Think About It……… July 9, 2014
So, you work the waters of the river into a froth casting your Coho fly again and again and finally you hook a really nice red salmon. The fish puts up a really good long fight and you finally work it into shore and into your net. Whoops! You’ll have to throw it back into the river because the Alaska Board of Fish and Game and its paid regulators say so. According to them, that beautiful Red Sockeye Salmon has been foul hooked. The decades old regulation that demands that any salmon you catch must be hooked inside the mouth has come into play.
Many feel that is absolutely the worst fishing regulation ever foisted on the people of Alaska. Why? Well, first of all, a Red Salmon will very rarely if ever bite a fly as our other salmon will. So, when a fisherman feels that little tug on the line and tries to set the hook the fish will more than likely be stabbed with the hook in every other part of its body except the mouth. It takes a very long time for a hard fighting Red hooked in the belly, back or tail to finally be landed. A salmon “snagged” if you will is able to fight the pole and line much longer than one hooked in the mouth. Consequently, all of its energy intended for swimming up the river to finally spawn is all gone. Many of these fish are caught a number of times and if they finally reach their spawning beds are too weak to complete the task. Many other reds are hooked, fought and then break free. That’s why you see some fish with several hooks imbedded in their flesh.
Secondly, river bank degradation is a really big problem on our Kenai and Kasilof rivers and allowing fishermen to stay on the river, releasing a great number of Red Salmon before they finally get their “legal” limit means much more bank degradation than our rivers can bear.
It’s time to remove this worst of all our fishing regulations and allow “snagging” of red salmon.
Un-sportsman like they say? Ridiculous! How sporting is a big dip net? How sporting in a 150 fathom gill net? It’s time for our Fish and Game Board and Fish Wardens to get real. Repeal this stupid anti-snagging regulation.
Allow folks to harvest their red salmon any way they like snagging in the mouth or any other part of the body. Then adopt a new set of regulations:
1) Once a fish is landed you must keep it and not throw it back.
2) Once you have your limit of three fish you must leave the river and not return till the next day.
3) No fishing for other species of fish is allowed for that day
So, with those changes everyone wins. Fishermen harvest their limit of reds quickly and easily. Our valuable red salmon reach their spawning beds in excellent shape to complete their life cycle. Our river banks remain in excellent shape because long periods of use, each day, by fisherman comes to a halt and river bank degradation is held to an absolute minimum.
Meanwhile, I wouldn’t hold your breath until the regulation is changed. In the meantime yours truly will continue to catch his limit of three reds per day anyway he can, leave the river, and go home.
Think About It! JCD 7-9-2014