Celebrating the return of the salmon to Cook Inlet rivers is a yearly ritual for most of us -- the reaping of yet another of Alaska’s god-given resources. This spirit is what unites us as Alaskans. Unfortunately, though, some have used the allocation of this abundant resource as a platform for division.
About a year ago the Alaska Salmon Alliance authored an op-ed on these pages that touted our uniqueness in engaging fellow Alaskans in the Mat-Su and Anchorage in an effort to start a meaningful dialogue with sport, personal use, subsistence and commercial user groups on common research themes, promotion of wild stock enhancement in Mat-Su rivers and streams, and to negotiate long term science-based management solutions for the betterment of all Alaskans.
This leads into a few much needed clarifications about aspects of Kenai River sport and personal use salmon fisheries that we all should know. The ASA recognizes these fisheries are as much a part of the culture of Southcentral Alaska as commercial fishing.
When the drift fleet fishes 12 hours district-wide without any closed areas, most of the drifters fish south of Kalgan Island, where abundance is normally the highest. Fish they catch there take two to four days to reach the Kenai River mouth. The entry pattern of sockeye salmon to the Kenai is highly variable from year to year, and last year they came to the beach on Monday, July 15, not the weekend as they had in 2010, 2011 and 2012. There is nothing ADFG can do to alter the entry pattern for the peak of the run. Last year, by the following weekend, the peak was over.
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