Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:02 AM AKST


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Board of Game Seeks Public Members to Serve on Sheep Management Working Group

Fish and GameThe Alaska Board of Game’s Committee on Dall sheep management is soliciting names of individuals interested in serving as public members on a working group consisting of a diverse set of interests. The working group is expected to hold two or three weekend-long meetings this winter to explore issues and provide recommendations concerning Dall sheep management in Alaska. The working group will also include member representatives from the Board of Game, Advisory Committees, private landowners, and public interest groups.

The working group membership is intended to represent various uses of Dall sheep in Alaska. The expectations and criteria for working group membership include familiarity in Dall sheep hunting related topics, ability to explore new ideas and concepts, a willingness to work towards finding solutions within this process, and a commitment to participate in the weekend meetings, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for December 5 and 6 in Anchorage.

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2015 Preliminary Commercial Salmon Harvest and Exvessel Values

Fish and Game(Juneau) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has compiled preliminary figures for the 2015 commercial salmon harvest and harvest value. The total 2015 statewide commercial salmon harvest was 263.5 million fish, and was comprised of 474,000 Chinook salmon, 15.2 million chum salmon, 3.6 million coho salmon, 190.5 million pink salmon, and 54 million sockeye salmon. Overall, this represents the second largest salmon harvest on record, and was exceeded only by the record harvests of 2013. Pink and sockeye salmon returns were especially strong; the number of harvested pink salmon came close to the 2013 record year, and sockeye salmon harvests are among the top 10 of all time.

“Alaska’s salmon fisheries represent an important economic engine for coastal communities and we are pleased how our salmon managers adapted to unusual run timing in 2015 allowing for sustainable harvest of large returns to many regions of the state,” said Acting Director Forrest Bowers, ADF&G Commercial Fisheries Division. “We are encouraged to see strong landings and escapement from the Arctic to Prince William Sound and are pleased that a number of depressed Chinook salmon stocks showed improved returns in 2015.”

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Big Beaver Lake Bathymetric Map and Fishing Information

Fish and Game

General Information

Mean Depth: 3.0 m (9.9 ft.)
Maximum Depth: 5.5 m (18.0 ft.)
Shoreline Length: 3.9 km (2.4 mi.)
Management Area: Mat-Su

USGS Map: Anchorage C-8
Surface Area: 65.2 ha (161.0 acres)
Volume: 1,962,470 m3 (69,303,975 ft3)
Elevation: 58 m (190 ft.)

Fishing Information

Species Present: rainbow trout

First stocked in: 2000 with rainbow trout

Most recently stocked in: 2015 with rainbow trout

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Mat-Su Area School Egg-Take takes place at Spring Creek September 29th and 30th

Fish and GameThe Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Matanuska-Susitna School District will be starting this year’s school classroom salmon egg incubation projects with a series of coho (silver) salmon egg-takes at Spring Creek, a tributary of Wasilla Creek.

Mat-Su area school egg-takes will take place from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 29, and 10:00 AM to Noon on Wednesday, September 30. Classes will arrive throughout these two days to participate and learn about the salmon spawning and fertilization process. Over 600 students from nine schools will attend this year’s egg-takes. The children will then take up to 300 eggs back to their classroom to watch the eggs develop and hatch. The purpose of the incubation program is to teach the students about the life cycle, biology, habitat requirements, and anatomy of these important fish. The fry from these incubation projects will be released in the spring at Matanuska Lake.

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National Hunting & Fishing Day

Fish and GameCreate lasting memories by taking your family hunting or fishing in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 26, 2015. Hunting and fishing is important for millions of Americans—including thousands of Alaskans—and brings them outdoors and in touch with nature. The more than 38 million people across the country that enjoy hunting and fishing also contribute to wildlife conservation and management through the purchase of licenses and gear. National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates the programs that ensure that hunting and fishing continue for future generations.

Governor Walker has issued a proclamation setting aside September 26, 2015 as National Hunting & Fishing Day in Alaska, in celebration of Alaska’s sportsmen and women. This year also marks the 78th Anniversary of the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program, the most successful effort to conserve fish and wildlife in America. In 1937, hunters lobbied Congress to pass a law taxing firearms and ammunition in order to provide money for wildlife management, research, habitat protection and public education. The Wildlife Restoration Act or Pittman-Robertson Act was passed by Congress that same year. The Sport Fish Restoration Program (Dingell-Johnson Act) was created to restore and better manage America's declining fishery resources and was modeled after the successful Wildlife Restoration Program. These federal funds combine with proceeds from the sale of state hunting and fishing licenses and tags contribute millions annually to manage and research Alaska’s wildlife and fisheries. Check out the activities, programs and resources available to you. Remember Alaska…life’s better outdoors!

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Self-Reporting Hunting Offenses is the Ethical Thing to Do

Fish and Game Hunting season is here again and every hunter has the responsibility to make sure that the game they take is legal. Some common examples of illegally taken game include taking a sub-legal moose or sheep or taking an animal in a closed area. Sometimes mistakes happen and the animal harvested is not legal. When this occurs, the hunter may be subject to criminal penalties. So, what should a hunter do if this happens?

Not only is reporting yourself to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers the ethical thing to do, you will be treated differently than if your actions were discovered through investigations by authorities. You will likely receive a citation for taking the animal illegally; however you will receive a substantially lower fine and other potential leniency compared to not self-reporting. In most situations, Alaska Wildlife Troopers will recommend that fines be consistent with self-reporting cases in other areas of the state and the illegal take be resolved as a violation instead of a criminal offense.

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Jim Creek drainage is closed to sport fishing for salmon

Fish and GameBeginning at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, September 2, the Jim Creek drainage is closed to sport fishing for salmon; salmon may not be retained or possessed and any salmon caught while fishing for resident species must be released immediately

The coho salmon fishery at Jim Creek has become one of the largest fisheries in Knik Arm. Jim Creek experienced below average run strength in 2010-2012, and 2014 and failed to attain the sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 450 – 700 fish as indexed by an annual foot survey of McRoberts Creek, a tributary within the Jim Creek drainage. The 2015 run of coho salmon to Jim Creek appears to be tracking below years the weir was operated (1993, 1994) and the goal was achieved. While angler reports of fishing success have improved recently on other Knik Arm streams, fishing success has been sporadic and below average for this time of the season at Jim Creek. Staff surveys conducted late last week indicated fewer fish than needed for achieving the escapement goal. Given the weak showing of coho salmon in Jim Creek, it is warranted to restrict recreational fishing activity at this time. Fish, Cottonwood, and Wasilla creeks are excluded from this restriction because the coho salmon escapement goal has been achieved at Fish Creek and run strength at Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks typically mirrors that of Fish Creek.
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Upcoming Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Feature Federal Stamp Changes, New Regulations

Fish and Game Waterfowl hunting seasons open September 1 over much of Alaska, and as duck and goose hunters prepare to step into the marshes there are a few things they need to know – including some important regulations changes.

Who Needs a Federal or State Duck Stamps?

Alaska waterfowl hunters will be affected this season by recent amendments to the federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act. The amendments raise the price of federal waterfowl stamps from $15 to $25 and redefine which hunters must have a federal stamp to hunt waterfowl in Alaska.

Under the amendments, the following Alaska residents are not required to purchase federal waterfowl stamps:

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Retention of sockeye salmon on Larson Creek is allowed

Fish and GameRetention of sockeye salmon on Larson Creek and within one-quarter mile of its confluence with the Talkeetna River is allowed beginning 3:00 p.m., Thursday, August 13, through the remainder of the season.

The sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for sockeye salmon in Larson Creek is 15,000-50,000 fish. As of Thursday morning, August 13, 15,059 sockeye salmon have passed the weir. Therefore it is justified to lift the restriction and restore the fishery to limits described in regulation. The anticipated harvest from this action is not expected to reduce the spawning escapement below the SEG as all harvest takes place downstream of the weir.
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Beginning 6:00 a.m., August 8, the bag and possession limit for coho (silver) salmon 16 inches or greater in length is increased

Fish and GameBeginning 6:00 a.m., August 8, the bag and possession limit for coho (silver) salmon 16 inches or greater in length is increased to three fish in those waters of Fish Creek, Cottonwood Creek, and Wasilla Creek open to salmon fishing. Mondays are added to the weekend-only fisheries of Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks, allowing fishing to occur on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, and Fish Creek is liberalized to open 7 days per week.

Anglers are reminded that sport fishing is only allowed in these waters from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and that the coho salmon limit is combined with the bag and possession limit of sockeye, chum, and pink salmon.

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Little Susitna River Coho Salmon limit increased effective Thursday August 6

Fish and GameBeginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, August 6, the bag and possession limit for coho (silver) salmon 16 inches or greater in length is increased from two to three fish in the waters of the Little Susitna River from its mouth upstream to the Parks Highways bridge. The coho salmon bag limit is in combination with current limits for pink, chum and sockeye salmon; three fish per day and in possession.

By regulation, anglers are allowed to use bait and multiple hooks in this section from August 6 through September 30.

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An error in the Sport Fish regulation summary booklet incorrectly states that Fish Creek opens on August 9

Fish and GameAn error in the Southcentral Sport Fish regulation summary booklet incorrectly states that angling on Fish Creek opens on August 9.

Fish Creek, from ADF&G markers at the mouth upstream to ADF&G markers ¼ mile upstream of Knik-Goose Bay Road, will open to angling at 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 8. Fishing in this section is only allowed on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through December 31.

The bag and possession limit for salmon (other than king salmon) 16 inches or greater is 3 fish, of which only 2 per day and 2 in possession may be coho salmon.

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Retention of sockeye salmon in the Larson Creek drainage Talkeetna River is prohibited

Fish and GameBeginning at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 5, the retention of sockeye salmon in the Larson Creek drainage and within a one-quarter mile radius of its confluence with the Talkeetna River is prohibited. Sockeye salmon may not be retained or possessed and must be released immediately if caught while fishing for other species. Sport fishing and harvest of other salmon is not affected by this emergency order.

The sustainable escapement goal for sockeye salmon in Larson Creek is 15,000—50,000 fish. The weir count through August 2 was 5,020 fish. Based on historical run timing, approximately 60 percent of the run has historically passed upstream of the weir. Even using a projected run timing of 5 days late, the projected escapement is less than what is required to achieve the escapement goal. Therefore, prohibiting harvest of sockeye salmon in the Larson Creek drainage is warranted.
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Draft 2015 Revision of Alaska’s Wildlife Action Plan Available for Review

Fish and Game2015 Plan Draft for Public and Agency Review The draft 2015 revision of Alaska’s Wildlife Action Plan is now available for public and agency review: Draft Alaska Wildlife Action Plan 2015 (PDF 8,040 kB)

The purpose of this plan is to identify species of greatest conservation need in Alaska, describe their distribution and habitat use, identify key threats to these species, and finally, identify conservation actions that might be used to ensure healthy populations into the future. This revised action plan will guide conservation work by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game over the next 10 years, and hopefully, inform the conservation work of other agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.

We would like your feedback on the plan. Have we identified the right species, the right threats, and the right conservation actions? Do the priorities identified reflect your thinking, or would you like to see changes? Is the plan clearly written and organized?

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Fish Creek Youth-Only Fishery will open on Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2

Fish and GameThe Fish Creek Youth-Only Fishery will open on Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. The Youth-Only fishery allows anglers age 15 and younger to fish for all species, except king salmon, in waters between ADF&G markers at the mouth of Fish Creek and markers ¼-mile upstream of Knik-Goose Bay Road.

All other sport fishing regulations remain in effect for Fish Creek. The daily bag and possession limit is three salmon; only two per day may be coho (silver) salmon. The weekend-only fishery for anglers of all ages will commence on August 9.

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