The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tim McDonald
For The LOG 

Fish Talk


Editor’s Note: This week lifelong Sewardite Tim McDonald launches a column in The LOG about fishing and like on the Eastern Kenai Peninsula. McDonald grew up on the bay working the family tug boats. He continued in the marine trades becoming a licensed mariner, commercial fisherman, commercial diver and licenced engineer. Currently he is a Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association board member and owner/manager of Mt. Alice Harbor in Seward.

Fellow fisher people and outdoor enthusiasts...

First a bizzare wildlife incident on the Seward Highway just north of Nash Road on June 19. A large cow moose burst onto the bike trail with a medium size grizzly in hot pursuit. Moose does an abrupt right turn into traffic barely missing a vehicle goes down on his side from the turn, jumps up and makes it into the grass on the other side. Bear still in pursuit. Next we saw of the cow she was charging up the middle of the north channel of Resurrection River, having lost the bear across the brushy area. Mother Nature in action.

Reds continue to pour into Resurrection Bay headed for the estuary and Salmon Creek. Their are several intercept points to catch the tasty salmon including Mt. Alice harbor at Mile 2 Nash Road. This is considered the third run of four normally between may when they first arrive and July when the run peters out. Heavy seal and sea lion predation on the large first run schools. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association does yearly releases of fry and smolt (approximately 1 and 5 inches) with approximately 1 and 10 percent average survival rate respectively, which contribute to the large runs. With the seals scattering the schools, the seiners harvesting for CIAA and the snag fishermen snagging it’s a competitive bonanza for everyone.

Silver salmon have been harvested for over two weeks now, way early just like the reds, trolling and mooching off Lowell Point to the waterfall and town beach are all productive, not to mention the terrific king salmon fishing we have been having and our liberal two fish per day limit. This puts us in the elite area’s of Alaska that even allow king salmon fishing. These fish for the most part come from hatchery-released smolt and fry courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Halibut Derby Leader still at just over 291 pounds, so there are still some big fish out there.

The commercial halibut fishermen got very little relief recently in the form of a token pollock trawling allowable halibut bycatch reduction. The commercial hook and line halibut fishery has seen their quota catch share drastically reduced over the last three years. Also sport fishing restrictions, one fish limits, size limits, halibut charter boat quotas, etc. Perhaps its time to quit targeting our largest breeding fish (almost all fish over 100 pounds are female) and content ourselves with a viable meat fishery and tourism draw? Without the excess of the derby.

Next week more about salmon and exploring the capes and their reefs.


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