Proposal for archery fishing in Cook Inlet draws mixed reaction

Peninsula ClarionDecember 16, 2013 

Dave Lyon's proposal to use archery gear in Cook Inlet saltwater fisheries was one of the less contentious proposals -- in that it drew a broad base of rejection from most of the users who testified before the Board of Fisheries on its first day -- before the committee designated to discuss sportfish and personal use salmon proposals during the Board of Fisheries meeting Tuesday in Anchorage.

But when Lyon got the chance to argue in favor of his proposal during the committee meeting, he managed to sway a few people to change their minds.

The key, he said to board members, was in the wording in his proposal that would permit archery fishing only in areas where saltwater was open to snagging fish by regulation, a practice he said implied that a fish stock was abundant.

"If you can rip a giant hook through a school of fish, catch them, maybe hook them, maybe not, you don't have a problem with how those fish are harvested or if they're damaged during the harvesting," he said during his committee testimony. "This isn't going to be some sort of gold rush to go shoot salmon with a bow; this is simply a recreational opportunity for what isn't going to be much more than a big handful of archers in the state who even have boat fishing tackle.

"It would be fun and worthwhile to try and shoot a pink or a chum or whatever might be there where the water is clear and the fish is legal. The circumstances surrounding a successful attempt at archery fishing are pretty slim."

Snagging is allowed year-round in Cook Inlet salt waters south of Anchor Point, except some areas of Kachemak Bay. It is not permitted in the Inlet north of the latitude of Anchor Point.

Fish and Game staff opposed the proposed regulation, saying it would create a safety concern in areas where anglers are concentrated and could increase harvest of salmon, according to staff comments submitted in advance of the meeting.

Several anglers took issue with the idea that archery was unsafe.

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