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The Alaska Department of Fish & Game is looking for comments on its five-year sport fish stocking plan. In Region II, which includes the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound, the department plans to release approximately 3.5 million fish each of the next five years. The fish will come from state run hatcheries and private, non-profit hatcheries that work with the department. Approximately 800,000 fish will be released into Kenai area lakes and streams, Resurrection Bay, and Prince William Sound each year.

The department sees the stocking program as an economic development tool to bring anglers to Alaska communities as well as a conservation tool, both in easily accessible areas along the road system as well as more remote locations.

The department says, “As a conservation tool, it serves to divert fishing pressure away from wild populations that cannot support high levels of harvest desired by anglers.”

Fish stocked as part of the plan include catchable fish, fingerlings, and smolt; and include Arctic char, Arctic grayling, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and rainbow trout.

At First Lake, the only lake fishing available within city limits, the department plans to release 1,000 triploid all-female rainbow trout each year.

The stocking supports the annual “kids-only” weekend in May at First Lake. The report says, “The primary purpose of this program is to provide local Seward children a catchable-sized fish for sport fishing opportunities within Seward city limits.”

The Resurrection Bay area is scheduled to receive 315,000 smolt Chinook salmon, 240,000 smolt coho salmon, and 1,000 catchable rainbow trout each year under the plan.

The plan states Chinook salmon available for sport fishing in Resurrection Bay is limited due to a lack of wild Chinook salmon runs. The program supports both an early and late run. The 2019 release has been reduced due to low adult returns. The goal is to provide 4 – 6,000 early run adult salmon to Resurrection Bay, producing 10,000 angler-days of annual sport fishing opportunity for early-run Chinook salmon.

The goal for coho salmon is to produce a return of 20,000 adult hatchery-produced coho in Resurrection Bay.

The complete plan can be seen on the Fish & Game website and on the Seward Journal www.sewardjournal.com

The deadline to comment on the plan is Jan. 30. Comments can be submitted to Andrew Garry by email to andrew.garry@alaska.gov or by mail to William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, c/o Andrew Garry, 941 North Reeve Boulevard, Anchorage, Alaska, 99501

Publisher

Michael Paschall is publisher of the Seward Journal and president of TriDelta, Incorporated Publishing, owners of the Seward Journal.