Sportfishing for king salmon in the Monashka Creek and the waters of Monashka Bay outside the creek mouth closed on Saturday because there has so far been no fish returning to the system.
According to Fish and Game’s Donn Tracy, the return to Monashka Creek is vital for the hatchery-reared king salmon enhancement project.
The department usually collects 50 female and 50 male king salmon from the creek to be used in the project. Traditionally, at least half the needed broodstock has arrived by June 25th, but so far, Tracy says none have returned:
If the run doesn’t pick up, Tracy says the department will go to one of the other road-system rivers – either the Olds or American – the hatchery project supports to try and collect the needed broodstock:
Failing that, the department’s back up to plan B is to capture, rear and release coho salmon in lieu of kings for one year.
The closure that went into effect over the weekend prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release in the Monashka Creek drainage and the waters of Monashka Bay inside a line extending from Miller Point to Termination Point. Sportfishing for other species in the closed area is allowed, but only one unbaited, single hook artificial lure may be used.
Anglers along the Ayakulik and Karluk Rivers won’t be able to take home a prized king salmon for the foreseeable future. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Friday issued an emergency order closure for those rivers, which went into effect on Saturday.
A press release from fish and game said the closures come as biological escapement goals for those rivers are way below seasonal goals, and likely won’t be achieved.
The escapement goal for the Ayakulik is 4,000 to 7,000 fish, but as of June 17 only 350 fish had made it up to the weir. On the Karluk, escapement goals are 3,000 to 6,000 fish, but only 256 fish had made it to the weir by June 17.
As an added precaution to protect Chinook in those rivers, fish and game also prohibited bait use on those rivers. Only single-hook artificial lures are allowed in those areas.
Kodiak’s commercial salmon fishery is set to kick off on Thursday. Kodiak Commercial Fisheries Management Biologist James Jackson said there will be a series of salmon openers starting at noon.
“We’re going to open up the majority of the Northwest Kodiak District, also the areas around the hatchery for there’s some early chum production that guys like to fish for up there. And then also we have some small put and take fisheries up on Afognak – those are those Foul Bay, and Waterfall Bay special harvest areas. Those areas will open up until further notice. We also opened up for commercial fishing the Southeast Afognak Section of the Afognak District because Litnik has some good escapement. We basically have good early sockeye escapements almost everywhere on the island.”
Like last year, Jackson said this is an earlier than normal opener. He said they traditionally hold off on opening up any fishing periods until after June 9. Continue reading
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced the closure of the black rockfish season in the eastside district of the Kodiak area for mechanical jig and hand troll gear. The closure will be at 11:59 p.m. Monday night.
In an emergency order, the department said the guideline harvest level, at 30,000 pounds, will likely be met by that time.
Following the closure, all gear types may retain black rockfish in the Eastside District as bycatch, up to five percent by weight of the target species onboard. Jig vessel operators must contact ADF&G in Kodiak by phone or in person to change district registration.
The Kodiak, Chignik and South Alaska Peninsula Black Rockfish season opened on January 1st with a total GHL of 300,000 pounds.
As part of the State of Alaska’s effort to better track king salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is requiring off-shore anglers to keep the head and tail on any kings they catch until they get back to Kodiak. Donn Tracy, the Kodiak Area Sportsfish Management Biologist, explains the emergency order to retain the head and tails of king salmon are to facilitate measuring the fishes’ length, obtain a scale sample, and to find a coded wire tag embedded in the heads of some of the kings when they were small. Those fish can be identified because their adipose fins have been clipped.
He said Fish and Game will have employees circulating through all of Kodiak’s public docks and out on the base, to meet sport anglers when they return.
Tracy says about 7,000 king salmon are caught by sport anglers in Kodiak Island waters, but he’s not expecting to get samples from all of them, but said 1,000 or more would be great.
He said the information collected will not be used for catch allocation – that Fish and Game is only interested in the genetic stock composition.
The emergency order prohibiting de-heading kings goes into effect on May 31st. Tracy added that the fish can be gutted and cleaned onboard before returning to port to help preserve their freshness.
The bag, possession and annual catch limit of king salmon on two Kodiak Island rivers have been cut by emergency order from the Department of Fish and Game.
On the Karluk River, no king salmon may be possessed or retained and anglers may not use multiple hooks or bait. On the Ayakulik River fishermen have a possession and bag limit of one king salmon 20-inches or greater, though the annual limit is reduced to two fish per year.
The emergency orders have been implemented because of expected low escapement again this year. The biological escapement goal – that is, the number of spawners needed for a sustainable stock – is between 3,000 and 6,000 kings in the Karluk River. It’s a goal that’s only been achieved twice since 2006.
The B-E-G for the Ayakulik is between 4,000 and 7,000, which was not attained between 2006 and 2009, or last year.
In the announcement, Fish and Game said it expects poor runs this year, and have some uncertainly over how quickly the stocks may recover. Increased fishing opportunity may be allowed by subsequent emergency order on both rivers if an in-season assessment shows the runs are stronger than expected or the B-E-Gs will be met.
The king salmon limits go into effect on June 1st and are effective through July 25th.