Opinion: Here’s why I’m not fishing the derby this year

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2019 7:00am
  • Opinion

King salmon are in dire straights in Southeast Alaska and most of Alaska. King salmon fishing in and around Juneau has been closed for the last two springs to protect the few wild king salmon that still survive. It was opened in June in a restricted area with the hope that only hatchery fish would be caught. And effective Aug. 1, the Department of Fish and Game prohibited the retention of king salmon by nonresidents. This isn’t to penalize nonresidents; it is because some wild fish will inevitably be caught, and there just aren’t too many of those around anymore.

The collapse of the king salmon fishery is not news to Juneau anglers. Many people tell stories like mine: I caught 17 kings in May 1992, my first year fishing in Juneau. I had no clue what I was doing but there were so many fish that even the clueless could catch fish. And big ones too. Two of those first May fish were over 30 pounds and the next year I caught my best ever — a fish that weighed 47 pounds, gutted and gilled. Fishing was like that for several years.

It’s not like that any more. People who catch 17 kings in the entire season are few and far between and a 30 pound fish is now a true trophy, not just a “nice one.”

So I was surprised and disappointed to read that the Territorial Sportsmen are allowing king salmon in this year’s Golden North Salmon Derby. Hundreds of people fish the Derby and thousands of fish are caught and donated to the scholarship fund. That’s good. What isn’t good that many of those fish will be king salmon and some of those kings will be wild fish. If the Territorial Sportsmen were true conservationists, they would not accept king salmon in the derby. I realize that even anglers targeting cohos will catch some kings — but they’ll catch more kings if they are targeting them. Too many in my opinion.

We need to do all we can do to protect the few remaining king salmon so that our children and grandchildren will have kings to catch. For me this means two things: I will not fish the Derby and I will not service salmon reels in my reel repair shop, Taku Reel Repair, until the derby ends.

Bill Brown,

Owner of Taku Reel Repair,

Juneau


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


More in Opinion

Opinion: A balanced approach is needed for oil tax rates

For the good of Alaska and the future of the state, please vote no on Proposition 1.

People gather for a candlelight vigil for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg near Dimond Courthouse on Saturday, Sept. 19. People shared remarks about some of Ginsburg’s most famous decisions during the event. Some expressed hopes her seat would not be filled until after Election Day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: Loyalty to Alaska citizens not to the Republican Party, please

This is not a rush decision to be made in a month before election.

Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

Opinion: Panic and lying are the new ‘gold standard’

The pandemic has caused more U.S. deaths in a year than in all U.S. conflicts since the Civil War.

Opinion: Alaska and America’s very survival are at stake this election year

There’s only one choice for this Marine and others who treasure our democracy.

Opinion: Election transparency is right for Alaska

A message from some North Dakota grandmas.

Opinion: Let’s honor RBG and shine up our precious democracy

We the people can help by voting Yes on 2 on Nov. 3, or as soon as our mail-in ballots arrive

Opinion: Ballot Measure 1 — The Very Fair Share Act

I am betting the oil industry can afford to pay a greater share.

This Sept. 6, 2020, photo shows mist from Nugget Falls refracting light to create a prism-like effect. “Like many children I watched this summer, mine enjoyed climbing the glacially smoothed rock slopes up to the visitor center or down to the water at Photo Point. And hiking to Nugget Falls,” writes columnist Rich Moniak. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: The river of nostalgia

“Nostalgia ripens with age. It takes years to build a thick catalogue of cherished memories.”

Most Read