Several proposals before the Board of Fish today call for increased closures around the Kenai River king salmon spawning beds.
Dwight Kramer with the Kenai Area Fishermen’s Association wrote one of the proposals…
Kramer: “If you look at the Anchor River, it closes above the bridge there at the weir; provides no fishing there and spawning certainty. We do it in other areas, we do it in the Kasilof. July 1st, that closes above that bridge, so the Kings can be left alone to spawn, and it’s time that we do it in the Kenai as well.”
Kramer said closures around spawning beds will protect “the biggest and the best,” but it won’t be a quick turnaround. It could take 15-20 years.
Board Chair Karl Johnstone observed that many of the proposals were repetitive, and asked for those who oppose them to comment.
Andy Szczesny, who represents Kenai River guides, said he doesn’t see any benefit to closing the spawning areas, since there are already “22 miles of sanctuaries on the Kenai River.”
Szczesny: “This thing extends 200 yards downstream. I don’t know if there’s enough information to even go to an extended sanctuary of this level. We already have the Killey, we have the Funny, we have Morgan’s Landing. We have miles and miles of sanctuaries.”
Szczesny said he didn’t see any benefit to the fish, only the likelihood it would “close the sport fishermen down.”
Roland Maw with UCIDA said they also oppose the proposal…
Maw: “In talking with some of our members and some members of the community, we oppose this. Because we didn’t think it was big enough. We thought it should be slightly larger than this. Maybe 300 yards.
Chair Johnstone: “I suppose that is a form of opposition.”
Paul Shadura with the Kenai/Soldotna Advisory Committee said he understands why guides might be “sensitive” to these proposals, since they cut down opportunity to target kings.