Oh I have no problem with that train of thought, regarding the sockeye run only. However I can see where any tinkering with the rod & reel limits could make the already complex regulations even more confusing.
During the peak of the dip net opening they generally raise the rod & reel limit to 6 sockeye per day. Because Kenai sockeye are larger than most others I've ever seen, six makes quite a haul. If I need fish I go down there and camp for three days, this allows you to come home with 18 big boys.
Trying to regulate this once the practice has become an annual ritual would be hopeless. I can name several rivers that (if I were King) I would protect hen fish. There would be no killing of hens period. The problem lies in that many people can't tell the difference between a male & a hen. Many people I've ran into on rivers can't identify the different species; Silver vs. Sockeye vs. small King vs. bright Steelhead. One can only guess that summer run steelhead are regularly killed innocently by those who think they are a sockeye salmon.
Pictures always help; below is a male sockeye of about 5.5 to 6 pounds. He took a freight train and ended up dead as seen on the shore here.
This is a bright steelhead.
And this a very bright but small king;
I turst you can see how unless you were handling these species often it could be difficult for the weekend warrior to tell what the heck they just caught.
The hen thing just makes sense to a layman like myself. Lets say there is a river that used to experience a silver salmon return of 35 - 50,000 fish annually. Lets say that that river now receives roughly 10,000 total on average over the past 5 years. Since silvers are a 4 year fish, meaning that from the time a pair spawn and successfully leave a nest filled with fertilized eggs it will be 4 years before the surviving adults from that spawning return to the river. Once you have reached a 5 year average of 10 thousand returning fish it may be pointless to hope to see the glory days of 35 or more thousand. That would consider all things remaining as they are, commercial fishing, natural predication and nest mortality.
So, because I am interested in seeing the numbers stay at least at ten thousand or possibly increasing somewhat it would only make sense to not kill the hens. As you know, when dealing with things out of ones personal sphere of influence what you want and what you get are two entirely different matters.