Howard Delo

This coming Thursday, Dec. 5, from 2 until 4 pm, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet with ADF&G’s Commercial Fisheries Division and Sport Fish Division Cook Inlet managers to discuss and review this past season’s fisheries management in Cook Inlet. The meeting will take place in the Borough’s Assembly chambers in Palmer. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Historically, this meeting has seen state legislators or their aids; regional ADF&G staff with, occasionally, some headquarters folks like Directors or the Commissioner; area ADF&G staff; the MSBFWC members; Borough Assembly members; mayors and other local government officials; and the public in attendance.

This annual meeting has been held for several years now and gives FWC members a chance to ask the department how and why certain management actions were taken during the previous season. The department also usually offers a summary of how the season went and comments on the highs and the lows of managing Cook Inlet salmon fisheries.

Questions from FWC members are given to the department in advance and written responses are made by the department. During the meeting, discussion of the questions and ADF&G’s responses occurs. This year, however, after submitting the list of questions, Fish and Game responded that they will probably not have written responses ready for the meeting because of time constraints in preparing for two Board of Fish meetings this winter: the Lower Cook Inlet and the Upper Cook Inlet meetings.

The complete closure of the king salmon fishery, except for the hatchery supported Eklutna Tailrace fishery in the Northern District, is likely to be a major topic of discussion. Another will be the department’s push to have the Susitna-Yentna sockeye salmon stock removed from the statewide listing of salmon Stocks of Concern. A third issue will be the proposed changes in how the king salmon sport fishery in the Susitna basin will be handled. The possibility of creating a personal use fishery in the Susitna River will also likely be discussed.

These meetings have always been informative and, on occasion, a little contentious. If all the Commission’s questions receive adequate attention and time is still available, the public will be allowed to ask some questions. Normally, though, the meeting doesn’t even cover all the original questions submitted by the commission because of discussion regarding the question’s answers.

If possible, I’d encourage you to attend as much of this meeting as possible. You’ll learn what happened and why in Cook Inlet this past 2019 season. You’ll also probably hear how things look for the upcoming 2020 season.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and marks the “official” beginning of the Christmas shopping season. I like to offer gift ideas for the outdoors person in your life. I’ll probably suggest things as part of the columns between now and the Christmas holiday.

If your nimrod is a shooter, there’s a bunch of stuff available. The obvious big-ticket item is a new firearm, complete with scope, sling, and shooting bipod. For those with less cash, a smaller gift like a box of ammunition is nice. A gift membership at one of the Valley’s shooting ranges in surprisingly inexpensive as well.

If your person enjoys camping, there’s stuff available there too. A leatherman-style tool is handy to have on hand and can save the day in several situations. A good water bottle or a new stainless-steel thermos is useful year around for more things than just camping. A camp chair or a new pad for the cot makes life a little more comfortable.

I recently purchased a device designed to refill one-pound propane cylinders. The prefilled, green propane cylinders you find in the sporting section of the store are not designed to be refilled and, technically, are illegal to refill. That means 3 to 4 dollars every time you use one up. There are legally refillable one-pound cylinders available along with the device used to refill them. This devise attaches to a 20-pound propane cylinder. With the reusable cylinder, it only costs about 40 cents of propane to be good to go again.

If fishing is the outdoor sport of choice, the sky’s the limit. A new rod or reel, fishing line, sinkers and snaps, bobbers, jigs, spoons, and spinner baits are all available. If ice-fishing is the interest, rods, reels, clothing and boots, tip-ups, and a host of other stuff is out there.

Don’t forget, when all else fails, the gift card to their favorite outdoor store works too.

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