Howard Delo

Andy Couch commented in his column this week that the new Susitna River dip net fishery was a bust. He reported that about 15 boats participated, and, to his knowledge, few if any fish were caught. In the Fish and Game weekly fishing report, the comment was made that fishing (catching) should improve as the month continues. I hope so!

Fish and Game was busy releasing “Advisory Announcements” earlier this week. The first regards this new dip net fishery. According to the release, “The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing dipnetting in the vicinity of Anderson Creek of the lower Susitna River effective 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 through 11:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The area closed to dipnetting is identified by ADF&G markers located approximately 50 feet upstream and 300 feet downstream of the mouth of Anderson Creek. In addition, dipnetting is not allowed in Anderson Creek.”

This is being done to protect a small population of Coho salmon originating in Anderson Creek.

If you’re planning a trip to the Kenai Peninsula for some sport fishing, this second announcement could affect you. Quoting, “ In an effort to allow anglers additional harvest opportunity of Kasilof River sockeye salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon to six fish per day and twelve fish in possession; however, no more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be Coho salmon, in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing. These provisions are effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2020.”

If you’re planning to fish for king salmon while visiting the Peninsula, take heed. According to the third announcement, “ In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is restricting the king salmon fishery on the Kasilof River to catch-and release only effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020.”

Continuing, “The retention of king salmon is prohibited while sport fishing on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when fishing for king salmon in these waters. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.”

Pay heed to this fourth and final announcement as well. “ In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is restricting the king salmon fishery on the Kenai River drainage to catch-and-release only effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020.”

Further, “The retention of king salmon is prohibited while sport fishing on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing in these waters. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.”

Let’s switch gears and look at gun sales during 2020. According to a nationally circulated industry magazine, NICS background checks on gun sales nation-wide have set an all-time high of over 10.2 million for the first six months of the year. The previous high of 7.9 million was set in 2013.

There are several other records regarding gun sales that have been set so far in 2020. Why is this happening? People are fearful from restrictions brought on by the pandemic, from the violent and deadly rioting in the Lower 48, from political unrest, and from calls to defund police departments across the nation.

Alaska has not experienced the violent rioting and any meaningful calls to defund police departments. Being an extremely conservative state, political unrest is no greater than usual. Pandemic restrictions have been moderate compared to the rest of the country.

Being a non-stocking FFL dealer, I, personally, have not seen a surge in gun buying by the public. All my recent sales have involved blackpowder, single shot rifles ordered by fellow blackpowder shooters, a few being prior to the recent Alaska Territorial Shoot, where the rifles were used in the blackpowder cartridge rifle matches.

There are a lot of new gun owners out there. I hope they get proper training to stay safe!

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