What a Year
As Angling Unlimited closes the book on the roller coaster ride of 2020, we want to convey heartfelt gratitude for our regulars and our new anglers who made the trip to Sitka this past summer. You kept us afloat during a challenging time. Deciding to make the trip, or not, presented a tough balancing act between the risks and the benefits. The risk side of the equation was a personal assessment. The benefits in 2020 from a fishing perspective, delivered big time both in the quality of the fishing and the regulations.
As a matter of explanation – the regulations in Alaska, in simple terms, are derived by multiplying the estimated sustainable harvest of a given species by the percentage of harvest granted to the sport fishery. This gives us a quota. Then, based on historical data, the state estimates the number of sport fishing participants expected for the upcoming season and the historical catch rate. This gets applied to the quota and the daily and/or seasonal bag limits are set.
The 2020 regulations were set in the winter, well before COVID-19 impacts were understood. The managers estimated the number of anglers based on “normal” circumstances. As we know, nothing normal followed. A quarantine mandate until June 7 prevented nearly all out of state anglers from making a trip to Alaska. Participation picked up when the quarantine was replaced by a 72-hour testing mandate, but nothing close to the projected number of out of state anglers showed up this year. The target harvest for kings and halibut never changed, but the regulations were liberalized to reach the target with fewer people fishing. Those who made the journey north not only enjoyed great halibut and salmon fishing, they got to keep more than originally expected. Call it a nice way to say thank you. Which we can’t say enough.
Looking Forward – 2021
AU looks forward to a more predictable and closer to “normal” 2021. It appears a lot of our customers feel the same way. Bookings are strong throughout much of the season. We still have terrific dates available in May and early June – prime time for king salmon, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. If you’ve never fished early season with us, you’re in for a treat. Get in touch with Kim for more on open dates.