Category Archives: Featured Content

Kenai, Kasilof Rivers Opening For Kings With No Bait Allowed

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

Kenai River King Salmon Sport Fishery Starting July with No Bait

(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions on the Kenai River late-run king salmon fishery effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. The use of bait is prohibited but harvest is still allowed on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek.

This sport fishing restriction is in conjunction with the Kenai River early-run king salmon sport fishing restrictions issued February 14, 2019. The retention of king salmon of any size in the Kenai River is prohibited from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake will remain in effect through July 31, 2019.

“In order to achieve the Kenai River late-run king salmon escapement goal, we are starting the July fishery off without bait,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Based upon the preseason forecast and recent king salmon performance around Cook Inlet, restrictions are warranted in order to meet the escapement goal and still provide fishing opportunity for Kenai River late-run king salmon.”

In conjunction with this restriction, an additional sport fishing restriction EO 2-KS-1-22-19 was issued starting the Kasilof River king salmon fishery off with no bait and only one, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge.

The sustainable escapement goal for late-run Kenai River king salmon is 13,500 to 27,000 king salmon 75 cm mid eye to tail fork length and longer. ADF&G will continue to monitor the Kenai River run as it develops and additional actions may be taken depending on the run strength. Anglers are reminded that the management plan indicates if bait is prohibited in the sport fishery then the personal use and commercial fishery are also restricted to help share the burden of conservation across all user groups.

Kasilof River King Salmon Sport Fishery Starting July with No Bait and Single-Hooks

(Soldotna) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is prohibiting bait and multiple hooks in the Kasilof River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. The use of bait is prohibited and only one unbaited, single-hook artificial lure may be used in the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Single-hook means a fishhook with only one point. Anglers may harvest either one wild or hatchery king salmon per day and in possession on the Kasilof River from its mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge.

“In order to achieve the Crooked Creek king salmon escapement goal, reduce harvest on Kasilof River wild king salmon, and meet broodstock collection needs in 2019, ADF&G has determined restricting the late-run king salmon sport fishery in the Kasilof River will provide the best chance to achieve these goals,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “It’s important to our staff and anglers that we continue our efforts to protect and rebuild our wild king salmon stocks. ADF&G does anticipate an increase in angler effort on the Kasilof River due to late-run king salmon restrictions on the Kenai River.”

In conjunction with this restriction, an additional sport fishing restriction EO 2-KS-1-23-19 was issued starting the Kenai River king salmon fishery off with no bait in July. The use of bait is prohibited on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek.

Gray Whales, Seals Are Being Found Dead In Alaska

 

Alaska and the West Coast have been suffering through several cases of dead sea life, including gray whales and ice seals, including several cases in Alaskan waters. Here’s CNN with more:

That makes seven in Alaska and at least 75 total, in what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls an “unusual mortality event,” the station reports. …

Last month, ocean scientists said they were worried about the death rate, the highest in almost two decades. Some of the mammals were underweight, which may mean they could not find enough food in the water, a possible result of climate change, NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein said.
In all of last year, 45 gray whales were found onshore, NOAA said.

 

Here’s more CNN on the seals’ fatalities:

NOAA said it received multiple reports of dead ice seals in southwest Norton Sound on Monday, including from a hunter who counted 18 seal carcasses along 11 miles of shore and dozens more on the coast of Stuart Island, Alaska.

NOAA Fisheries is working with its partners in the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network to photograph and perform necropsies on the animals, NOAA said in a news release.
Some of the dead seals were reported to have lost hair, NOAA said. The agency also has received reports that the seals are unusually thin this year, it said.

 

Russian River, Upper Kenai Sockeye Bag Limits Increasing

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

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by increasing limits of sockeye salmon to nine per day, eighteen in possession for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 19 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019. This liberalization supersedes Emergency Order 2-RS-1-19-19 issued on Wednesday, June 12, which increased sockeye salmon bag and possession limits in the Russian River and Upper Kenai River.

The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River includes the area that extends from Skilak Lake upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing (this includes the Russian River Sanctuary Area) and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls. Anglers are reminded that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing. For additional information on the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Area, please review pages 59-61 of the 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

As of June 16, 2019, 45,778 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, located upstream of the falls. The early-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000 – 42,000 sockeye salmon has been exceeded.

“We opened the waters of the sanctuary and increased the bag limit from three to six last week and sockeye salmon keep pouring into the Russian River,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “With these numbers, it is appropriate to increase the limits and allow anglers an opportunity to harvest more sockeye salmon.”

Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the Russian River clear water. If you clean your catch, take fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters.

Valdez Halibut Derby Update: 285-Pounder Still Leading

Edward Wahmann moved into third place in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 126-plus-pound fish. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

CHANCES OF KNOCKING OFF THE LEADERS IN VALDEZ HALIBUT DERBY

 VALDEZ, Alaska – Christine Ives of Fairbanks is still in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 285.6 pound halibut she caught June 6th aboard theNunatak. David Stack of Tyler, Texas is still in 2nd place overall with the 158. 2 pound halibut he caught on June 6th. Stack caught his 158.2 pound halibut aboard the Sea Walker. Edward Wahmann of Tok, Alaska is currently in 3rd place overall with a 126.2 pound halibut caught June 8th aboard theNunatak. There’s a good chance, anglers will topple the leaders in 2nd and 3rd place but it is debatable whether anyone will be able to catch a fish larger than Ive’s 285.6 pounder.

Here’s a look at the weight of the winning fish in the Valdez Halibut Derby the last few years. In 2018, Patricia Johnson of Clovis, California won with a 285.8 pound halibut. In 2017, a 374.0 pound halibut caught by Frieda Wiley was the winner. A 374 pound halibut is much larger than Ives 285.6 pound halibut, but when gauging one’s chances it’s good to consider that Wiley’s catch was the largest fish caught on record in the Valdez Halibut Derby. In 2016 it was David Jamison of Fairbanks taking home the cash prize with a 253.0 pound halibut. In 2015 the grand prizewinner was a 196.2 pound halibut caught by Brad Burch of Clackamus, Oregon. In 2014, Scott Hebig of Wasilla, Alaska won the big money with a 203.6 pound halibut and in 2013 James Culley took home the big prize with a 325 pound halibut.

Boise’s Heather Ropelato’s 109-pound, 8-ounce fish was the weekly Valdez Halibut Derby winner. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

When figuring odds, one could also look at when the winning fish have been caught. In 2018, the winning halibut was caught June 26th. In 2017, Wiley’s record-breaking fish was caught August 6th. In 2016 Jamison’s 253 pound halibut was caught May 29th and held on to win at the end of the derby. Although small, the winning fish in 2015 was caught August 26th. One never knows when the big fish will strike. The two things for certain are it could happen at any time and you must have a derby ticket when it does.

The weekly winners in the Valdez Halibut Derby were Heather Ropelato of Boise, Idaho. She reeled in a 109.8 pound halibut June 14th aboard the Red Head. Tallon Littlewood of Wasilla, Alaska won the 2nd place weekly prize with a 104.4 pound halibut he caught aboard the Reflection on June 10th. The winner of the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament and an extra $1,000 cash is Edward Wahmann of Tok, AK with a 126.2 pound halibut caught aboard theNunatak.

The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 20th and the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 10thwith an opening event Friday, August 9th. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

Tallon Littlewood caught a 104-pound, 4-ounce fish.

 

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Christine Ives                  Fairbanks, AK            285.6 lbs.         June 6              Nunatak

2nd        David Stack                            Tyler, TX              158.2 lbs.         June 6               Sea Walker

3rd        Edward Wahmann                   Tok, AK             126.2 lbs.         June 8                Nunatak

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4

1st        Heather Ropelato                  Boise, ID                109.8 lbs.         June 14            Red Head

2nd        Tallon Littlewood            Lakeland, FL                104.4 lbs.         June 10            Reflection

Senators From Alaska, Other Border States Send Message To B.C. About Mining

The following press release is courtesy of Salmon Beyond Borders:

Washington, D.C.—In an unprecedented and bipartisan effort, all eight U.S. senators from the four U.S. states bordering B.C. — Alaska, Montana, Washington and Idaho — are urging British Columbia Premier John Horgan to recognize that contamination from upstream B.C. mining in shared U.S./Canada rivers threatens American businesses, citizens and resources.

The letter from Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Steve Daines (R-MT) elevates downstream U.S. concerns and highlights the need to improve B.C.’s mining sector safeguards. The letter also references the need for binding international protections to match B.C.’s mining laws with those in the U.S.

For decades, B.C.’s large-scale, open-pit hard rock and coal mines have polluted rivers that flow from B.C., fouling U.S. waters with acid mine drainage and other contaminants. In the Elk/Kootenai watersheds, shared by Idaho, Montana and B.C., selenium from Teck Resources’ coal mines has killed and deformed fish and threatens native trout and Kootenai River white sturgeon. In Alaska, acid mine drainage from B.C.’s Tulsequah Chief mine into the transboundary Taku River, one of the region’s most productive for salmon, has continued for more than 60 years. Compounding threats, B.C. is rapidly approving new mines and expanding existing mines in the lands around all four surrounding states’ rivers. Most recently, British Columbia opened a permit process for a controversial new mine in the headwaters of the Skagit River, which flows into Washington state through North Cascades National Park, and into the Puget Sound.

Current B.C. regulations do not require a cumulative analysis of mining impacts to these shared rivers, though the land around them, in at least one instance, is more than 50 percent covered by mining claims and leases. Furthermore, current regulations do not require consent from First Nations, private property owners, or allow for meaningful public input by U.S. stakeholders and tribal citizens.

The senators’ letter is the latest action aimed at cleaning up B.C.’s mining operations in transboundary rivers. Such calls have been echoed by members of the U.S. House, the gubernatorial administrations of Washington, Montana and Alaska, tribes and First Nations on every border, state legislators, municipalities, fishermen, businesses, B.C. residents and tens of thousands of U.S. residents.

Earlier this year, U.S. federal lawmakers allocated $1.8 million to monitor water quality in these four states’ transboundary rivers.

Other recent actions include:

• A human rights petition filed by 15 of Southeast Alaska’s 19 federally recognized tribes;

• Letters of complaint regarding exclusion from the decision-making process filed by indigenous leadership in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana and B.C.;

• Joint state-federal letters of concern and a formal complaint by U.S. federal water negotiators that their Canadian counterparts were refusing to acknowledge best available science in B.C.’s shared transboundary rivers;

• The B.C./AK transboundary Stikine River recently was named to American Rivers’ “most endangered” list due to transboundary mining (a distinction shared in recent years by the B.C./MT Kootenai River.)

Even residents of B.C. mining towns have grown alarmed by the extent of air and water pollution, and in May, thirty British Columbian NGOs launched their own campaign to reform B.C.’s mining regulations.

“We know we have a tremendous problem with contamination flowing from B.C.’s  mining sector,” said Robyn Allan, former President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. “B.C.’s own auditor general has chided the province for our lax rules and lack of enforcement. We absolutely need to ensure British Columbia’s taxpayers don’t end up paying for industry shortfalls and to bring British Columbia’s mining practices into the 21st century, both for Canadians and for the U.S. citizens living downstream.”

In May, tribal leaders in Washington state expressed their “grave concerns”regarding B.C.’s plans to allow Imperial Metals to mine the headwaters of the Skagit River, the most important salmon river in Seattle’s Puget Sound area. They warned of “the potential for disastrous results,” and noted that just five years ago a mine failure by the same company released millions of gallons of toxic copper and gold tailings into B.C. lakes, drinking water and salmon runs.

“The Skagit River is critical to the survival of salmon and orca,” said Scott Schuyler, policy expert for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. “It’s the lifeblood that connects the ocean with the mountain interior, and any thought of mining its headwaters only proves how out of touch British Columbia’s regulators are.”

Similar concerns are echoed by members of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, who are asking for federal intervention to hold B.C.’s mining regulators accountable.

“This is a multi-state, international problem for which we need a multi-state, international solution,” said United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach. “Right now B.C.’s massive open-pit mines and waste dumps put some of Alaska and B.C.’s most important salmon rivers, and the fishing jobs that rely on them, at risk. Alaska fishermen and the thousands of people across the world who enjoy wild salmon expect and deserve better from B.C. regulators.”

Montana fishing guides agree.

“The United States is not a settling pond for Teck Resources and the rest of Canada’s mining industry,” said former Kootenai River fishing guide Mike Rooney. “It’s our hope that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Premier John Horgan act to protect our businesses, resources and citizens by requesting intervention under the Boundary Waters Treaty. Anything less is not the solution this international problem deserves.”

In Idaho, where millions of dollars have been spent recovering endangered sturgeon in transboundary rivers, the upstream threat is particularly alarming.

“We commend our Congressional leaders for taking steps towards a long-term solution that will benefit our waterways on both sides of the border,” said Matthew Nykiel, conservation associate with the Idaho Conservation League. “A letter like this is a powerful message to British Columbia, and it shows that we are stronger together. Mining in the B.C. headwaters of transboundary rivers is a problem we all share, and it will require an international response to solve it.”

Salmon Beyond Borders Director Jill Weitz summed up what is at stake.

“Today, every single border-state senator joined with commercial and sport fishermen, business owners, communities, tribes, and tens of thousands of Americans to highlight for Premier John Horgan the serious issue of B.C.’s transboundary mining contamination.

“U.S. taxpayers have spent billions of dollars restoring these rivers and fisheries. It would be a tragedy to have that investment undone by B.C. mining contamination. And until B.C. enacts adequate financial assurance requirements, U.S. taxpayers will remain on the hook for all future damage to U.S. resources by B.C.’s mining sector.

“It’s our hope that Premier Horgan will prioritize wild salmon and the health and wealth of B.C. citizens, and protect taxpayers in both countries, by acting on the senators’ requests for enforceable standards, water quality monitoring, and international safeguards for international rivers.”

Resurrection Bay Sockeye Limits Increasing

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

(Anchorage) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the limits of sockeye salmon to twelve per day and twelve in possession in the Resurrection River and the northern saltwaters of Resurrection Bay and opens a section of the Resurrection River freshwaters effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 14 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019. The area of the bag and possession limit increase includes the freshwaters downstream from the Seward Highway and downstream from Nash Road to the ADF&G regulatory saltwater markers and the marine waters of Resurrection Bay north of a line from Caines Head to the north point of Thumb Cove.

Anglers are reminded that snagging is not allowed in freshwater. Only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures or flies are allowed in the freshwater area open to salmon fishing. Anglers are reminded to look for the saltwater markers that separate the fresh and saltwater fishing zones in the Resurrection River. For additional information on the Resurrection Bay saltwaters and freshwaters, please review pages 78-79 of the 2019 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

As of June 11, 2019, more than 11,538 sockeye salmon have passed the Bear Creek weir, with large numbers of sockeye salmon still entering the river. Bear Lake sockeye salmon has a sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 700 – 8,300 fish and is managed to pass 5,152-12,752 sockeye salmon past the weir at Bear Lake, which meets both the SEG and hatchery broodstock requirements. The upper end of the SEG has been exceeded and the brood goal will be exceeded.

“Fishing for sockeye salmon in the saltwaters of Resurrection Bay has been great,” stated Area Management Biologist Jay Baumer. “With the number of fish passing through, we hope this will provide anglers an additional opportunity to get some fresh sockeye.”

Anglers are reminded that commercial fishing will also be occurring in Resurrection Bay over the next few weeks. For additional information on commercial fishing periods, please visit the ADF&G Commercial Salmon Fisheries webpage.

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

Russian, Upper Kenai Rivers See Sockeye Bag Limits Increased

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

(Soldotna) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by increasing the limits of sockeye salmon to six per day, twelve in possession for the Russian River and a section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 14 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 2019.

The section of the mainstem Upper Kenai River includes the area that extends from Skilak Lake upstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located approximately 300 yards upstream of the public boat launch at Sportsman’s Landing (this includes the Russian River Sanctuary Area) and the Russian River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G marker located approximately 600 yards downstream from the Russian River Falls. Anglers are reminded that they may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing. If a Russian River angler has more than six sockeye salmon in possession, then that angler may not fish in waters with a possession limit of six. For addition information on the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Area, please review pages 59-61 of the 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

As of June 10, 2019, over 8,470 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir, located upstream of the falls. ADF&G staff conducted a stream survey on June 10 and estimated over 5,000 fish are in the Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary Area. ADF&G estimates that the escapement will exceed the early-run Russian River sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000 – 42,000 sockeye salmon.

“It is exciting to see the number of sockeye salmon that have passed through the Russian River weir and been observed inriver,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Increasing the limit to six per day will allow anglers to hit the river and harvest some fresh sockeye.”

Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the Russian River clear water. If you clean your catch, take fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended. Please respect the riverbank restoration projects and stay on the established pathways in the Sanctuary area, campground areas, and Russian River ferry area.

Air National Guard Rescues Western Alaska Hunter Injured By Bear

A Western Alaska hunter severely injured in an attack by a bear was rescued via helicopter from wilderness near Galena by the Air National Guard. Here’s more from the Air Force Times:

On board the Combat King was a Guardian Angel team, consisting of a combat rescue officer and a pararescueman from the 212th Rescue Squadron at JBER. They were carrying blood and plasma provided by Providence Alaska Medical Center In Anchorage, the state’s largest hospital, which would prove critical to the rescue, Williams said.

When they arrived on scene, about 340 miles west of JBER, the hunter’s companion was in touch with a civilian aircraft circling overhead. The Guardian Angel team parachuted from the Combat King, then hiked to the site of the attack, where they administered life-saving care.

 

Russian River Sockeye Fishery To Open On June 12

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

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by opening the Russian River Sanctuary area early for anglers to sport fish for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 12 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 2019. Anglers please note that the Russian River Sanctuary Area is Area B in the map below. For addition information on the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Confluence Area, please review page 60 of the 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sport Fishing

The following sockeye salmon regulations apply for the Russian River Sanctuary area:

June 12 – July 14, 2019:

  • Sockeye salmon
    • 16 inches or greater in length; 3 per day, 6 in possession
    • Less than 16 inches in length, 10 per day, 10 in possession

July 15 – August 20, 2019:

  • fly-fishing-only waters;
  • Sockeye or coho salmon
    • 16 inches or longer; 3 per day, 6 in possession in combination, of which only 1 per day, 1 in possession may be a coho salmon
    • Less than 16 inches in length, 10 per day, 10 in possession;

Anglers are reminded, after August 20, 2019, the retention of sockeye salmon is prohibited in this area.

Through Sunday, June 9, 2019, approximately 4,700 sockeye salmon have passed the Russian River weir. ADF&G staff conducted stream surveys on June 7 and June 10 and estimated there are over 5,000 fish in both the Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary Area. ADF&G estimates that the early-run sockeye salmon biological escapement goal of 22,000-42,000 sockeye salmon will be met.

“Looks like the Russian River is off to a strong start. We haven’t seen numbers like this for several years,” stated Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka. “Sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Russian River area will likely be good to excellent.”

Anglers are reminded to remove fish carcasses whole or gutted/gilled from the clear waters of the Russian River. In addition, if you intend to clean your catch at the river, please take your fish to the mainstem Kenai River cleaning tables located at the confluence and ferry crossing to fillet and chop-up sockeye salmon carcasses into small pieces and throw the pieces into deep, flowing waters. Please keep all personal belongings, including stringers of fish closely attended. Please respect the riverbank restoration projects and stay on the established pathways in the Sanctuary, campground, and Russian River ferry areas.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Colton Lipka at (907) 262-9368.

Army National Guard Sergeant Drowns While Dipnetting The Copper River

Tragedy struck a U.S. Army National Guard sergeant who died while dipnetting for salmon on the Copper River on Saturday. Sgt. 1st Class Russell Hepler fell into the river and was swept away.  Here’s more from the Anchorage Daily News:

Hepler, 35, was dipnetting with his wife, Shandra Hepler, in the Copper River near O’Brien Creek, south of the town of Chitina, when he was caught up in the river at around 2 a.m., according to the the Guard. “Attempts were made to save him, but he was carried downstream,” the Guard wrote.

Hepler was found in the river by people in a boat after he had drowned, the Guard wrote. They got him into the boat and contacted the Alaska State Troopers.

Condolences to Sgt. Hepler’s loved ones.