Kachemak Bay Personal Use Gillnet Fishery
This fishery takes place on the beaches of Kachemak Bay near the community of Homer, about 235 highway miles south of Anchorage. This fishery traditionally targeted wild stocks of Kachemak Bay coho salmon. In the early 1980s, however, increasing numbers of hatchery-produced coho contributed to catches in the fishery.
The discontinuation of a major stocking program at Caribou Lake (near the head of Kachemak Bay) raised concerns about harvesting greater numbers of wild stocks in the personal use fishery. In late 1998, the Alaska Board of Fisheries modified 5 AAC 77.549, “Personal Use Coho Salmon Fishery Management Plan,” specifically to address wild stock concerns. The Plan reduced the guideline harvest range (GHR), and directs the Department to close the fishery when an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 coho salmon are harvested.
Prior year fisheries have been short. In 2002, the fishery closed after 72 hours of fishing time, with only 122 permits issued. In 2001, the fishery lasted 96 hours with 154 permits issued. Because of recent efforts by the Division of Sport Fish to begin stocking early-run coho into the Homer Spit Fishing Hole, these additional fish are once again expected to result in the rather rapid achievement of the GHR.
The fishery closes by Emergency Order when the guideline harvest range (GHR) of 1,000 to 2,000 coho salmon has been taken. The fishery could be closed prior to obtaining the GHR if the Department determines that continuation of the fishery could negatively impact wild stocks of coho.
The seasons and periods for this fishery can be found under the “Permits and Regulations” tab, above.
Those who participate in this fishery are asked to call in their daily catches to the Homer ADF&G office at (907) 235-8191 during the open season.
There are no inherent rights establishing a set gillnet fishing site. The placement of signs, running lines, stakes, buoys, or dry nets on the beach in anticipation of tides does not constitute any prior right to a net location.
All fishers are advised to look for signs designating private property. It is the responsibility of each individual participating in the personal use fishery to determine private property boundaries, even if the land is not posted. Please respect the rights of property owners and avoid trespassing on private lands.
General run timing and peak harvest times
The short duration of the fishery means that most coho are caught on the first and second openings.
The Homer Spit traditionally experiences the highest concentration of effort for this personal use fishery. Numerous conflicts between participants have arisen over placement of nets, often resulting of blatant violations of the gear restrictions.
In instances where a violation occurs due to a dispute between participants, ALL parties involved in the violation are subject to citation and potential court appearance. Participants are encouraged to settle disputes privately prior to operating gear.
There are many private and public campgrounds and services in the Homer and Kachemak Bay areas. For information on accommodations & services, contact the Homer Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center at P.O. Box 541, Homer, AK 99603, voice (907) 235-7740, fax (907) 235-8766. www.homeralaska.org
Dune's and Don'ts
Don't drive trucks, cars, or ATVs/4-wheelers across the dunes. Each time a vehicle crosses the dunes, no matter the size or the speed, more damage is caused.
Driving on the dunes causes erosion of the dunes. The dunes hold the mouth of the river in place and prevent saltwater flooding of lowland areas. Traveling on the dunes will break up the grass roots that are holding the dunes in place.
To use a vehicle to access the fisheries, you must drive along the shore above the high tide mark but below the dunes.
Southern District commercial openings may occur on the same weekly periods as the personal use coho set gillnet fishery in parts of the Halibut Cove and Tutka Bay areas.