Alaska’s iconic king salmon fishery on the Kenai River is in big trouble. To help reduce mortality, Alaska Fish and Game has closed the river to salmon fishing through the end of the “early run” on June 30.
Here’s the problem with that according to an Activist Angler source in Alaska:
Alaska Fish and Game is killing more of those fish doing a survey that would die by the hand of catch-and-release charter anglers.
“Radio transmitters are forced down the gullet and the fish are released,” my source says. “Sadly, three of the 10 fish die on average and two more spit the probe out. So, of the $1.5 million to study the kind salmon, $750,000 is wasted due to dead kings and lost radio transmitters.”
He also points out that the Lower Kenai is a trophy trout fishery, meaning only fish under 18 inches can be kept.
“Thus thousands of steelhead, Dolly Varden, and Rainbows get to eat all the salmon eggs and smolts they want, while king salmon in the Kenai River dwindle.
“The Kenai kings are the largest in the world and the world record freshwater catch is currently 98 (97-4) pounds from the Kenai. Ocean fish that have topped 100 pounds are believed to be Kenai River fish.
“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is destroying this resource by overstudying, killing, and pandering to trout fishermen on the Lower Kenai.
“Change needs to come soon or the largest king salmon in the world will be extinct by the end of the decade.”
And here’s an article about low king salmon returns statewide.