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King Salmon Seasons Opening In Southeast Alaska

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

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Ketchikan Area

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today, sport fishing regulations for king salmon in the areas near Ketchikan and east Prince of Wales that are opening to the harvest of king salmon after being closed for Southeast Alaska wild king salmon conservation.

West Behm Canal, Southeast Behm Canal and Southern Revillagigedo Channel:

(see Map #1)

August 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 July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Area descriptions:

  • In West Behm Canal and the contiguous bays enclosed to the north by a line from the western entrance of Bailey Bay to the northern tip of Hassler Island and a line from Fin Point to Dress Point and to the south by a line from Indian Point to Mike Point and;
  • In the waters of southern Revillagigedo Channel enclosed from a line from Lucky Point to Middy Point, continuing to the latitude of Beaver Point and from Point Rosen to Quadra Point and in southeast Behm Canal from Cactus Point to Eva Point.

All waters of District 1 & 2 where king salmon retention was prohibited:

(see Map #1)

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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Southeast Alaska Regional King Salmon Regulations for the Outer Coast:

(see Map #2)

Regional king salmon regulations announced April 1, 2019, remain in effect along the outer coast in areas where restrictions on king salmon harvest were not implemented during the spring of 2019.

Alaska resident:

  • The bag and possession limit is one 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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Other Reminders:

  • North and Northeast Behm Canal remain closed year-round.
  • Regulations for hatchery areas including Mountain Point (June 1 – June 15), Herring Bay (June 1 – July 31) and Neets Bay (June 15 – August 14) will continue to be in effect. See Sport Fishing News Releases issued May 23 and 30 for specific information.

For further information concerning this announcement please contact Ketchikan Area Management Biologist, Kelly Reppert at (907) 225-2859.

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Ketchikan Area

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Juneau Area

Region 1-Southeast News Release

(Released: June 10, 2019 – Expires: December 31, 2019)

Division of Sport Fish
Dave Rutz, Director
Anchorage Headquarters Office
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518


Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
www.adfg.alaska.gov


Contact: Daniel Teske, Area Management Biologist
(907) 465-8152

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Juneau Area

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today, sport fishing regulations for king salmon in the marine waters near Juneau that are opening to the harvest of king salmon after being closed for Southeast Alaska wild king salmon conservation.

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)

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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

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)

July 1 – December 31:

Alaska resident:

  • The bag and possession limit is two king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.

Nonresidents:

  • The bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
  • The annual limit is one king salmon.

Southeast Alaska Regional King Salmon Regulations for the Outer Coast:

(see attached Map #2) Regional king salmon regulations announced April 1, 2019, remain in effect along the outer coast in areas where restrictions on king salmon harvest were not implemented during the spring of 2019.

Alaska resident:

  • The bag and possession limit is one 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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31, the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Please note that this announcement does not change the designated hatchery sport harvest area regulations for Lena Cove, Fritz Cove, and Gastineau Channel which opens June 15 through August 31, with a bag and possession limit of two king salmon of any size for all anglers. For further information concerning this announcement please contact the Region 1 office in Douglas at (907) 465-4270.

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Juneau Area

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Juneau Area

 

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Petersburg and Wrangell Areas

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today, sport fishing regulations for king salmon in the areas near Petersburg, Wrangell, and Kake that are opening to the harvest of king salmon after being closed for Southeast Alaska wild king salmon conservation.

In the waters adjacent to the Stikine River

(District 8 and a portion of Eastern Passage near Wrangell; see attached Map #1):

July 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;
  • The annual limit is one king salmon.

All other areas where king salmon retention was prohibited

(Districts 6, 10 and portions of District 5, 7 and 9; see attached Map #1):

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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Southeast Alaska Regional King Salmon Regulations for the Outer Coast

Regional king salmon regulations announced April 1, 2019, remain in effect along the outer coast in areas where restrictions on king salmon harvest were not implemented during the spring of 2019 (see attached Map #2).

Alaska resident:

  • The bag and possession limit is one 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 annual limit is three king salmon;
  • From July 1 through December 31 the annual limit is one king salmon. Any king salmon harvested between January 1 through June 30 will apply to the one fish annual limit.

Regulations for hatchery areas including: the Wrangell Narrows/Blind Slough terminal harvest area, Anita Bay, and the City Creek terminal area will continue to be in effect. See Sport Fishing News Release issued May 23 for specific information. For further information concerning this announcement please contact Petersburg/Wrangell Area Management Biologist, Patrick Fowler at (907) 772-5231.

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Petersburg and Wrangell Areas

Sport Fishing for King Salmon Opens in the Juneau Area

Massive Fish Sends Fairbanks Resident Atop Valdez Halibut Derby

Christina Ives (right) scored her 285.6-pound halibut on the Nunatuk with Valdez Outfitters. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following press release is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

VALDEZ, Alaska – “It feels incredible! It doesn’t even feel real right now”, said Christina Ives a couple days after reeling in a 285.6-pound halibut. “It happened two days ago and I’m still ecstatic about it It doesn’t even feel real. It’s crazy I can’t believe it’s happening”.

Ives won the first place weekly prize and is currently in first place overall in the derby. If her fish hangs on as the largest through the end of the Valdez Halibut Derby September 1st, she could win $10,000 cash. Ives moved from Wisconsin to Alaska four years ago as a student and is currently working as a Corrections Officer in Fairbanks. “I’m just trying to live the Alaska Dream, I guess”, said Ives.

Ives said she has checked the previous winners out on the valdezfishderbies.com website and is aware that her catch is big enough to potentially hold on through the end. When asked about her chances, Ives responded, “I think they’re pretty good. I hope they’re pretty good but I don’t want to get my hopes up. But I feel like I have a really good chance of at least placing, whether it’s 1st or 3rd. I’ll be happy with either one …but of course I’m hoping for 1st. If Ives wins cash, she said she is not sure what she would do with the money but thought that she would like to use some to go fishing again and to pay off student loans.

David Stack of Tyler, Texas reeled in a 158. 2 pound halibut on June 6th and is currently in 2nd place overall. Stack caught his 158.2 pound halibut aboard the Sea Walker June 6th. Edward Wahmann of Tok, Alaska is currently in 3rd place overall with a 126.2 pound halibut caught June 8th aboard the Nunatak. Ives wins the 1st place weekly prize and Stack wins the 2nd place weekly but they missed the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament by just one day. The Halibut Hullabaloo tournament runs June 7th through 16th and the angler catching the largest halibut within that time period will take home $1,000 cash in addition to the regular cash and prizes. A regular daily or season derby ticket is all an angler needs to purchase to participate in the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament.

Charters are heading out further for halibut, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests that you don’t have to travel far to land a catch. They suggest trying fishing on a muddy bottom off a rock slope in 150 to 300 feet of water.  ADF&G also suggests that shrimp flies might be a good option for Rockfish. “With a little added bait and targeting rocky pinnacles, you shouldn’t have trouble getting into some fish”, says ADF&G.

 

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 10th with an opening event Friday, August 9th. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

 

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st Christina Ives       Fairbanks, AK 285.6 lbs. June 6 Nunatuk

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

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

 

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #3

1st Christina Ives      Fairbanks, AK 285.6 lbs. June 6 Nunatuk

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

Quartet Found Guilty Of Illegal Commercial Fishing In Dogfish Bay

Four men from the Homer area were found guilty of illegally commercially fishing in the waters of Dogfish Bay. Here’s the Homer News with more: 

Eric Winslow, 63, Paul Roth, 36, and Mark Roth, 66, all of Homer, and Robert Roth, 40, of Anchor Point, were all charged last year by Alaska Wildlife Troopers with various crimes relating to illegally driving salmon from waters closed to commercial fishing into open waters, and then harvesting them in Dogfish Bay (also called Koyuktolik Bay). Altogether, 33,328 pounds of salmon were taken.

“The boats went in there, they found out there was a lot of fish in that area, and four boats worked together to push these fish into a ball, and push that fish toward a set,” Rex Leath, a captain with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, said of the incident last year.

Here’s the Alaska State Troopers dispatch:

Date: 5/31/2019 3:04:38 PM

Location: Dog Fish Bay Homer
Type: Sentencing for 2018 illegal commercial fishing incident

Dispatch Text:

On May 29, 2019, Judge Margaret Murphy of the Homer District court found four commercial fishermen guilty of multiple commercial fishing offences related to an incident that took place on July 18, 2018 in Dog Fish Bay. Alaska Wildlife Troopers observed the fishermen illegally fishing in the closed waters section of the bay and driving salmon from closed waters into open waters.   

 

Mark Roth, 66 years-old of Homer, was found guilty of driving salmon from closed waters, and failure to provide information to a fish transporter with a combined total fine of $11,000 with $7500 suspended, and one year of probation.  Paul Roth, 36 years-old of Homer, was found guilty of commercial fishing in closed waters, and failure to provide information to a fish transporter with a combined total fine of $4000 with $2000 suspended and one year of probation. Robert Roth, 40 years-old of Homer, was found guilty of failing to obtain a fish transporter permit, failure to complete fish tickets, and unlawful possession of fish with a combined total fine of $4000 with $2500 suspended and one year probation. Eric Winslow, 63 years-old of Homer, was found guilty of driving salmon from closed waters, failure to provide information to a fish transporter, and failure to display vessel license with a combined total fine of $11,200 with $7500 suspended, and one year probation. Ten thousand pounds of salmon were also forfeited to the state.

During sentencing, Judge Murphy emphasized that her primary goals were two-fold: rehabilitation and deterrence. The general deterrence is very concerning. “It’s important that everyone understands that driving of salmon and fishing in closed waters cannot stand.” Fishermen must understand where areas are closed to fishing and that “the line is the line.” Additionally, the law requires individuals who are going to transport fish from other fishermen to have the appropriate permits and collect the appropriate documentation. This helps ensure that Alaska Fish and Game has the information it requires to make sound management decisions about the State’s valuable fish and game resources.  

Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Office of Special Prosecutions encourage all fishermen to understand and follow the pertinent fishing regulations and to report any violations. It is for the benefit of all Alaskans.

 

Book Excerpt: Finding Your Way In The Wild

Dave Canterbury is a jedi master if you want to know every possible solution and tip if you’re ever lost in the wild, whether by choice or heaven forbid when it’s not your choice to be stuck somewhere far from civilization. Canterbury, who is the co-owner and supervising instructor at the prestigious survival training tool, the Pathfinder School,  is a New York Times best-selling author of multiple survival books, including his new title, Buschcraft Illustrated, which publisher Simon and Schuster calls “ultimate outdoor reference guide; it has 300-plus detailed illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions to help you learn wilderness skills and how to adapt to any situation.”

Here, Canterbury talks about how to use compasses and maps when you absolutely need to know how to get from Point A to Point B. 

Excerpted from Bushcraft Illustrated by Dave Canterbury. Copyright © 2019 Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher, Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. All rights reserved.

COMPASSES AND MAPS
You don’t always want to rely on natural methods of determining direction and location. For making long treks, you’ll probably prefer to use a map and magnetic compass. The main reason for any navigation method whether improvised or a true compass is to allow you to walk a straight line over distance. Even if you are using a primitive method you should still be able to walk a straight line and avoid lateral drift.

COMPASSES
The reason compass use is so important is that without one, you’ll have a hard time walking in a straight line, particularly over long distances. Lateral drift, which affects everyone, causes you to move slightly left or right as you walk. This is a problem if you can’t see the object you’re aiming for (perhaps because of an obstruction or because it’s a long way off).

Bushcraft Tip
Not all compasses are created equal, and there are many types on the market today. Whatever compass you choose to use should act as a navigational device, signaling device for emergencies, mirror used for first aid as well as daily hygiene, and a tool capable of restarting by solar ignition.

BASIC COMPASS USE
A compass is used to establish a bearing, usually described as your position of travel in relationship to magnetic north. If you consider magnetic north to be zero, then
a bearing of 15 degrees is slightly to the northeast. Most compasses have a needle that is two different colors, usually red/ white or orange/white. The white side of the needle points south, and the colored area points north. The “front” or “top” of the compass is where the mirror is, so if you open the compass and look into the mirror, your compass is pointed to the front. Under the bezel ring of the compass should be an outlined arrow or set of lines that move as the bezel ring is moved. See FIGURE 7.19 below for an example of a survival compass.

Aim the sighting device on your compass lid at a distant object in the direction you are headed. Hold the compass centered on your body with your arms slightly away from your body. Tilt the mirror enough that you can see both the object in the distance through the “V” and the bezel ring on your compass. The needle on your compass will always point north, so at this point move your bezel ring so that the out- line, or “doghouse,” lines up in such a way that the north needle is inside. You will then have the bearing at the top of your compass. At this point, if you lower your compass and keep the north needle within the line in the bezel ring as you walk, you will be walking a straight line or exact bearing.

Bushcraft Tip
Sooner or later when traveling by compass, you will stray off course. When this happens, you should attempt a reverse azimuth to return to the last known point. A reverse azimuth just means traveling 180 degrees in the opposite direction from where you were going. The easiest method is to simply look at your compass as if it were a clock. If your current bearing is at 12 o’clock, rotate the bezel to the 6 o’clock number, and you have the reverse azimuth.

TERRAIN FEATURES AND MAPS
Remember that a topographic map is a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional surface. So if you understand what you are looking at on the map, you can visualize what it looks like in real life. There are five colors on most topographical maps:
Brown is used for contour lines— lines that show elevation.
Green is used for vegetation—the darker the green, the more dense the vegetation.
Blue is used for water sources— creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds.
Black is generally a man-made object—a trail, a railway, or a building.
Red shows major roadways such as highways.

And there are five terrain features you’ll want to watch out for:
Hilltops are the highest point of elevation in a rise, offering opportunities for overlook.
A ridgeline is a series of hilltops, enabling high ground travel.
A saddle is a low area between two hilltops, offering windbreak for camps without sacrificing elevation.
A draw is the reduction in elevation from a saddle with high ground on both sides. This is usually a good runoff point for water and in many cases leads to a valley.
5. A valley is a low elevation running between ridgelines. These areas hold runoff and are the best places to look for unmarked streams. If they hold water, the higher ground above them will be excellent for ambushing game that goes to the water to drink. Most valleys are also good trapping locations.

See FIGURE 7.21 below for an example of a topographical map.

USING THE MAP
Once you can read the basic features of the map, you need to understand the other information that it can provide. The map can give you distance from one point to another, as well as show you the differences between what your compass is reading (called magnetic north) and what the map has laid out (called grid north). The slight variation is called the declination and will be important if you plan to travel using your map to obtain bearings.

For rudimentary navigation, you do not need to worry much about the declination differences between grid north and magnetic north. However, if you are trying to be very precise over distance and intend to take your bearings from the map, you will need to understand this process. Your map contains a declination diagram, which will show you the amount of degree o set left or right between magnetic north and map north. The top of any map is oriented north. ink of straight up on the map as corresponding to the hands of a clock pointing to 12. Magnetic north is actually left or right of 12 o’clock, depending on where you are standing on the earth’s surface. Your compass always points to magnetic north, but the map is made to linear and lateral direction, so north on the map is not magnetic north. This difference is indicated in the declination diagram as a degree of o set. Once you find the declination diagram, you can set the declination difference in your compass if it has adjustable declination or use the calculation based on the degree of offset on every bearing you take from the map when planning your route. See  FIGURE 7.22 below for an example of a declination diagram on a map.

for an

Orienting the map allows you to match the two-dimensional image on the map to what you’re seeing in the landscape. To orient the map, place your open compass on one corner so the straight edge of your compass and the grid lines on the map are parallel. If you are using this map to figure a route and to factor travel bearings, to start this operation you will need to either have the declination difference set on the compass or offset your bezel ring that
amount from 360 degrees at the top of the compass. When you’ve done this, rotate the map until the north needle is again in the doghouse. The map will be oriented to the terrain in front of you. Make sure that when you begin this procedure your map compass top is toward the top of the map. See FIGURE 7.23 below for an example of how to orient the map.

USING PACE BEADS
You may determine that your destination is two kilometers (klicks) ahead but once you start walking you’ll need to keep track of how far you’ve gone. Pace beads are used to measure distance traveled. Simply create two strings of beads: one strand of nine beads and one strand of four beads. These are used to count five kilometers. Each bead on the side with nine beads represents 100 meters, and each bead on the side with four beads represents one kilometer. You will start with all beads at the top of the two strings and drop beads accordingly as you travel in 100-meter increments. The key to this is figuring how many paces it takes to walk 100 meters. Keep track in your camp journal or notes of your pace in various terrains carrying your typical gear. Over time you will be able to determine your average pace. See FIGURE 7.24 below for an example of pace beads.

Editor’s note: Survivalist expert Dave Canterbury is the co-owner and supervising instructor at the Pathfinder School, which USA Today named one of the Top 12 Survival Schools in the United States. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Bushcraft 101Advanced BushcraftandThe Bushcraft Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild, and he runs a bushcraft YouTube account with nearly 550,000 subscribers.

107.8-Pounder Claims Valdez Weekly Halibut Derby Winner

Amanda Von Imhof of Anchorage won the weekly Valdez Halibut Derby award with a 107-pound, 8-ounce fish. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following press release is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

INTERIOR ANGLER LEADS THE WAY IN VALDEZ HALIBUT DERBY

VALDEZ, Alaska – An angler from the interior is holding 1st place on the Valdez Fish Derbies leaderboard in the early stages of the Valdez Halibut Derby. Doris Miller of North Pole, Alaska is currently in first place overall with a 109.6 pound halibut she caught aboard the Dan Orion May 21st. Amanda Von Imhof of Anchorage, AK is currently in 2nd place with a 107.8 pound halibut caught May 26th aboard the Go Get Her and Rosina Mancari of Anchorage, AK  is currently in 3rd place with a 107.4 pound halibut caught May 24th aboard the Reel Nuts.

The investment to compete in the Valdez Halibut Derby and have the chance to win the $10,000 first place prize is $10 for a daily ticket. Those who fish a lot can pick up a halibut season ticket for $50. The 2nd place prize in the Halibut Derby is $3,000 and 3rd place prize is $1,500.

Those with a halibut derby ticket are eligible to participate in the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament for no additional cost. The angler catching the largest halibut in the derby between June 7th through 16th will win $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes.

A huge bonus for anglers hitting the waters early this year is the opportunity to see whales and wildlife in the Port Valdez and throughout Prince William Sound. Stan Stephens Cruises operates a glacier and wildlife cruise out of Valdez and this past week alone have reported sightings of humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, Stellar Sea Lions, mountain goats, black bear as well as shorebirds such as the surf scoter, puffins and oystercatchers.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that halibut fishing has been good and suggests that you don’t have to fish deep to get into some rockfish. Rocky areas are a favorite for rockfish. Rockfish limits year-round are 4 fish per day and 8 in possession of which only one per day and possession can be nonpelagic rockfish. The shrimp season began April 15th and will close on September 15th. You are required to have a shrimp permit with you and you must record your catch immediately after you harvest shrimp. ADF&G recommends that you stick to a depth range of around 300 to 400 feet for shrimp pots if you are just starting out. For those wanting to fish along the road system, Blueberry and Thompson Lakes will be stocked toward the end of June. Ruth Pond in Valdez will also be stocked toward the end of June.

The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 20th. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize for four different age divisions. The Kids Derby is free and open to kids five to 16 years of age. Valdez Fish Derbies tickets are available at the weigh-in shack down by the harbor and at various locations throughout town. For more information visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com.For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

 

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st Doris Miller        North Pole, AK 109.6 lbs. May 21 Dan Orion

2nd Amanda Von Imhof Anchorage, AK         107.8 lbs. May 26 Go Get Her

3rd Rosina Moncari Anchroage, AK 107.4 lbs. May 24             Reel Nuts

 

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #2

1st Amanda Von Imhof Anchorage, AK         107.8 lbs. May 26 Go Get Her

2nd Craig Villante Lakeland, FL                  98.6 lbs. June 1 Sea Quester

 

Ketchikan Creek Set To Open For Sportfishing

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

Ketchikan Creek will be open to sport fishing for all species, including king salmon, beginning 12:01 a.m. June 1 through 11:59 p.m. December 31, 2019. The bag and possession limit for king salmon in Ketchikan Creek is two king salmon of any size. King salmon harvested in Ketchikan Creek do not count towards the nonresident annual limit.

The bag and possession limit for salmon, other than king salmon, 16 inches or greater in length is two per day in combination, and two in possession. Fishing gear permitted in Ketchikan Creek is one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure only.

The Deer Mountain Hatchery will not be collecting brood stock from Ketchikan Creek this year. Therefore, there will be excess king salmon in Ketchikan Creek available for harvest.

Anyone needing additional information should call the Ketchikan ADF&G, Division of Sport Fish office at 225-2859 or visit:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/EONR/index.cfm?ADFG=area.list&AreaID=6

Puffins Washing Ashore Dead On Bering Sea Alaskan Island

The Washington Post has more on this trend: 

The mass die-off of the widely beloved birds off coastal Alaska — one of a growing number of “mass mortality events” affecting seabirds recently — was anything but normal.

Parrish and a group of colleagues used weather data to estimate that between 3,150 and 8,500 birds probably died, most likely from starvation. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, the authors theorize the die-off is at least partially attributable to the changing climate.

“This mortality event represents one of multiple seabird mortality events that have occurred in the Northeast Pacific from 2014 to 2018, cumulatively suggestive of broad-scale ecosystem change,” they write. Such episodes, they add, “are indicators of a changing world, and particularly of climate warming.”

 

ADFG Announces Copper River Personal-Use Dipnet Fishery Schedule

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

The Chitina Subdistrict will open for a 72-hour period from 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 7 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 9.

As a reminder, the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan and the Statewide Personal Use Fishing Regulations state that:

  • The annual limit is 25 salmon for the head of household and 10 salmon for each dependent of the permit holder.
  • Only one king salmon may be kept as part of the total household annual limit.
  • Personal use fishers must possess both their Chitina Personal Use fishery permit and a valid resident sport fishing license when fishing. Steelhead cannot be kept, and must be returned to the water unharmed.
  • You must record your harvest on the permit immediately.
  • The tips of the tail of personal use caught fish must be clipped immediately upon landing a fish.
  • Immediately is defined as before concealing the salmon from plain view or transporting the salmon from the fishing site. Fishing site means the location where the fish was removed from the water and became part of the permit holder’s bag limit.

The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction of the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts. During May 20 – 26, there were 98,178 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this period was 61,368 salmon, which results in a surplus of 36,810 salmon. Copper River sockeye salmon migratory timing and the previous five-year average harvest and participation rates indicate sufficient numbers of salmon available to justify 72 hours of fishing time during the week of June 3 – June 9, an increase of 18 hours from the preseason schedule.

All residents of Alaska qualify to participate in this personal use fishery. You must have a Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery Permit and a resident Alaska sport fishing license when dipnetting. Both dip net permits and fishing licenses can be obtained online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/. A $15 fee is charged for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use salmon fishery permit. Revenue from the fee supports the sanitation services at the fishery and trail maintenance from O’Brien Creek to Haley Creek.

The department urges dipnetters to respect the rights of private landowners in the area and know the regulations before fishing. For information on access across private lands contact Chitina Native Corporation at (907) 823-2223.

Information regarding the fishery can be found at the ADF&G web site: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=PersonalUsebyAreaInteriorChitina.main. This site provides information regarding the Upper Copper River fisheries including: fishery descriptions and summaries, maps of the subdistricts, a listing of vendors that carry the permits, and links to the sonar numbers and fishing schedule emergency orders.

The current fishing schedule will be announced on the Chitina Fishery information line at 822-5224 (Glennallen), 459-7382 (Fairbanks), and 267-2511 (Anchorage). Please contact an information phone line prior to planning your trip to Chitina to ensure that the fishery will be open when you arrive. If you have any questions regarding the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery, please contact the ADF&G office in Glennallen at (907) 822-3309.

Hunting The Arctic Is A Way Of Life

Photos courtesy of Lew Pagel and Paul Atkins

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

BY PAUL D. ATKINS 

The Arctic. I’ve lived here a long time. 

This has become my home, and to be honest the last 20 years have flown by faster than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes I think back to the old days when I first arrived and wonder if I’m any different now than I was then. I know more and I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been a part of some of the most incredible adventures, stuff you could only ever imagine. I’ve been lucky in the joys and discomforts. But I have changed and I see it every day.

IN THE EARLY DAYS, I looked at Alaska as one big vacation. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. Each year was different and when I arrived back each fall it felt like I was going on an extended trip of a lifetime. I was able to work, make some money and as a teacher,hopefully make a difference to those students who greeted me at the door each day.

The hunting was a byproduct of that, and to be honest it was the reason I came all those years ago. After my first year, there was a writer who wrote a story for an Alaska newspaper that detailed, in his mind, why young teachers come to the state. 

The author’s belief was that we came to get residency, then hunt for a couple years and leave. He didn’t believe it was just to teach school, and for some he was probably right, but not all. The story was actually a slam job and I was featured in that piece – without my permission, of course. He wrote, How dare we come up here and do this?  

Well, like many, I’m still here doing what I love – both at work and play.

It takes time to figure things out when you first come up here. For years, I didn’t understand the resident versus nonresident caribou/moose problem either. The locals didn’t like nonresidents coming up here to hunt and take caribou and moose. They felt those animals belonged to them and them only. Nowadays I can see it, especially when I come home empty-handed due to the herds going in a different direction or the lack of time or a plane ride and the always-prevalent unpredictable weather. You want to blame it on something, and why not those who don’t live here? It especially feels that way when you see them hauling in caribou after caribou. 

So now, after living here for such a long time, I can see the conflict. Even though I do not condemn those who do come north – not at all – I can see where the locals are coming from. 

I see it these days too with the young people. There are those who come north to teach school or work in this part of the world. They remind me of me when I first came. Eager as they are – and I don’t blame them – they just want to be a part of it all and share in those experiences. 

They want to get out every weekend, get their first moose, caribou or bear and do whatever it takes or go wherever they need too in order to get it done. 

I was the same way, and, in the end, I guess things don’t change that much. What goes around eventually seems to come back and start over again, no matter the season.

 

I REMEMBER MY SECOND year here in the Arctic and the need to buy the latest and greatest in gadgets. Usually it starts with getting that first snowmachine, because to really “enjoy the country,” they said, “you need to have a snowmachine!” 

Winters are long here, but all the snow and ice allow you to get out of town. You can hunt, camp, fish, explore – whatever you want to do.

It was sound advice, so I called Nome and ordered that first sno-go. I went and picked it up at Northern Air Cargo, as did other teachers who had ordered theirs as well. 

It was like high school all over again as we compared each other’s machines and argued about who had the better sled. I still see this today with the younger guys, but modern machines are a little different. I would say they’re better and a heck of a lot more expensive than those in my early days.

Next on the list was to buy a boat. Everyone needs a boat, or so you think. But it really does make sense. To get anywhere from Kotzebue during the summer and fall months you have to cross water, especially if you want to get where the bears, moose and caribou are; that is, if they do decide to show up at all.

But these days I’m a lot more laid back, or maybe I’m just getting old. I still hunt as much as ever, but I’m not chomping at the bit or discouraged if I don’t score every time out. I’ve done it already. I’ve taken my share and experienced just about everything you can here in the north. 

I know this sounds cliché, but it’s more about the experience and the adventure these days than anything else. I find myself looking elsewhere for the thrill and adventure.

And one rush that hasn’t gone away is my desire to chase bears – grizzly bears, that is. No matter whether it’s in the fall or spring, I love being around them. I love looking for them; I love finding their tracks and ultimately I love killing them. 

This is man against beast in its purest form. It’s dangerous too. At any moment things can go wrong and you could end up in a situation you don’t want to find yourself in. I’ve been in a few.

THIS YEAR, WITH BAD weather and warm temperatures plaguing us most of the spring, my good buddy and hunting partner Lew Pagel and I decided that if we were going to bear hunt, we’d better go before the ice completely dissolved. 

Like a hundred times before we headed north into bear country with our machines and a sled. Was it the same place as the previous year? Maybe, even though we knew that it would be hard to top the big bear that Lew took in the same vicinity (Alaska Sporting Journal, March 2019). Oh man, was that a monster! But we knew there were more and all we needed to do was look.

The ride over was fast. The snowmelt had softened the trail, eliminating most bumps and those bone-jarring slams that only a rough and hard trail can provide. 

Cruising along I began to think back to all the trips and times I’ve crossed the Kotzebue Sound. It has to be at least thousands, whether by snowmachine or boat, or occasionally by plane. Most of those times resulted in an adventure of some kind. Most had successful results. 

I thought back to my first trip and how in awe I was of this country. It was what Alaska was supposed to be – the real Alaska that I was in the middle of. I still feel that way, but these days, with the knowledge of every nook and cranny in the backcountry, it’s habit more than anything.

All are pretty much etched in my mind. Is there anything new out there? Probably, but it’s more about the travel and getting into places that maybe you haven’t before. So my mind wanders.

Lew and I made it to the sunny slopes of the various hills that line the Noatak River drainage. It was a beautiful day, the kind that is perfect for this time of year: bright sun, soft snow, a hint of chill in the air and no wind. A win-win situation for a couple of veteran bear hunters. 

As usual we found a place to stop and glass. It was perfect. We could see forever and even though I hadn’t looked through a pair of binoculars in some time, the clear images of snow mixed with spruce and rocks were easy on the eyes. We were looking for tracks of a recently exited bear from his den. It was fun sitting there with my good friend. We talked as we glassed, reminiscing on past hunts and game camps that we have shared. It’s the way it should be.

“Remember when we camped right over there, and that big moose strolled into camp?” 

“Yeah, that was a hell of a day.” 

“How about that muskox you shot standing on that far hill; he went, what, 15 yards after you put an arrow in him?” 

“Yeah, I think so.”

These are the moments you remember and cherish. 

AS WE SAT IN the bright sun Lew said, “Uh, look at that. There’s a bunch of caribou over there on that far ridge.” 

“Where?” I replied. 

“On that far hill to the left.” 

I rested my elbows on the front of my snowmachine and peered off into the distance. I couldn’t find them, even though I knew they were there. Back and forth I looked until I did see something. But it wasn’t caribou; it was a bear. 

“Where?” Lew asked. I pointed toward the ridge on the right.

I’ve made a lot of plans, as without a good plan you really are just shooting in the dark, literally. We decided to move to a higher spot and get into position to look down on the bear. 

The problem was once we got there the bear wasn’t. He had simply disappeared. It reminded me of previous seasons, when, no matter the species, the animal we had seen and were after had vanished. 

We circled back, went up, down and everywhere in between. I got off my snowmachine and glassed and thought I got a glimpse of something, but it ended up being a muskox in a place where there shouldn’t have been one. 

We looked at each other and it got me to thinking about previous encounters I’ve had with these incredible animals. Finally, the ox had had enough, and he went his way and I went mine. 

After Lew left and I sat and watched, it wasn’t long until Lew came back to let me know he had found the track. The bear was a lot lower than we thought, but now we were in business. I followed my friend as he followed the track. It was a big one and I knew that this was going to be a big bear. 

You always wonder about these things: What lies ahead and how will the ordeal eventually play out? Like all my encounters with big game over the years, I was nervous and excited at the same time. If you’re not, then you shouldn’t be out there to start with. For me, after all these years, it never gets old.

THE WARM SNOW WAS soft and melting underneath. My machine started to heat up, especially when we crossed barren tundra fully exposed to the sun. Luckily it was just a short patch and we were back in the snow before long. We eventually caught up with the big boar, and I could tell from a distance he was a good one. 

We got close and I turned off my machine. I walked in his direction and lucky for me the bear stopped to check me out, giving me that split second of a chance. Like a thousand times before, I don’t remember aiming or feeling the rifle slam into my shoulder, but the shot was true and the big bear was down. 

I’ve taken several bears over the years and been lucky on moose, numerous muskox and more caribou than I can remember, and one thing never changes: the thrill of bringing one of them down. It’s a surreal moment as you shake trying to regain some kind composure, realizing that what you just did is truly special, whether you’re trying to fill the freezer or your soul.

This is something that I will miss most about this place and times like these. To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever be able to feel it elsewhere.

The bear was as big as I imagined him to be, and Lew agreed as we strolled up to have a look. We had done this so many times it seemed like second nature, but it really wasn’t. We laughed, high-fived and tried to hide our amazement at such an event. 

It was a great day in the Arctic, in the sun, and in a time where we were lucky enough to do the things we do. 

The far north has been a blessing. ASJ

Editor’s note: Paul Atkins is an outdoor writer and author from Kotzebue, Alaska. He has written hundreds of articles on big game hunting, and fishing throughout North America and Africa, plus surviving in the Arctic. Paul is a monthly contributor to Alaska Sporting Journal.

Actor Michael Keaton Stands Up For Salmon, Bristol Bay In Pebble Mine Plea

When I was in college, my roommate worked at a nearby restaurant as a server and excitedly announced after he returned that actor Michael Keaton dined at his establishment (it was a long time ago and I can’t remember what, if any, film, Keaton was shooting in town, but it wasn’t long after his first turn as the Caped Crusader. We joked that my friend should have taken Keaton’s order and then proclaimed, “I’m Batman.”

For those working so hard to fight the Pebble Mine project that could potentially threaten Bristol Bay’s salmon runs, you could do a lot worse than having a respected A-lister like Keaton on your side. As the Hollywood Reporter explains, Keaton’s place as a conservationist advocate (and a diehard angler)  and appearance at a fundraiser put on by the Wild Salmon Center recently included his making a strong statement about the mine’s place in such a delicate watershed. Here’s reporter Chris Gardner:

President Donald Trump’s administration has cleared the way for construction of the mine, something that doesn’t sit well with Keaton.

“If you ruin this particular area, you demolish the entire population,” Keaton explains of the situation, which he refers to as a micro example of his macro environmental concerns. “Something like 60 million salmon every year pass through this area. Eventually these [mines] will leak and affect the fish. As a 35-plus-year fly fisherman, yeah, I care, but more than that, inevitably in these situations, it’s the people who suffer the most because it hurts the local economy, it hurts jobs, it hurts tourism. It’s not like the administration doesn’t care — they are actively trying to do things to destroy, dismantle and remove this [bay].”