All posts by Chris Cocoles

Yukon River Chinook Fishing Closed

PHOTO COURTESY OF USFWS ALASKA

PHOTO COURTESY OF USFWS ALASKA

 

The Yukon River’s Chinook salmon fishery has been on the decline in recent years. In 2010, then Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke declared a “fishery failure” and a “disaster” in the Yukon for low fish returns.

On the heels of a 30-year-worst king salmon run in the Yukon, local fishermen pleaded to shut down the fishing with another dismal projection expected. From the Anchorage Daily News: 

Last year’s Chinook run was the worst on record dating back to 1982. Biologists estimate that only 76,000 kings returned to the Yukon River, which is only one-quarter of what the chinook run averaged 15 or 20 years ago. 

Subsistence fishing was drastically reduced as a result, much the way it has been for the last several years in what is the state’s largest king salmon subsistence fishery, which has prompted multiple disaster declarations by Gov. Sean Parnell.

Based on information laid out in Tuesday’s meeting, which was sponsored by the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association, the situation doesn’t look any more promising this year. In fact, subsistence fishing may be reduced even more this year to try and get more fish to spawning grounds in Canada.

Biologists are projecting a king salmon run between 64,000 and 121,000 this summer. Given that runs the last several years have come in at the low end of the projection range, biologist Dr. Stephanie Schmidt said ADFG will manage for a run of only 64,000, which would mean a border passage of only about 32,000 kings. …

“These fish are not going to be here forever, not the way we’re catching them,” Huntington told dozens of fishermen sitting around tables in the Binkley Room at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on Tuesday during a pre-season planning meeting with fisheries managers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “It wouldn’t hurt to take a few years off and say, ‘Let them go.’ There are other fish out there.”

You know things are bleak when even those who depend on the fish in the river are urging those who make the tough decisions to make a very tough decision.

Here’s a portion of today’s report from CBC expected to shut down the river as the season approaches in the summer:

Fishery manager Jeff Estensen says that includes subsistence harvesters.

“The fishermen on the Alaska side of things can really expect to see no opportunity to fish for Chinook salmon at all in 2014,” Estensen says.

In the 1990s, the Chinook run averaged more than 300,000 fish.

Since 2008, fewer than half that number have returned to the Yukon River.

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska State Troopers Lose Two In Line Of Duty

This isn’t hunting or fishing related, but our thoughts are with the two Alaska State Troopers killed in the line of duty in the village of Tanana on Thursday.

RIP Sgt. Patrick Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich. The two officers have appeared on the National Geographic Channel show Alaska State Troopers. 

Saddened by loss of 2 #AlaskaStateTroopers yesterday. Our deepest condolences to their families and the entire force. pic.twitter.com/iRkwoQyARl

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Sweet Deals On Two Most ‘Overlooked’ Weeks At Katmai Lodge

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By Andy Walgamott, on April 30th, 2014

Fly fishing season is upon us. Presently we are very busy loading up supplies and making sure Katmai Lodge is ready to open in June. We are very excited to begin this season with you.

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

Katmai Lodge would like to offer you a ONE-TIME SPECIAL PRICE of $5,000 for a SEVEN-NIGHT STAY on two of the most overlooked weeks of the year.

JUNE 28-JULY 5
This week was last year’s BEST for king and sockeye fishing as well as great trout and grayling. With the mild winter and early spring, the Alagnak River should be in prime shape for another early arrival of kings en masse.

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

Coupled with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game wanting to get sockeye escapement into the river, this is the most consistent week for non-stop numbers. It’s also a perfect time for trout and grayling on mice and other dry flies.

JULY 26-AUGUST 2
Always wanted to learn to fly fish? Catch that king salmon on the fly? This week of transition is the time 90 percent of our king run is already here and the chum salmon run is at its peak. With the onset of the pink salmon run and shots at silvers, the river will be boiling with fish (only sockeye are unavailable at this time) – and it is all here waiting for you, all at a time without pressure on the river though not for a lack of great fishing!

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

Katmai Lodge offers personalized fishing adventures for groups of all sizes and experience levels. Accessed through its private airstrip with its own amphibious equipped de Havilland Turbine Otter, the main lodge rests atop a bluff overlooking the Alagnak River, offering hundreds of miles of fishing in Alaska’s only designated Trophy Fishing Area.

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

Already one of the great fishing ecosystems in Alaska, fishing on the Alagnak continues to improve. The pristine river is uniquely home to all five Pacific salmon species along with native stream fish such as rainbow trout, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden/char, with four or five salmon species spawning within 2 miles below and 45 miles above the lodge.

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

The region is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, which provides amazing photo opportunities.

An experienced guide staff personalizes each guest experience, making use of the lodge’s 40 boats to explore the full range of the Alagnak. Our river-based lodge is only 10 minutes away from tidewater. Its diverse fleet of both jet and prop boats allows for both sea-fresh salmon and rainbow trout fishing, while the lodge’s floatplane enables easy access to Katmai National Park for viewing the renowned Brooks Falls brown bears and for fishing the area’s many blue-ribbon trout streams.

When off the water, anglers are encouraged to enjoy the unrivaled amenities of Katmai Lodge, which boasts more square footage per guest than any other lodge in Alaska. World-class chefs prepare hearty breakfasts and gourmet dinners in the central dining room.

(KATMAI LODGE)

(KATMAI LODGE)

The main lodge includes a fully stocked fly-tying area complete with expert instruction, central gathering place, a clothing and gift shop as well as Internet access. Adjacent guest cabins welcome anglers to rest and relax, offering the privacy of individual common areas.

The high season for Alaskan salmon fishing at Katmai Lodge runs from late June through September, with trout season opening June 8th. For reservations or to inquire about group packages, anglers should visit the newly launched website at www.katmai.com or call 1 (800) 330-0326 for more information.

 

Preparing For 2014 Bristol Bay Sockeye Season

The sockeye salmon season in the Bristol Bay area will kick off in early summer, and here’s an audio report from Mike Mason of KDLG radio in Dillingham, posted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Among Mason’s report, when he spoke with ADFG area biologist Paul Salomone, who oversees the area that includes the Egekik River:

* In anticipation of an early run, ADFG plans to put together counting towers earlier than normal in the Egegik.

* ADFG anticipates the Egegik sockeye run at around 4.65 million, with an escapement goal of anywhere between 800,000 to 1.4 million fish.

Mason also provided an update on the Ugashik River District in an interview with Salomone.

 

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Washington fishing outfit pleads guilty to illegal fishing charges in Alaska

That’s a lot of lingcod: 11,000 pounds worth caught illegally in the Gulf of Alaska by a Washington-based group, Fisherman’s Finest LLC. The Alaska State Troopers Wildlife Division found that the company had retained 11,000 pounds of a total 56,000 pounds of fish caught in 2010 and 2011. But the intent was not deemed to be malicious, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Here are the nut graphs of the Daily News story:

In July 2010 and 2011, investigators said, the F/V US Intrepid harvested more than 56,000 pounds of lingcod in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, which is state water. At the time, the company was operating under federal regulations as a test rockfish fishery, said Sgt. Brent Johnson, the investigating officer on the case.

The majority of the lingcod was released, but 11,000 pounds was retained and sold commercially, troopers said. Under federal guidelines, such activity was legal, but the state retains management control of that particular species, Johnson said.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/04/22/3436482/company-pleads-guilty-to-illegal.html#storylink=cpy
Fisherman’s Finest pleaded guilty to the charges and will pay a fine of $12,500 ($2,500 suspended), plus be on probation for three years and pay a forfeiture of just over $10,000 for the value of the lingcod haul that was kept.

Hunters, Anglers Blast 5 US Senators Who Want To Strip EPA From Regulating Pebble Mine

By Andy Walgamott, on April 16th, 2014

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPORTSMAN’S ALLIANCE FOR ALASKA

Today, 14 leading sportsmen’s and conservation groups expressed their strong opposition to the Regulatory Fairness Act, which would halt the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from the proposed Pebble Mine. The groups sent a letter outlining their concerns to the co-sponsors of the legislation, which include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Sens. David Vitter (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and James Risch (ID). These groups are some of over 1,000 sportsmen’s organizations and businesses that have written the EPA in support of its efforts to protect Bristol Bay.

From the letter: It was with great disappointment that we read your recent legislation to eliminate the EPA’s current work to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska for future generations of hunters and anglers. Stopping the Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay’s headwaters is one of the top priorities for the sportsmen community across the U.S.; a fact that we hope is not lost on Senators who represent not only many sportsmen, but some of the best hunting and fishing areas in the country. While we do not always agree with the EPA or its actions, in the case of Bristol Bay, the EPA is acting to protect productive fish and game habitat, thousands of jobs, and $1.5 billion in annual economic impact.”

“The development of a massive surface mine such as Pebble and its likely impacts on the waters and fish and wildlife resources of Bristol Bay, Alaska, have been thoroughly analyzed through the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The EPA’s undertaking of the 404(c) review process is the next logical step under the Clean Water Act which is needed and justified to ensure the conservation of the unique resources of Bristol Bay.”

The Regulatory Fairness Act would prohibit the EPA from using its Clean Water Act Section 404(c) authority to restrict permits at “any time” that a particular development will have an “unacceptable adverse effect” on America’s waterways or fisheries. In the case of the proposed Pebble Mine, the EPA’s exhaustive 3-year peer-reviewed scientific study found that even without a catastrophic accident it will destroy up to 94 miles of salmon spawning streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds in the Bristol Bay region. In February, the EPA began the 404(c) process to determine the best way to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.

“The legislation these Senators are supporting runs directly counter to one of the top priorities for hunters and anglers from across the U.S.,” said Scott Hed, Director of Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “We’ve heard from thousands that Bristol Bay is worth protecting; now is not the time to halt the EPA’s thorough process in protecting this sportsman’s paradise.”

Groups signing the letter include:

American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Berkley Conservation Institute
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
Campfire Club of America
Dallas Safari Club
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
International Federation of Fly Fishers
National Wildlife Federation
Orion – The Hunters Institute
Pope and Young Club
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance
Wildlife Forever

Power Caster: “It’s Easy To Maneuver”

 Power Caster 

Since 1967, we’ve prided ourselves on manufacturing a product our
customers can rely on.  Each Power Caster is hand assembled in the U.S.A.
to ensure consistent quality and performance.

It’s Easy to Maneuver
With Power Caster you can move your single- or tandem-axle trailer and
park it in just a few minutes with very little effort.  Sharp turns, tight corners
and narrow driveways–which are often difficult or impossible using your car
or truck–are no longer a headache.  A 23-foot tandem trailer can be turned
completely around in a 28-foot wide space with a flip of a switch.

Power Caster, Inc
1967
Power Caster, Inc
It’s Safe
Power Caster has been designed and manufactured to meet maximum safety standards.  In addition to a chain
guard, each unit is also grounded.  Our tongue weight and load limits are conservative (with the exception of the
PC-1), allowing plenty of margin for safety.
It’s Powerful and Compact
Each motor delivers 400-800 in./lbs. of torque at the motor shaft.  This is further geared down by a six-to-one ratio
between the motor and wheel.  The result is tremendous power being delivered to the wheel.  Depending on the
model you choose–PC-1, PC-2 or PC-3–Power Caster can handle a tongue load of 500, 800 or 1,800 pounds–all
at a size small enough to fit in the trunk of a car.
It Delivers Maximum Traction
Power Caster connects to the trailer by use of the crank-up jack (NOT THE BALL) or one of our adapters.  This in
effect shortens the trailer tongue and loads it more heavily for better traction.  All models operate best on
comparatively level hard-surfaced ground or pavement.  Inclines of no more than 10% are recommended.  Traction
and trailer weight control areas that can be traversed.  If you provide traction, Power Caster will even move
trailers over grass or soil.
It Can Be Customized
The customization doesn’t stop once you choose the model that best fits your tongue load capacity needs.  Easy
to install bolt-on adapters are available so Power Caster can be used with almost any kind of trailer.  All models
come with a 2-1/4″ socket and bushings that cover crank-up jack diameters of 1-5/8″, 1-3/4″, 1-7/8″ and 2″.  And,
while only the PC-3 comes with the kit that allows you to tap into electric trailer brakes, accessory brake switch
kits are available for the PC-1 and PC-2.
It’s Guaranteed
We’re so sure you’ll be satisfied with the performance of Power Caster that each model comes with a money-back
guarantee.  Simply return your Power Caster within 60 days of purchase, in its original condition (we have to
deduct for paint scratches), and we will refund the purchase price 100 percent (less shipping and handling costs,
both ways).  We also offer a two-year warranty that covers replacement of any defective parts.*
Power Caster, Inc.
5001 Encinita Avenue
Temple City, CA  91780
626-287-6117
800-773-3833
Fax  626-285-7735
contact@powercaster.com

House Bill 77 Thrown Out

Eli Huffman of Jake’s Nushagak Salmon Camp sent us this:

 

 

Greetings!

We have some big news to share today:

Yesterday, after months of dedicated phone calls, emails, testimony and frustration, HB77 died in committee. This bill threatened the water rights of individual Alaskans and would have removed the voice of the Alaskan public from important natural resource decisions. Because of the overwhelming response and testimony from you, HB77 will not make it to the floor for a vote.

 

Thank you for your help in stopping HB77!

 

The overwhelming public response to this legislation demonstrates Alaskans’ unwavering passion for our salmon, wildlife and natural resources. We will continue to stay involved and in contact with our representatives in Juneau. We predict similar legislation may be introduced again next year, but as we’ve so clearly demonstrated, we have the power to speak up and fight to protect our renewable resources. We will continue our work to ensure the protection of Alaska’s hunting and fishing resources. Please check our website for updates on this important news.

 

 

ADFG’s King Salmon Assessment

From the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

 

Chinook Salmon Research Initiative

Chinook salmon swimming underwater

(ADFG photo)

Chinook (king) salmon have been returning in fewer numbers to many Alaska rivers, requiring painful restrictions on fisheries that harvest these stocks. Widespread shortfalls became apparent during the 2007 fishing season, but scientists date the onset of the declines with the poor survivals of the offspring from 2001. Chinook salmon have a life span of 3 to 8 years, with 5 and 6 year olds being especially important to the health of a Chinook salmon population.

In October of 2012, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) hosted a research symposium to “identify key knowledge gaps and assemble a list of research priorities” to better understand the factors affecting Chinook salmon abundance in Alaska.

Following this symposium, a team of ADF&G scientists and biologists, in collaboration with federal agencies and academic partners, developed a research plan with recommended studies to address the questions identified in the gap analysis. The first phase in the implementation of this plan was funded by the Alaska Legislature during its 2013 session. The core of the plan is stock specific, life history-based research focused on 12 indicator stocks from across Alaska. For more information see the Chinook Salmon Stock Assessment and Research Plan

This research will cover multiple years and produce a large body of findings and reports. Research efforts fall into four general categories.

  • Stock assessment programs targeting specific knowledge gaps on individual, indicator stocks.
  • Compilation of local and traditional knowledge regarding Chinook salmon trends in abundance, distribution, and physical appearance.
  • Research on juvenile Chinook salmon in the near shore marine environment, which is thought to be a critical life history stage, and one little studied.
  • Life history process studies intended to examine a range of environmental factors affecting Chinook salmon growth and productivity.

 

The department recognizes the Alaskan public has a keen interest in the Chinook salmon research being conducted and ADF&G has developed this special section of its website, where information will be provided about the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative. The Chinook Salmon Initiative section of the website will change as new information is added and you may want to bookmark this section of the website so you can return to it easily to check for new information.