Sport fishing for king salmon (of any size) is open to catch-and-release in the Deshka and Yentna rivers.
  • Sport fishing for king salmon is closed in the remainder of the Susitna River drainage.
  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Susitna River drainages. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for other species, including trout, will be allowed seven days per week, this includes the waters within Unit 2 that are normally closed during the king salmon season.

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-2-09-18, effective May 1, 2018, for the Little Susitna drainage:

  • Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed in the Little Susitna River drainage. Single-hook means a fish hook with only one point. Treble hooks and more than one single-hook are prohibited.
  • Fishing for king salmon is allowed; however, king salmon may only be retained on FridaySaturdaySunday, and Monday in the Little Susitna River drainage. King salmon may not be retained on TuesdayWednesday, and Thursday and any king salmon caught on these days may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
  • The annual limit of two king salmon 20 inches or longer is areawide. The total annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or longer taken from fresh waters of Cook Inlet remains at five, which only two may be from the Little Susitna River drainage.
  • The Eklutna Tailrace is excluded from all king salmon emergency order restrictions.
  • Anglers are reminded that on the little Susitna River, a person may not sport fish from a boat that is powered by use of a motor, unless the motor is a 4-stroke motor or direct fuel injection 2-stroke motor. Anglers may use a boat powered by a non-direct fuel injected 2-stroke motor to access areas to sport fish from the bank but may not sport fish from the boat.

Freshwater Fishing

Salmon

  • A few kings have been caught at the mouth of the Deshka River. Fishing should pick up as the end of the month approaches.
  • The Deshka weir is in the process of being installed, fish counts will be available next week.
  • The Little Susitna weir is up and running, only six fish have been counted, king salmon fishing is slow. Harvest is only allowed Fridays, SaturdaySunday, and Mondays.
  • The Eklutna Tailrace should provide a lucky angler with the first king salmon of the season by this weekend.

Trout, Dolly Varden, Grayling

  • Parks Highway streams, including Willow Creek and streams to the north, are providing good action for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Grayling. Try fishing fly patterns with a beaded head or leech patterns.
  • Reminder, Deception Creek is closed to all fishing until June 15.

Northern Pike

  • Anglers may retain as many pike as they can catch as there is no bag or possession limit. In the freshwaters of West Cook Inlet and Susitna River drainage, anglers are not allowed to release live pike back into the water.
  • Northern pike may be found in shallow, grassy waters where they should now be aggressively feeding following the spawn. Don’t forget to try a weedless leech. This is also a good time to try bow fishing.
  • For road-accessible pike fishing try the Nancy Lake Recreation Area lakes and Big, Prator, Memory, Anderson, and King lakes.
  • Boat-accessible pike fishing can be found in the side sloughs of the Deshka River, Alexander Creek, Fish Creek (Kroto Slough), and in Hewitt Lake.
  • For fly-in pike fishing try Alexander, Eightmile, Trapper, Flathorn and Sucker Lakes.

Lake Fishing

  • Lakes recently stocked with Arctic Char catchables include: Echo, Seventeenmile, Long Lake (Glenn Highway), Lynne, Memory, Prator, and Carpenter Lakes.
  • If you are looking for a good place to camp and fish a stocked lake try: South Rolly, Kepler/Bradley, Matanuska, Finger, Lucille, and Rocky.
  • Long Lake (Glenn HWY), Knob, and North Knob lakes have a few places you can camp which are considered un-developed.
  • If you want a 4-wheel adventure, try Ruby, and Wishbone Lakes.
  • Anglers can visit the ADF&G Hatcheries and Stocking webpage for more information regarding when and where fish are stocked.

Personal Use

  • Hooligan are in abundance this year along sand bars on the lower Susitna River. Dip them while you can. This run will begin to taper off at the end of May. There is no bag or possession limit for personal use hooligan.
  • This is a personal-use fishery and only Alaska residents can participate. No permit is required, but you do need a valid 2018 Alaska resident sport fishing license or an ADF&G Permanent fishing license ID card with you.

 

Pebble Mine Project Hits Another Snag; Company Pulls Out

. (ALASKA TREKKER/WIKIMEDIA)

Opponents of the Pebble Mine saw another company back out of the proposed project, which has seen past companies enter and then withdraw its commitment to mining the Bristol Bay area. First Quantum Minerals Ltd., which had teamed up with primary backer Northern Dynasty Minerals to form the Pebble Partnership, announced it was splitting away from the project.

Here’s Northern Dynasty’s statement announcing the termination of a deal with First Quantum:

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (TSX: NDM; NYSE American: NAK) (“Northern Dynasty” or the “Company”) advises that Northern Dynasty and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (“First
Quantum”) (TSX: FM) have been unable to reach agreement on the option and partnership transaction contemplated in the December 15, 2017 framework agreement (the “Framework Agreement”) between the parties. As such, the Framework Agreement has been terminated in accordance with its terms.

Here’s Bloomberg with more on  the financial effect on Northern Dynasty as news broke in the last few hours:

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. plummeted Friday after the collapse of a pact with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to finance the controversial Pebble mining project in Alaska.

The two companies were unable to reach an agreement on a proposed deal disclosed in December, Northern Dynasty said Friday in a statement. The arrangement would have given a unit of First Quantum an option to earn a 50 percent interest in Pebble in return for $150 million paid over four years to fund permitting.

The project at one of the largest copper and gold deposits has been fraught for years. Effectively banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, shares of Northern Dynasty surged after Donald Trump’s election victory. The shares climbed further in January 2017 during nomination hearings for Scott Pruitt, a climate-change skeptic, to become head of the EPA. …

The environmental group Earthworks also applauded First Quantum’s decision.

Northern Dynasty dropped as much as 37 percent Friday in New York, and traded down 25 percent at 53 cents as of 11:02 a.m. First Quantum fell 3.7 percent to C$20.03 in Toronto.

Here’s some reaction to the news:

From NRDC, which featured the headline:

First Quantum Minerals Makes the Right Call, Backs Away from Pebble Mine

The fourth major investor to pull out from the massive open-pit mine—which would cause irreparable damage to Alaska’s ecologically sensitive Bristol Bay watershed—First Quantum made its decision just weeks after a delegation of community leaders from the Bristol Bay region, alongside environmental groups like NRDC, attended First Quantum’s annual shareholders’ meeting, arguing strongly against pursuing the project. “It’s the wrong project in the wrong place,” Reynolds says, “and today’s announcement is the latest proof that it’s a bad investment—financially, environmentally, and socially.”

Not only is Bristol Bay one of our most pristine wild places, it also provides half the world’s supply of sockeye salmon and is home to sensitive species like bears, eagles, and wolves. The region also supports 14,000 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic activity each year.

“There is no more widely condemned project anywhere in the world today, and now it’s time for Northern Dynasty to walk away,” Reynolds says. “Bristol Bay is a national treasure whose invaluable fisheries resources must be protected and sustained forever.”

Here’s a statement from environmental group Earthworks’  Northwest Program Director Bonnie Gestring:

“It is great news that First Quantum decided to forgo their investment in the proposed Pebble mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. First Quantum is the latest in a string of investors to recognize that it’s a bad idea to put North America’s largest open pit mine in the spawning grounds of the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery.

It is to First Quantum’s credit, and good news for First Quantum shareholders, that their leadership listened to Pebble’s overwhelming opposition including Alaska Natives, commercial and recreational fisherman, jewelers, churches, among others.

First Quantum’s decision, following similar decisions by Rio Tinto and Anglo American, serves to reinforce Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s statement that ‘any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there’. We hope First Quantum’s decision convinces EPA to follow through on its initial plan to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from industrial scale mining.”

Some more reaction on Twitter: