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This Is How We Do It: Tips For River Etiquette

Photos by Tony Ensalaco

The following appears in the February issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:

BY TONY ENSALACO

Has anyone noticed that proper etiquette is disappearing from our lives?

It wasn’t that long ago when it was mandatory to use the words “please” and “thank you” when appropriate, and people would always say “excuse me,” or at least ask for permission before invading someone’s space.

Recently, I was about to enter a building when I noticed a woman behind me who was having some difficulty pushing two small children in a stroller. The lady obviously needed some help, so I thought it would be polite to assist her by holding the door open. My friendly demeanor quickly turned to utter disbelief when she marched through the doorway without bothering to look my way to offer a “thank you.” Nor did she express any other form of meager gratitude.

“What am I, Casper the friendly fricken ghost,” I thought to myself. I would have taken anything – a merci, a gracias or even a “you suck!” – any acknowledgement to let me know that I wasn’t invisible.

I wasn’t looking to be rewarded, but maybe I felt like some sort of recognition towards my good deed would have been nice. I was taken aback of the lack of common courtesy, but I wasn’t surprised either. Incidents like that are becoming more common, and if Emily Post were alive, she would be appalled by the absence of manners in today’s society, and would probably shred her journals and toss the scraps into a fireplace.

Big lines can form as anglers hope to launch their boats for a day on the river.

TIMES ARE CHANGING 

I pin most of the blame on the technology era. We have become too dependent on our electronic devices to communicate – via text messages and emails – so that now we’ve forgotten how to verbally interact with one another. Tasks that used to require another person’s assistance to complete can now be done electronically.

It’s the new normal to go online and schedule appointments, make restaurant reservations, book hotel stays and purchase airline tickets. You don’t even have to leave your home to stock up on food and supplies. Just pick out what you need on a store’s website and those items will be dropped off at your door within a couple of hours. There is no question that oral communication has been severely diminished due to the digital age.

Subsequently, human contact is becoming a lost art. It’s sad that there are so many individuals who don’t know what to do when they are unexpectedly confronted by another person. You don’t believe me? Try walking down a crowded sidewalk and impede someone’s path.

If you are able to get that person’s attention long enough, look directly into his eyes and say, “Excuse me,” and wait for the reaction. Most of the time, that person will freeze in his tracks with a confused look on his face. And if there is an attempt to say something, it will usually come in the form of incoherent nonsense – and don’t expect eye contact.

We can probe deeper into the subject, but this magazine isn’t the right platform for that debate, nor am I a spokesman. Instead, I want to discuss stream etiquette and how it pertains to salmon and steelhead fishing. Now, I can’t prove if there is a correlation between everyday life and the fishing community, but there has been a noticeable decay of civility along the rivers lately.

But before I start ranting, I would like to commend the anglers who are respectful to others, and I look forward to sharing a stream with them in the future. With that being said, I still encounter a fair percentage of anglers who will do some crazy, outrageous @&%# that I have trouble wrapping my brain around.

Their apparent lack of compassion towards others might be unexplainable at first, but then at closer examination their behavior can usually be attributed to a few factors.

How to fish your hole in the boat around other anglers is important to know.

BLISSFUL IGNORANCE 

The first reason might be that they don’t have a ton of river fishing experience and have never been taught the unwritten rules that river rats routinely follow.

It’s hard to hold someone accountable for messing up if he or she doesn’t know right from wrong. You can usually tell if someone is new to the game, so I will usually overlook any blunders that person commits. In some instances I might even offer some helpful advice if I think it will be well received.

The second reason is much harder for me to tolerate.

DISTRACTED BY THE MOMENT

When visions of fresh chrome consume a fisherman’s grey matter, there is nothing that is going to get in the way of achieving those piscatorial ambitions. Some anglers allow common sense to get placed on the back burner in favor of fulfilling their goals and, possibly, their freezers.

This type of conduct can range from carelessly infringing on others to even so far as fishing illegally. A perfect example is when someone thinks it’s acceptable to use bait on a river where it is banned.

Every steelhead season, I find evidence of fishermen using the stuff on a stream that prohibits any form of scent. I have even caught a couple of the offenders red-handed, which I couldn’t understand because they appeared to be competent anglers who didn’t need to resort to breaking the rules to catch fish. Not only did they lose my respect, but they were also lucky that they didn’t get caught by the game wardens.

Kids should learn early about being respectful on the water. The author fishes with his son.

TAKING THE RIVER FOR GRANTED

There are some in the fishing game who believe they are entitled to special privileges because they consider themselves locals, and anyone coming from a different zip code is basically trespassing. Even if they don’t live in the immediate area, they feel that as residents of the state it’s “their water,” which gives them the right to put their needs first and treat visitors like they are intruders. This bold attitude is more prevalent down on Lower 48 tributaries, but the Last Frontier is not immune from the arrogance.

Whatever the cause, appropriate river etiquette doesn’t seem to concern some anglers. And even though I’m becoming desensitized when I see someone performing a faux pas on the water, I still have trouble accepting thoughtless mistakes.  Here are some of the gaffs that I usually come across.

LATE TO THE PARTY 

Nothing can ruin the excitement of a new day on the water worse than when your start time is unexpectedly delayed by a group of fishermen who insist on getting dressed, rigging their equipment and organizing their gear while their boat sits idle on the launch ramp, obstructing river access for everyone else.

These selfish individuals act oblivious to the growing number of boat trailers that are lining up as they take their sweet time getting ready. Fortunately, this is a simple fix: If you suspect that this might be you, please remember there is plenty of room in the parking lot to prepare for the day.

When everyone in your party is good to go, it’s now time to proceed down the ramp. Once the boat is safely in the water, move it off to the side and secure it while the vehicle is being parked so others can use the ramp.

DAWDLING AT THE END OF THE DAY 

The same efficiency should be applied at the end of the day. No one should have to wait to come off the river because someone decides to clean the boat and transfer the gear into the vehicle while it blocks the ramp. Or worse, use the ramp’s incline to empty the water from the vessel.

On my most recent trip, there were three groups, including mine, that were stuck behind a pair of dudes who thought it would be alright to tie up the takeout while they watched a trickle of water escape from the drift boat’s drain hole. It had rained for most of the day, so smart anglers had taken periodic breaks from the action to do some necessary bailing. Not these clowns. They must’ve thought it would be fun to see how much water a boat can hold before it starts to sink.

There were a few irate fishermen who were concerned about making it back to town before the restaurants closed. It was understandable why they were losing their patience. Thank goodness an older gentleman was able to defuse the situation by convincing them to finish the job once the boat was trailered and out of the way because it felt like things might escalate into a physical confrontation.

UNWELCOME GUESTS 

And if you think conflict only exists in places where people are known to congregate, think again. My biggest WTH moments occur where I think I have a spot all to myself and unexpected visitors decide to join me. Alaska is huge and the runs of fish are abundant, so it’s hard to comprehend why some anglers can’t find their own water to fish.

I once stayed at a remote tent camp where the only way to get there was to land a plane on the river, so you would think that seclusion would be guaranteed. Well, we still had guides from other camps surrounding us within easy casting distance from our boat.

I am not familiar with the proper amount of distance that boats should be apart in that scenario, but it’s probably too close when you can identify the type of lunchmeat that’s on the other fishermen’s sandwiches.

Everyone was busy hooking plenty of salmon, so we didn’t really care that they were on top of us, but it was conceivable that there could have been some tension if the fishing slowed down. The experience was fantastic and fishing was off the charts, but it felt far from a wilderness adventure at times.

Of course, not all of the fishing in Alaska occurs in solitude. There are plenty of fisheries that involve sharing the river with other anglers, and people need to understand that river etiquette can vary depending on the location.

What is standard practice on one river might not be acceptable on another. This becomes problematic when anglers feel that they don’t have to conform to that particular river’s protocol, and it’s alright to follow the same guidelines as they are accustomed to using on other bodies of water.

A few years ago, I was at a lodge having breakfast with my buddy Danny Kozlow when we met three men sitting at the table next to us. “Nice guys” was my initial impression during our brief conversation.

We discovered that they were steelheaders from the East Coast and they have been fishing some of the fabled Lake Ontario tributaries for over 10 years. We spent about 15 minutes talking to them before mutually agreeing that it was time to go fishing and we wished each other good luck before heading out.

About midmorning, Danny and I were bank fishing a long, sweeping bend of the river known as the “Corner Hole.” We were about 40 feet apart from one another when we recognized our new friends approaching us at the top of the run in their drift boat.

Danny and I simultaneously reeled in our lines and waived for them to push through. As they slowly advanced towards us, I noticed the guy on the oars starting to take a few backstrokes. “Maybe they want to pull over to talk,” I thought to myself.

I instructed Danny to step out of the river to give them some extra room. Then it happened! The oarsman positioned the boat in the middle of the run and held it in place while the other two guys started casting into the exact part of the run where Danny and I stopped fishing to let them pass.

They didn’t even have the stones to look back at us while they peppered “our water” with their fly rods. “No @%$%#& way!” I said to my partner as I opened my bail and belted out a cast over one of the guy’s lines.

Danny had the same idea and chucked his spoon out to cross the other dude’s line. We were sending a message that we were here first and uninvited guests were not welcome. They quickly got the hint and bolted downstream once the lines were untangled.

I don’t know what made them think that it’s alright to stop and fish someone’s run without asking permission, unless they have previously pulled that type of stunt back at home. I looked for them at the lodge that night so I could extend an olive branch, but I felt they purposely went out of their way to avoid us.

I don’t care if you are dying to fish a favorite run where you clobbered them the day before; if someone is already there, you need to find a different spot, or at least wait until it becomes available.

I have actually had guys who have tried to fish my run while I was fighting a fish in it. The first time that happened, I thought it was my partner messing around when I saw a bobber drifting dangerously close to a 14-pound hen I was attempting to tame.

Then, I realized it was attached to the line of a side-drifter who didn’t seem to think there was a problem fishing through while a hooked steelie was zipping around in front of him. My initial reaction was to break the fish off so I could teach him a lesson, but instead I took the high road (well, the middle road) by ordering him to reel in his line and sternly asked him to “Get the hell out of there!”

The chastising continued until they vanished downstream out of earshot. Looking back, maybe I could have handled things differently, but I’m not ashamed of my intentions because that kind of B.S. isn’t acceptable anywhere on the continent.

Danny Kozlow with a nice Alaska steelhead.

MOVE IT

People come to Alaska hoping to experience its widespread, phenomenal fishing, so a trip’s success shouldn’t have to be contingent on obtaining a magic hole that you must fish, or else the day is going to be a bust. There are plenty of fish returning, so instead of competing over the same water, why not do some exploring?

You’ll be surprised how many fish will hold in those discreet, overlooked places that fishermen oftentimes miss because they are focused on getting to the next honey hole. This is where another breach of etiquette usually occurs. It is when other anglers blatantly race one another to the next spot because they need the mental security that they’re fishing a proven area.

Every year without fail, I see guys rowing like they were trying out for the Olympics or bankies who break into a full sprint, just so they can get ahead of any approaching anglers to stake their claim on the holy grail of holes. I don’t have a problem with conceding spots as long as the other anglers decide to spend some time there, and I’m alright with fishing behind them.

My concern is when they decide to leave shortly after I go by because they want to get in front of me again. This unsolicited game of leapfrog results in only being able to fish every other hole, which does everyone involved a disservice.

Whenever I feel that other fishermen want to implement the “stay in front at all costs” strategy, I purposely hold back and give them their space because I want to fish at a relaxed pace, instead of constantly looking over my shoulder and prematurely contemplating the next move I should make.

Now, if you are fishing from a boat on a river that is congested with traffic, you will eventually end up having to pass some, and there is a correct way of doing it. Don’t attempt to pass a boat if it’s moving at a decent speed. The correct etiquette is to keep a comfortable distance behind the boat until it slows down or stops.

If a boat happens to be moving super-slow or the anglers are fishing while transitioning downstream, then feel free to pass when it’s safe to do so. Make sure the section is wide enough and obstacle free before you attempt the maneuver.

I’ve had guys try to go around me in tight quarters instead of waiting for an open stretch. Their impatience has caused some precarious situations. If you are about to go by an anchored boat, ask the fishermen which side they would like you to go. If they happen to be fishing, the choice will be obvious to slip by on the opposite side where they are casting.

If there isn’t enough room behind their boat or it might be unsafe, then it’s perfectly alright to go in front of them. Try to float as close as possible to their boat to prevent disturbing the run. Some fishermen are super anal-retentive about boats going over the holding water, and I have seen meltdowns when anglers feel their water is being disrespected. Personally, I welcome boats to go over the hole because I believe that boat traffic can actually turn the bite on at times.

MAKING SENSE OF THIS 

When it comes down to it, river etiquette is basically using some common sense by showing respect for other fishermen. There isn’t a better example that requires keeping a level head more than when you’re fishing in a shoulder-to-shoulder environment, also known as combat fishing.

I spent most of my adolescence fishing in extreme crowds around the Great Lakes, so I have seen it all. I have witnessed guys stealing someone’s spot while that person was off fighting a fish. I have fished in lines of anglers who were standing in ankle-deep water and some genius decides it would be wise to see how far he can wade out in front of the crowd.

I have sat patiently watching someone fight a fish way too long in front of me because the angler was using light line, when he should have been using stout tackle. There have been countless incidents when the entire area was fishing in complete harmony, then one guy comes along and decides to follow his own agenda by trying something different that totally disrupts the order of the stream.

Conformity is the name of the game when someone decides to engage in combat fishing. For example, if everyone is floating bobbers, then maybe it’s not the right place to set out a couple of plunking rods. If you’re not familiar with combat fishing or new to the area, I recommend observing the other fishermen to get a feel for the situation. Even if you’re an experienced combat angler, every river has a different set of rules, so it will always be best to show some patience before jumping in.

Alaska attracts scores of anglers from all around the globe, so finding isolation on some of its world-famous rivers might not always be an option. In fact, with the increasing amount of fishing pressure that the state annually absorbs, some fisheries might feel closer to an urban environment rather than a remote wilderness destination.

RESPECT THE RIVER

If you are planning a trip to the Last Frontier this season, please remember to be respectful towards others. And if you see another angler who seems to be acting out of line, don’t automatically assume that he is an insensitive jerk who only cares about himself. Perhaps offering some helpful guidance can correct the problem better than starting a confrontation.

Finally, please don’t take the game too seriously. Fishing is supposed to be a relaxing activity that is meant to distract us from the rigors of everyday life. River etiquette usually becomes overlooked when certain individuals decide to take the sport to that next level instead of remembering that is supposed to be fun.

Good manners might be dying in society and it feels like they won’t be restored anytime soon, but respecting our fishing brethren should never be an issue. ASJ

Alaska Board Of Fisheries To Discuss Pike Regulations

KTUU has some more details on the proposal:

The proposal from the department to before the Board of Fish would add the Anchorage Bowl and Knik drainage to the areas where releasing a pike back into the water it came from is prohibited, yet not everyone supports the plan the department is following for pike management.

“I’m a sportfisherman,” guide Jason Perrego said. “I like the challenge of going into new lakes and unlocking the treasures, and for me, I think it’s against my individual right for the state to force me to kill a fish that I choose not to harvest that originates in that body of water. And that’s what proposal 214 does. If I’m out fishing and I catch a northern pike, it forces my hand to kill that fish against my will.”

 

Idaho Couple Sold Fake Fishing Trips To Alaska; Will Refund $100,000

This story really does appear to be a true definition of “Fake News.”  Here’s more from the Associated Press in the Anchorage Daily News: 

Access Life’s Adventures and its owners Craig Fletcher and Crystal Fletcher have agreed to pay more than $100,000 in refunds to 25 customers, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday.

They have also agreed not to advertise or sell vacation packages, travel or vacation-related goods or services from within Idaho or to customers in the state for 10 years. 

As you can guess, the company’s Yelp page isn’t endorsed very well.

Proposal Would Add To Kenai King Salmon Escapement Total

Here’s more from KTUU on the proposal:

A proposal before the Alaska Board of Fisheries aims to improve escapement of large late-run kings while still allowing anglers a chance to fish in-river.

Proposal 104 by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association would set an optimum escapement goal range 3,000 fish higher than the current sustainable escapement goal, revise and extend restrictions that would apply to both the commercial setnet fishery and the sport fishery, and create an option for the Department of Fish & Game to enact at 36 inch maximum sport size limit.

“Status quo isn’t working on the Kenai kings right now. We’ve seen numbers going down year over year in that fishery. We didn’t even meet the late season goals last year,” Ben Mohr, KRSA executive director said. “This proposal is seeing a lot of tension from both commercial and guided interests and other interests around the state. It’s purely a conservation measure. It doesn’t take from anybody without applying that to reestablishing this species and growing abundance so that we can have full, fat, open fisheries one day.”

 

ADFG Announces Southeast Alaska Chinook All-Gear Catch Limits

The folllowing is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) announced today that the preseason Chinook salmon PST all-gear catch limit for Southeast Alaska (SEAK) is 205,165 fish in 2020. However, the ADF&G target will be 201,100 Chinook.

This year’s target includes a 2% reduction from the PST limit that will serve as a buffer to avoid exceeding the limit and payback provisions within the PST. The all-gear catch limit for SEAK is determined by the Pacific Salmon Commission and is based on a forecast of the aggregate abundance of Pacific Coast Chinook salmon stocks subject to management under the PST as determined by Catch per Unit Effort in the SEAK early winter troll fishery.

The SEAK Chinook salmon all-gear catch limit is allocated among sport and commercial fisheries under management plans specified by the Alaska Board of Fisheries as follows:

2020 Treaty Chinook Salmon Allocations Number of Chinook Salmon
Commercial purse seine (4.3% of all-gear) 8,650
Commercial drift gillnet (2.9% of all-gear) 5,830
Commercial set gillnet (1,000) 1,000
Commercial troll (80% after net gear subtracted) 148,500
Sport (20% after net gear subtracted) 37,120
Total all-gear catch target 201,100

 

The preseason outlook is for continued poor production of the SEAK Chinook salmon stocks, including three stocks (Chilkat, King Salmon, and Unuk rivers) currently listed as stocks of management concern. This will necessitate a management regime aimed at minimizing catches of these stocks. A similar strategy was employed in 2019 and was successful at reducing interceptions of SEAK wild Chinook. Allocative and regulatory information specific to 2020 can be found in news release sections for the Division of Sport Fish and Division of Commercial Fisheries. Links to these releases are below:

Related Division of Sport Fish Advisory Announcements:

Pebble Mine Environmental Impact Statement Sent To Agencies, Tribal Leaders

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed its initial final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Pebble Mine but only released it to local agencies and tribal authorities.

KTUU has some details:

Sheila Newman, deputy chief of the Army Corps’ Alaska District Regulatory Division, said in a teleconference Tuesday that the preliminary EIS is not intended for public release, but has been distributed to cooperating agencies and Bristol Bay Tribes.

Some of those stakeholders voiced opposition to the project after the preliminary document was released to them Tuesday.

“The Army Corps’ preliminary final EIS falls short of the directive given by other cooperating agencies, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski, and the rest of Congress,” said Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay Director Katherine Carscallen. “The preliminary final EIS is more of the same; this Administration’s priority is a purely political process that completely ignores well-documented science and the voices of Alaskans.”

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay sent out this press release after reading the EIS:

DILLINGHAM, AK – The latest environmental review of Pebble’s proposal to build a mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay makes it clear the Army Corps is ignoring not only local concerns about the project, but also refusing to heed Congressional and federal agency directives to do a more thorough analysis of the project’s impacts to Bristol Bay.

Last year, after state and federal agencies highlighted significant shortcomings in Pebble’s draft Environmental Impact Statement, Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address those deficiencies before producing a final Environmental Impact Statement. The preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) shows blatant disregard for that directive. It does not meet the standard set by lawmakers or scientists, and still grossly underestimates the risk Pebble poses in Bristol Bay.

The preliminary Final EIS provided to cooperating agencies and Tribes makes it clear that the agency is intent on a rushed process with a politically-determined outcome and will not conduct the comprehensive analysis of the mine that is expected, and legally required, in the permitting process. The near final review has not addressed myriad issues and data gaps cited by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other cooperating agencies.

“For two years, the Army Corps has refused to listen to the people of Bristol Bay. Now they’re refusing to listen to Congress, too. Enough is enough. This corrupt process must be stopped,” said UTBB Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “Senator Lisa Murkowski authored and passed language in last year’s budget bill demanding the Corps do more to address data gaps and agency-identified problems with the EIS.  This newest version shows a complete disregard for that directive.”

Throughout this process the Army Corps has put the interests of a foreign mining company ahead of the residents, fishermen and others who depend on this watershed for their livelihoods – now the Corps is blatantly ignoring Senator Murkowski’s demand for a more through process.

“The Army Corps has shown a complete disregard for the people and environment in Bristol Bay throughout the permitting process. It’s no surprise that their latest, and near-final, environmental review does so as well,” said Hurley. “Senator Murkowski now knows first-hand the brazen disregard our Tribes have been dealing with for the past several years. She must act now to stop this unaccountable agency.”

 

Southeast Alaska King Salmon Regulations For 2020

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

Sport Fishing Regulations For King Salmon In Southeast Alaska And The Juneau Area For 2020

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the 2020 region wide sport fishing regulations for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and the modifications for the Juneau Area. The following region wide regulations, are effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2021:

Alaska Resident

  • The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • From October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 a resident angler may use two rods when fishing for salmon.

Nonresident

  • The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches of greater in length.
  • From January 1 through June 30, the nonresident total harvest limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through July 7, the nonresident total harvest limit is two king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
  • From July 8 through December 31, the nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
  • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

The Southeast region wide bag and possession limits above will apply in all areas except as modified below for the inside waters in the vicinity of Juneau:

Marine waters near Juneau except Seymour Canal: (The northern portion of District 9, District 10, Sections 11-A, 11-B, 11-C, District 12, Portion of Section 13-C southeast of a line between Nismeni Pt. and a point on the Chichagof Island shoreline at 57°35.59′ N. lat., 135°22.33′ W. long., Sections 14-B and 14-C, and District 15 south of the latitude of Sherman Rock; see attached Map #1)

April 1 – June 15: The retention of king salmon is prohibited, any king salmon caught must be released immediately.

June 15 – December 31:

  • Alaska resident:
    • The bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • Nonresident:
    • The bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
    • From June 15 through June 30, the total harvest limit is three king salmon;
    • From July 1 through July 7, the nonresident total harvest limit is two king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
    • From July 8 through December 31, the nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
    • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

Seymour Canal, Section 11-D: (The marine waters adjacent to King Salmon River including the waters of Seymour Canal north of 57° 37′ N. latitude; see attached Map #1)

April 1 – June 30: In Seymour Canal, Section 11-D, closed to king salmon fishing, all anglers may not target or retain king salmon.

July 1 – December 31:

  • Alaska resident:
    • The bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • Nonresidents:
    • From July 1 through July 7, the nonresident total harvest limit is two king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
    • From July 8 through December 31, the nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
    • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

A separate news release will be issued at a later date announcing king salmon regulations for locations where Alaska hatchery-produced king salmon are expected to return. Fishing opportunity in the Juneau designated sport terminal harvest area will open on June 15, 2020.

Anglers fishing north of the Juneau area should review the news release announcing regulations for the Haines/Skagway area. Anglers fishing south of the Juneau area should review the news release announcing regulations for the Petersburg/Wrangell and Ketchikan areas.

For further information concerning this announcement please contact Juneau Area Management Biologist, Daniel Teske at (907) 465-8152.

SPORT FISHING REGULATIONS FOR KING SALMON IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA AND THE JUNEAU AREA FOR 2020

YAKUTAT

Juneau – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is announcing the 2020 sport fishing regulations for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat. These regulations will be effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The regulations are:

  • Alaskan Resident
    • The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
    • From October 1 through March 31, a resident sport angler may use two rods when fishing for king salmon, a person using two rods under this paragraph may only retain salmon;
  • Nonresident
    • The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
    • From January 1 through June 30, the total harvest limit is three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length;
    • From July 1 through July 7, the total harvest limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length, and any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
    • From July 8 through December 31, the total harvest limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length, and any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
    • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

King salmon non-retention areas in the Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan vicinity will be in effect beginning April 1 in order to protect wild Alaska king salmon stocks. These will be announced separately.

The Southeast Alaska king salmon sport fishery is managed under the directives of the Southeast Alaska King Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 47.055). This plan prescribes the above management measures based upon the Southeast Alaska Winter Troll CPUE. The Southeast Alaska Winter Troll CPUE for the 2020 season is 4.83 which equates to 37,900 king salmon allocated to the sport fishery. To address the implementation of the new treaty agreement which includes provisions to reduce the Alaska harvest ceiling the following year if the Alaska harvest ceiling is exceeded, the Southeast Alaska king salmon sport fishery will be conservatively managed for a total king salmon treaty harvest of 37,120 fish. The Southeast Alaska king salmon fishery will be monitored in season and management action will be taken if needed to keep the sport fishery within the sport allocation.

For further information regarding sport fisheries in Southeast Alaska, contact the nearest ADF&G office or visit: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm

HAINES/SKAGWAY AREA

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the 2020 region wide sport fishing regulations for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and the modifications for the Haines/Skagway Area. The following region wide regulations, are effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2021:

Alaska Resident

  • The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • From October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 a resident angler may use two rods when fishing for salmon.

Nonresident

  • The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches of greater in length.
  • From January 1 through June 30, the nonresident total harvest limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through July 7, the nonresident total harvest limit is two king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
  • From July 8 through December 31, the nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
  • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

The Southeast region wide bag and possession limits above will apply in all areas except as modified below for the inside waters in the vicinity of Haines/Skagway:

All anglers

  • From April 1 through July 15: The waters of Chilkat Inlet, north of the ADF&G regulatory marker immediately north of Seduction Point (see attached map) will be closed to king salmon sport fishing.
  • From April 1 through December 31: In Section 15-A, the waters of Lynn Canal north of the latitude of Sherman Rock (see attached map), the retention of king salmon is prohibited; any king salmon caught must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.

The 2020 total run forecast for Chilkat River king salmon is fewer than 1,550 large fish, which is below the lower end of the escapement goal range (1,850 to 3,600 large fish). When the run forecast is below the goal range, the Lynn Canal and Chilkat River King Salmon Management Plan prescribes closing Chilkat Inlet to king salmon sport fishing through July 15. Because of continued poor marine production of Chilkat River king salmon, the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 2018 adopted the Chilkat River and King Salmon River King Salmon Stock Status and Action Plan, which specifies nonretention of king salmon in Section 15-A until the Chilkat River stock has recovered.

Fishery conservation actions are being taken in a region wide effort to reduce harvest of Southeast Alaska wild king salmon in all fisheries, including sport, commercial, personal use, and subsistence. Anglers fishing south of the Haines/Skagway area should review the news releases announcing sport fishery regulations specific to the JuneauPetersburg/Wrangell and Ketchikan areas.

For further information concerning this announcement, please contact Haines/Skagway Area Management Biologist, Richard Chapell at (907) 766-3638.

SPORT FISHING REGULATIONS FOR KING SALMON IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA AND THE HAINES/SKAGWAY AREA FOR 2020

PETERSBURG/WRANGELL AREA

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today the 2020 region wide sport fishing regulations for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and the modifications for the Petersburg/Wrangell Area. The following region wide regulations, are effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2021:

Alaska Resident

  • The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.
  • From October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 a resident angler may use two rods when fishing for salmon.

Nonresident

  • The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches of greater in length.
  • From January 1 through June 30, the nonresident total harvest limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through July 7, the nonresident total harvest limit is two king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the two fish total harvest limit;
  • From July 8 through December 31, the nonresident total harvest limit is one king salmon, any king salmon harvested from January 1 through July 7 will apply toward the one fish total harvest limit;
  • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.

The Southeast region wide bag and possession limits above will apply in all areas except as modified below for the inside waters in the vicinity of Petersburg/Wrangell:

In the majority of marine waters within the management area: (Districts 6, 10 and portions of District 5, District 7, and District 9; see attached map)

  • April 1 to June 14, 2020: The retention of king salmon is prohibited, any king salmon caught must be released immediately.
  • June 15 to December 31, 2020: Alaska resident bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.

In the waters adjacent to the Stikine River: (District 8 and a portion of Eastern Passage near Wrangell; see attached map)

  • April 1 to July 14, 2020: The retention of king salmon is prohibited, any king salmon caught must be released immediately.
  • July 15 to December 31, 2020: Alaska resident bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.

A separate news release will be issued at a later date announcing king salmon regulations for locations where Alaska hatchery-produced king salmon are expected to return. Fishing opportunity in the Anita Bay terminal harvest area and Blind Slough terminal harvest area will open on June 1, 2020 and the City Creek release site will open June 15, 2020.

Anglers fishing north of the Petersburg/Wrangell area should review the news release announcing regulations for the Juneau and Haines/Skagway areas. Anglers fishing south of the Petersburg/Wrangell area should review the news release announcing regulations for the Ketchikan area.

For further information concerning this announcement please contact Petersburg/Wrangell Area Management Biologist, Patrick Fowler at (907) 772-5231.

SPORT FISHING REGULATIONS FOR KING SALMON IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA AND THE PETERSBURG/WRANGELL AREA FOR 2020

 

Poll Suggests Alaskans Want Protection For Tongass

The following is courtesy of Citizens for the Republic:

Alexandria, VA– Prominent conservative polling firm Baselice & Associates, Inc., which has previously polled for the Trump/Pence campaign, conducted a new survey of voters in the state of Alaska, regarding the proposed lifting of the Roadless Rule throughout the currently protected Tongass National Forest.

The poll was commissioned by Citizens for the Republic, the organization founded by Ronald Reagan, which promotes the principles of limited government, maximum freedom, personal responsibility, peace through strength, and defense of the dignity of every individual.  The poll comes in response to a proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to fully exempt the Tongass National Forest from the protections of the roadless rule. The public comment period on this proposal ended in mid-December.

A plurality (49%) of Alaskans oppose exempting the entire Tongass National Forest in Alaska from the protections of the Roadless Rule, which would allow more commercial logging and construction of new logging roads in these Roadless areas. Only 43% are in favor of the proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to fully eliminate these protections on the forest.

The survey was conducted among of N = 300 registered voters Alaska on January 28-29, 2020. The margin of error to the results of this survey is +/- 5.7% at the .95 confidence level. Sixty-two percent of respondents were interviewed on their cell phones and 38% were interviewed on their landline phones. 38% of survey respondents live in the northern region of Alaska, 40% in Anchorage, and 22% in the southern region of Alaska.

Of those surveyed, 61% identified as frequent hunters and/or fishers, with 10% asserting that they hunt/fish several times a month. Of those who hunt/fish several times a month, a majority, (48%), voiced opposition to exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule, with only 32% approval. The exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule would significantly impact and restrict the hunting/fishing community of Alaska and disrupt the state’s recreational economy.

An issue that has previously divided the GOP, the poll shows new results among voters who agree that the protection of the Tongass National Forest is crucial in maintaining economic prosperity and individual freedoms in the state of Alaska.

The poll found that an overwhelming 74% of those surveyed agreed with the following statement:

“Our national forests belong to all of us, not large corporations and their lobbyists. We need to protect the Tongass National Forest to ensure that future generations can enjoy the freedom and peacefulness they provide, not sell them off for profit.”

Of those polled, 31% were registered as Republican, 15% registered as Democrat, 23% as Undeclared, and 16% as Independent. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of those surveyed were Anglo/White, 13% were Alaskan/Native American, 2% Asian, 2% African American, and 9% identified as Other.

Mike Baselice, founder of Baselice & Associates, Inc., and respected conservative pollster, had the following comments on the results of the poll, “Three out of four Alaska voters are clear in their desire to protect the Tongass National Forest. This starts with voters’ opposition to exempting the Tongass National Forest from the protections of the Roadless Rule.”

Ron Maxwell, famed director of Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, and Copperhead, and conservationist spokesperson for Citizens for the Republic’s campaign to protect the Tongass, responded to the poll results, “These poll results reflect the sentiment of not just Alaska, but the American people as a whole, as conservation of our natural land moves to the forefront of political and public concern. We must maintain the Roadless Rule to protect our American heritage and freedoms.”

Places and Dates Announced For The Wild Screenings

The following is courtesy of Mark Titus, director of the documentary films The Wild and its predecessor, The Breach. 

Here We Go…

There are a thousand things to tell you, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet as we head into the new week and inch ever closer to the beckoning Road. So here goes…

The Wild
save what you love
2020 road tour

Dates are subject to change some and if you don’t see your hometown on this list – fear not – we will definitely be adding some screenings ~ but here, finally, are our locations and dates to engage in this important work of saving what we love, together.

(Top to Bottom – from The Wild)
Alannah Hurley (and her beloved Gran, Muncuaq); Steve Kurian; Amanda Wlaysewski; Ole and Hanelore Olson; Nanci Morris Lyon

 

And now, the dates…

  1. Davis, CA (03.20, 21)
  2. Sacramento (03.22)
  3. Napa (03.24)
  4. Sonoma (03.25)
  5. San Diego (04.01)
  6. San Clemente (04.02)
  7. Los Angeles (04.03)
  8. Santa Barbara (04.04)
  9. San Luis Obispo (04.05)
  10. Esalen/Big Sur (04.07)
  11. Monterey (04.08)
  12. San Francisco (04.09)
  13. Tahoe (04.14)
  14. Salt Lake City (04.16)
  15. Helena (04.18)
  16. Butte (04.19)
  17. Bozeman (04.20)
  18. Missoula (04.27)
  19. Whitefish (04.28)
  20. Sun Valley, ID (04.30)
  21. Boise (05.01)
  22. Bend (05.03)
  23. Eugene (05.04)
  24. Portland (05.05)
  25. Olympia (05.06)
  26. Seattle (05.07, 08)
  27. Providence RI (05.14)
  28. Newport RI (05.15)
  29. Boston (05.16)
  30. Ellsworth, Maine (05.18)
  31. NYC – (05.20, 21)
  32. Ithaca, NY (05.22, 23)
  33. Bloomsburg, PA (05.25, 26)
  34. Minneapolis (06.02)
  35. Madison (06.03)
  36. Chicago (06.04)
  37. Indianapolis (06.05)
  38. Cincinnati (06.06)
  39. Louisville, KY (06.07)
  40. St. Louis, MO (06.08)
  41. Kansas City, KS (06.09)
  42. Raleigh/Durham, NC (06.16)
  43. Asheville, NC (06.17)
  44. Atlanta (06.19)
  45. New Smyrna Beach, FL (06.20)
  46. New Orleans (06.21)
  47. Mobile, AL (06.22)
  48. Anchorage, AK (TBD
  49. Fairbanks, AK (TBD)
  50. Bristol Bay, AK (TBD)

Upcoming Winter Fishing Events In Alaska

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

Get Out and Fish! – Jewel Lake Jamboree on February 8

(Anchorage) – Anglers of all skill levels are encouraged to join the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), The Bait Shack, and the Alaska Sport Fishing Association from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Jewel Lake on Saturday, February 8, 2020, for the Jewel Lake Jamboree and Community Fishing Day.

Anglers may bring their own fishing gear if they have it, or may borrow equipment from ADF&G. Several hundred ice holes will be pre-drilled for the event, so bring your friends, family, and some warm clothing, and join us for a day of ice fishing.

“This event is a great opportunity for anglers of all skill levels to come out and go ice fishing,” said Ryan Ragan, Program Coordinator with the Division of Sport Fish. “We are excited to partner with The Bait Shack and the Alaska Sport Fishing Association to bring this community event together. The lake will have been stocked with around 5,000 fish and fishing should be good.”

The Jewel Lake Jamboree falls on the heels of a weeklong ice fishing event hosted by ADF&G that invites school age kids from both public and private schools to get out of the classroom and experience ice fishing. Over 2,500 local area students will have gone ice fishing at Jewel Lake prior to this event.

While the Jewel Lake Jamboree is free to the public, resident anglers who are 18 years of age or older and nonresident anglers who are 16 years of age or older will need a valid sport fishing license to fish. Anglers will be able to purchase a fishing license at the event. However, licenses can be purchased prior to the event through the ADF&G online store.

If you plan on retaining your catch, please bring a bag or cooler to bring it home. We will not have bags available.

For additional information, please contact the Sport Fish Information Center at (907) 267-2218.

Saltwater Fishing Opportunities in Prince William Sound

(Anchorage) – Long, cold days make us yearn for warm days out on the water. Prince William Sound (PWS) is just one area known for its spectacular coastal scenery and ample saltwater fishing opportunities. Are you interested in learning about the saltwater fishing opportunities that are available in PWS area? Join Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) staff at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery (WJHSFH) on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a “Saltwater Fishing Opportunities in PWS” seminar. This seminar will be held in the WJHSFH conference room, located at 941 North Reeve Boulevard, Anchorage, Alaska.

This is a free event for anyone interested in learning about fishing locations in PWS, the different fish species present, and what gear to use to target specific species. Staff will also demostrate how to use a deepwater release mechanism for rockfish, which is required by law as of January 1, 2020.

Advanced registration is required, and space is limited, so sign up early! To register, please visit the Hunting and Fishing Forum webpage.

For those anglers who are interested in fishing but aren’t quite ready to commit to the required fishing equipment, ADF&G offers a free rod loaner program throughout the year. For more information, please contact the Anchorage Sport Fish Information Center at (907) 267-2218 or the Palmer office at (907) 746-6300.