Some popular lakes enjoyed by sport fishermen will no longer be stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game because the village corporation that owns them restrict public access. KMXT’s Jacob Resneck reports.
–(lesnoi pkg 3:45 "Beginning in 1953 … silver salmon. I’m Jacob Resneck."
Beginning in 1953, several freshwater lakes on Kodiak Island have been stocked with Rainbow Trout for sportfishing. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game currently stocks trout and salmon in more than a dozen lakes.
But since last year when Leisnoi, Incorporated took title to lands that had been federally managed, Fish and Game has decided it cannot stock five lakes where the corporation restricts public access.
Donn Tracy is a Fish and Game sportfisheries biologist in Kodiak.
He says this is the last year that Fish and Game will stock two lakes on Long Island as well as Chiniak Lake and two others.
The move by Fish and Game did not come about because of any opposition by the Lesnoi corporation.
That’s Frank Bishop, a private contractor that acts as Leisnoi’s liaison with Fish and Game and other agencies. He says Leisnoi is working with the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council to negotiate the sale of public easements to the state that would restore public fishing rights.
Jennifer Schorr, the trustee council’s deputy director, told KMXT that the council’s first priority is getting easements for access to the American and Olds rivers. Those are currently being appraised and will go before the trustee council next year.
But in the meantime, anyone who wants to fish on the five lakes owned by Leisnoi are required to purchase a permit for as little as $5 a day. Bishop says that’s to protect the corporation from legal liability.
At Fish and Game, managers are looking at other lakes accessible from the island’s road system which the department can stock now that these five lakes will no longer be eligible.
But absent funding to purchase public fishing rights from Leisnoi, fives lakes including popular Chiniak Lake will cease to be stocked with Rainbow Trout and landlocked silver salmon.
I’m Jacob Resneck