Trial continues for Anchor Point sportfish guide

A change-of-plea hearing will be continued for an Anchor Point sportfish captain charged with 43 guide violations.

Mel Erickson, 55, was scheduled to appear in Homer District Court on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 4, but neither he or his attorney, Joseph Skrha, attended in person or telephonically. Judge Margaret Murphy set a trial call for Erickson at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, when she knew Skrha would be available for other cases.

“I’m not inclined to charge a defendant with contempt of court when his attorney doesn’t show up,” Murphy said in court.

Assistant district attorney Nick Torres did attend telephonically. He said he had earlier discussions with Skrha regarding the terms of the change of plea. The clerk of court attempted to call Skrha at his office during Tuesday’s hearing, but the call went to voice mail.

Erickson faces 43 charges stemming from incidents in May 2015. In charging documents, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Trent Chwialkowski said that Erickson himself or his clients being guided continued to fish within 1 mile of shore near Anchor Point after catching king salmon in the early-run special harvest area, failed to record king salmon, took an annual overlimit of king salmon, took an annual overlimit of halibut, retained halibut as a charter guide, unlawfully discarded halibut carcasses, failed to retain halibut carcasses and failed to complete saltwater logbooks. The charges on the types of violations add up to 43 total. Erickson also was charged with retaining halibut in violation of National Marine Fisheries Services regulations and for chartering clients in violation of NMFS regulations. The charges came about after Chwialkowski said Erickson bragged on Facebook about his clients’ catch while they fished on Ericksons’ boat, the Gamefisher.

Murphy has not yet set a new time and date for Erickson’s change-of-plea hearing, but said it would most likely be held in early November.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at

More in News

Seward face covering mandate goes into effect Wednesday

It remains in effect for 30 days or until the declaration of emergency expires and is not renewed

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
13 COVID deaths announced, 3 on peninsula

DHSS reported 583 new cases in Alaska on Tuesday

Image via Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
District extends remote learning through Dec. 18 for 34 schools

Dec. 18 is the end of the quarter for most district schools

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File
In this Tuesday, Nov. 17 file photo, manager Yllka Murati waits for a delivery driver to pick up takeout orders behind a partition displaying a sign to remind customers to wear a mask, at the Penrose Diner, in south Philadelphia. Despite the expected arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in just a few weeks, it could take several months — probably well into 2021 — before things get back to something close to normal in the U.S. and Americans can once again go to the movies, cheer at an NBA game or give Grandma a hug.
Officials: Keep Thanksgiving small; celebrate virtually

CDC and public health offer guidelines for Thanksgiving celebrations

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)
City Council votes to reinstate plastic bag ban

City manager authorized to negotiate Homer Spit lease with Salmon Sisters

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
503 new cases; borough positivity rate hits 14.65%

Affected peninsula communities include Kenai, Other North, Soldotna and Seward

In this March 18, 2020 file photo, Thomas Waerner, of Norway, celebrates his win in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska. The world’s most famous sled dog race will go forward in 2021 officials are preparing for every potential contingency now for what the coronavirus and the world might look like in March when the Iditarod starts. It’s not the mushers that worry Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach; they’re used to social distancing along the 1,000 mile trail. The headaches start with what to do with hundreds of volunteers needed to run the race, some scattered in villages along the trail between Anchorage and Nome, to protect them and the village populations. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Virus restrictions lead Norwegian champ to drop Iditarod

“I cannot find a way to get the dogs to Alaska.”

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters during a Wendesday, March 25, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
First COVID vaccines could arrive in Alaska next month

Pfizer announced their COVID-19 vaccine candidate earlier this month, with Moderna not long after

Most Read