Pebble Mine – Does Anyone Hear the People of Alaska?

  • Bristol Bay is the Spawning Home for FIVE SPECIES of SALMON
  • Pebble Mine Could Destroy the Bristol Bay Fishery
  • Many Groups, based on Science/data, OPPOSE Pebble Mine
  • Review the Details

By Forrest Fisher

The author and his partner share in the Alaskan resource of healthy, uncontaminated, Coho Salmon during the annual September run. The Pebble Mine could jeopardize this fishery. Forrest Fisher Photo

Not far from Anchorage, Alaska, generations of people among multiple nations of the world have relied on the fishery resources of Bristol Bay.  The Pebble Mine project has been a virtual threat for nearly ten years now.  For investors, it looks good on paper, but the potential for problems on the project might also destroy the most unique and most valuable salmon spawning fishery resource in the entire world – with value to healthy human life.  Is that worth the risk of mining?  Would you agree that outflow of residual pollutants and possible uncontained, unplanned leakage of mining fluids and related contaminants into the effluent of this unique fishery worth any risk at all?  Would we want to risk destroying the spawning beds for five species of Alaskan salmon?  Not me.  Not you, I hope.

From the records of Alaska as referenced in http://www.savebristolbay.org/people (please check the link), Alaska ranks ninth among seafood-producing nations in the world. Forty-two percent of the world’s harvest of wild salmon and 80 percent of the production of high-value wild salmon species such as sockeye, king, and coho salmon, come from Alaska waters.

Salmon is the most valuable commercial fish managed by the state of Alaska and Bristol Bay is Alaska’s richest commercial fishery. In Bristol Bay alone, the 2008 harvest of all salmon species was approximately 29 million fish, and the value of the 2008 commercial catch topped $113 million.

Bristol Bay has long been recognized as a vital contributor to Alaska’s commercial fishing economy, so much so that in 1972 the Alaska legislature determined that it was in the best interest of the state to establish the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. This protected Bristol Bay fisheries’ longstanding and valuable commercial, subsistence, and sport fishing from oil and gas development.

However, it does not protect against hard rock mining operations like Pebble Mine.

All five species of Pacific salmon return to Bristol Bay to spawn in its rivers, including pink, chum, sockeye, coho and king. The waters of the region have long been an integral part of the state and local economies, providing thousands of sustainable jobs to Alaskans for generations.

Commercial fishing-related jobs account for nearly 75 percent of local employment. The annual payroll for fish and wildlife-related employment totals $175 million2. Commercial fishing and the associated canneries have been the major industries in the area for many decades. In 2009 residents marked the 125th anniversary of commercial fishing in Bristol Bay.   The commercial fisheries management area of Bristol Bay includes eight major river systems: Naknek, Kvichak, Egegig, Ugashik, Wood, Nushagak, Igushik and Togiak.

The Kvichak River, which runs from Lake Iliamna (the largest freshwater body in Alaska) to Bristol Bay, is home to the single largest salmon run on the planet. The Nushagak River hosts the largest king salmon run in Alaska.

Annual commercial catches between 1984 and 2003 averaged nearly 24 million sockeye salmon; 69,000 chinook; 971,000 chum; 133,000 coho and 593,000 pink.  Bristol Bay’s productive salmon runs are remarkable even by Alaska’s standards, where the next largest commercial sockeye salmon run in 2008 was 4.15 million in the Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands region.

Every year fish return to Bristol Bay in astounding numbers, largely due to the sound, scientific management of state and federal agencies.

For instance, in 2008 the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run produced approximately 42 million fish National Geographic listed Alaska as one of only three well-managed fisheries in the world, the others being Iceland and New Zealand. The forecast for 2016 season is expected to be another banner year, at roughly 46 million.

It seems common sense that we as an educated people of science and logic for the better of all peoples, would need and want to protect this nature resource.  With its astounding beauty and prolific salmon runs, Bristol Bay is a place of international importance.

The future of this fishery would appear to be threatened by the proposed Pebble mine as well as hard rock mining on adjacent state and federal land.

As this seems common to basic understanding, the Bristol Bay watershed must be put off-limits to Pebble and other large-scale mining projects.

The Alaska Trout Unlimited Program works to protect and restore wild salmon and trout populations throughout Alaska.  Through sound scientific data, strong grassroots outreach and advocacy, and hands-on involvement in conservation projects Alaska TU protects some of the most prized rivers on the planet, works to restore those that need some help, and engages the next generation of coldwater stewards in Alaska’s natural heritage.  Alaska TU works with a unique and broad coalition of Alaskan’s to protect Bristol Bay.  To reach Alaska TU at their Alaska Office, write Alaska TU, 3105 Lakeshore Drive, Anchorage, AK 99517, (907) 770-1776.  If you support this effort Alaska TU encourages you to donate at this link: https://gifts.tumembership.org/donate/bristolbay. 

Bristol Bay is a sacred trust that we as “modern man” must all work to protect well into the future.

For more information, visit: http://www.stoppebblemine.org/.  For a No Pebble Mine sticker, visit: http://www.cafepress.com/mf/69574663/nopebblemine-sticker-3x3_sticker?productId=879617887.

FINDING HIDDEN TREASURE in SUMMER

  • They Exist Near Your Home
  • They Beckon for Your Next Cast
  • They Can Hold State Record Fish

By Larry Whiteley

I love to find hidden treasure, but not the gold or silver kind.

Hidden treasure for me is finding jewels of rarely fished small waters.  By small waters, I mean privately owned farm ponds, strip pits, businesses with water retention ponds, and even golf course water hazards.  Places a lot of people don’t even pay attention to or don’t even know they are there.

Many city parks departments and state fisheries departments stock small waters for public fishing, but a lot of these get very little fishing pressure.

There are thousands of these hidden small water treasures across America and are great places to catch fish in uncrowded conditions.  Most are full of bass, crappie, perch, hybrid bluegill and catfish.  All you have to do is search them out.

They are perfect for just walking the bank, launching a small johnboat, canoe, kayak or float tube. If you only have a few hours to fish, they are great! You can pretty well count on certain areas holding fish every time you go.

Unless they are public waters though, they are private and accessible only by permission from the landowner or the person in charge.  You can try calling, but it is much better to get permission in person.  Be courteous and thankful.  You might also offer to share your catch if they allow you to keep fish.

My best tip for catching fish on small waters is to make as little noise or vibration as possible.  In small bodies of water fish can see you.  In fact, vibrations travel farther in small waters, so even if they can’t see you, they can tell someone is near the edge of the water.  If fishing from the bank, walk up quietly and stay out of sight.  It’s a good idea to even wear camouflage clothing.

Look for channels, humps, brush piles, lay down trees, weed beds, moss, cattails, lily pads, logs and tree stumps — anything that offers habitat for feeding fish.

For catfish, go with all the normal stinky catfish baits, as well as worms and I also like using shrimp bait.  If it’s crappie you’re after, jigs and minnows are always good, but I have also caught some really big crappie in small water on crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Perch jerkin’ is always fun and even more so if you go with ultra-light equipment. If the small waters happen to be stocked with hand size hybrid bluegill, you are in for a real fight and a great time.  

For baits, look around for natural baits the fish are already feeding on. Catch some of these natural baits and impale them on a hook or match them as close as possible with artificial baits you have in your tackle box.

The crown jewel in the hidden treasure of small waters is the largemouth bass. America’s most sought after fish can grow very large in small waters, as long as the forage is right.  So don’t let the size of a lake fool you into thinking there are no big bass in it.

Remember, George Perry’s world record bass came from Montgomery Lake in Georgia which is little more than a muddy slough — the silted-in remnants of an oxbow off the Ocmulgee River that continues to flow just a few yards away. Studded with cypress knees and shaded by Spanish moss, it is narrow enough to cast completely across.

Dixon Lake, a small city lake located in Escondido, California, is well known for several potential world record bass.  One was caught and released and another was found dead.

I personally believe that the next world record largemouth bass could very well come from small waters like a pond, small lake or strip pit.  It might just be your state’s record bass, but you would settle for that wouldn’t you?

With spinnerbaits and crankbaits, I can make a lot of casts and cover a lot of water.  Plastic worms are good too, and use frog baits through the moss and lily pads.  If I am fishing at night there’s nothing like the heart-stopping moment when a big bass hits a topwater bait.

After you are done fishing for the day, make sure you leave the property more clean than when you arrived.  Now, go find the person that gave you permission and thank them for a great day, and offer to share your catch if you kept fish.  Ask if you can come again, is it OK to bring a family member or two…and should you contact them each time?

Now, clutch them to your chest and love them like a wealthy uncle because yea verily I say unto you, these places are small treasures worth their weight in gold. Well, clutching them to your chest and loving them may be a little much, but make sure you let the property owners know you appreciate them.

Do everything you can do to insure you can keep coming back.  Lastly, keep your small waters to yourself and don’t tell any of your fishing buddies where you found your hidden treasure.

 

Orleans County Fishing Report – July 5, 2017

  • Fishing for a Cure starts July 15
  • Fishing is Good!

Today is Wednesday July 5, 2017.

The weather over the 4th couldn’t have been any better, but change is coming.  Rain is in the forecast for at least part of this weekend.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the level of Lake Ontario is supposed to drop about 6″ over the next month which will help a lot of our facilities.

A quick look at the LOC leader board shows the big salmon at 27 pounds already and the board is filling up quickly.

Fishing along the coastline of Orleans County has been good to very good over the past week or so producing good mixed bags of fish.

Perch, bass and northern pike are still being caught in the lower stretches of the “Oak”.

On Lake Alice, the one comment I got from one fishermen was “I didn’t know that there were that many jet skis in the world”. Bass fishing in the upper stretches of Lake Alice is producing some very nice fish.

Returning again this year is the Drew’s Crew, “Fishing for a Cure for Juvenile Diabetes.”  The derby will take place on July 15th this year and will follow the best 3 fish format that is so popular.  The entry fee is $50.00 cash with half going to the prize structure and half to Juvenile Diabetes research.  This year you will be able to fish out of either Point Breeze or Bald Eagle Marina but the weigh-in will take place at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina.  You must be entered by 7 AM on the 15th and the weigh-In closes at 3PM so please don’t be late.  Please join us for a fun day of fishing while supporting this great cause.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County.  We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.

Email: sportfishing@orleansny.com