Tag Archives: King salmon

Fisherman’s tagging experiment offers evidence that setnet-caught kings survive

After the disastrous summer of 2012, when poor king salmon returns gave commercial Cook Inlet east side set gillnet fishermen only a handful of fishing days throughout the season, Brent Johnson began brainstorming. A lifelong setnetter in the Clam Gulch area, Johnson knows he is allowed to harvest and sell king salmon under his commercial fishing permits, but he began thinking up ways to winnow out kings from the rest of the salmon. That way, he could release the kings alive and let them head up the river, contributing to escapement goals so the Alaska Department of Fish and Game could leave the setnet open, allowing him to still catch other kinds of salmon. After a few seasons of testing experimental nets and tagging kings he released, he finally has some results to show, indicating that kings may survive being released from setnets. click here to read the story 14:26

The PenAir terminal in King Salmon: where the world meets to fish

The Bristol Bay Borough swells from a year round population of about 1,000 to closer to 10,000 for the summer fishery. Almost all of the fishermen, seafood processors, and thousands of sport fishing and wildlife viewing visitors on the east side of Bristol Bay pass through one very busy small terminal in King Salmon. In the winter this airport only has two flights per day, but during the peak of the summer it serves up to 14 flights daily. The human traffic into Bristol Bay mirrors the sockeye run, but the people aim to be here a few weeks earlier than the fish. Richberg said the PenAir terminal in King Salmon will see 600 to 800 customers pass through in a day. click here to read the story 12:43

State of the kings

For the first time in years, king salmon are showing signs of making a stronger return to the vast wilderness surrounding Alaska’s urban heartland. While Panhandle runs continue to struggle, kings to the north appear to be coming back in reasonable numbers. No records are being broken, but there are enough fish the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has liberalized fishing in two of the state’s most popular roadside king salmon drainages – the Kenai River south of Anchorage and tributaries to the Copper River east of the state’s largest city. A near disaster had been forecast on the latter river, a big, muddy, glacial stream draining 26,500 square miles of Alaska near the Canadian border. A return of only 29,000 fish was expected, and with the spawning goal set at 24,000, the state imposed a host of restrictions on the fishery before it even began. Sport fishing was closed. Subsistence fishermen were restricted to a seasonal limit of only two Chinook, the more common Lower 48 name for kings. And commercial fishermen faced major reductions in fishing time and closures of areas that have in the past produced the biggest king catches. click here to read the story 09:37

So many kings

With the commercial catch of king salmon off the mouth of the Copper River steadily growing, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has gone all in on the idea that a preseason forecast that suggested a return of only 29,000 of the big fish was in error. The agency on Friday announced it will lift a restriction that limited subsistence fishermen on the Copper to two fish, and open sport fisheries along the river it had ordered closed before the season even began. The action comes amid mounting public pressure for the agency to see the annual catch of kings, or Chinook as they called elsewhere, is shared among subsistence, commercial, sport and personal-use fishermen. The subsistence fishermen, who are supposed to have a legal priority on harvest, started the season limited to two fish, and told they would get only one-fifth slice of an allowable harvest of only 5,000 kings. That whole plan has now been ditched. click here to read the story 10:37

Good bad news?

The Copper River commercial salmon fishery ended Tuesday almost 2,000 Chinook over the 5,000-salmon threshold the Alaska Department of Fish and Game set as the acceptable harvest for 2017,  and the fishing season has only begun. Steve Moffitt was at the time reported to be hiking somewhere along the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast of North America some 4,500 miles southeast of the tiny port, community of Cordova on the West Coast not far from the mouth of the Copper. Who the hell is Steve Moffitt? He’s the commercial fisheries biologist who penned a bombshell forecast calling for the return of but 29,000 king salmon, as Alaskans most often call Chinook, to the Copper River this year. He then promptly retired, leaving behind what has now become Alaska’s most watched fishery for a number of reasons: click here to read the story 19:50

King fishery closed

Fisheries managers in Southcentral Alaska might still be wrestling with what to do about a weak return of king salmon to the Copper River, but their counterparts in Southeast Alaska have acted to protect kings returning to the Taku and Stikine Rivers. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced commercial troll fisheries which catch most of the Southeast kings, or Chinook as they are otherwise called will close at midnight Sunday. Preseason forecasts for wild Chinook salmon production in Southeast Alaska are at an all-time low, a press release said.  Typically, in the Taku and Stikine rivers, nearly half the run has entered the river by the end of the third week of May; however, record low numbers of Chinook salmon are being seen in-river this year.  The Taku and Stikine are transboundary rivers, and Fish and Game runs research programs with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assess in-season run strength. Click here to read the story 13:13

PAT NEAL: Whales’ boundless salmon appetite

orca_mealThen there are the many other toxic concerns to keep you awake at night, such as: Are your whales getting enough salmon? A recent article in the Peninsula Daily News (“Diet Decline: Smaller Chinook Mean Lighter Meals For Resident Orcas,” PDN, July 28) detailed the exhaustive research by legions of dedicated researchers who have detailed the declining diet of the orca, or killer whale. Scientists studying the orca fecal matter (yes this is a real job) have revealed that Southern Resident killer whales have evolved to consume a diet of king salmon or chinook in preference to all the other species. The current salmon famine is threatening the most important component of the whale-watching industry: whales. The scientists are quick to parade a list of the usual suspects — overfishing, habitat loss and climate change — while ignoring another common conundrum of concern: the destruction of one endangered species by another. Read the story here 12:37

Bristol Bay reds late again; late run Kenai kings start strong

05salmon-fishing-sunset-in-egegik-fisheryIt’s the second late run in a row for the state’s most valuable salmon fishery, and the late run of king salmon in the state’s most popular river are showing up early in strong numbers. Bristol Bay, the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon producing region, experienced a massive late run of sockeye salmon last year, contributing with other market forces to drop the ex-vessel price of salmon to 50 cents per pound, or about half the historic average. This year, most signs point to a similarly late run. Late doesn’t necessarily mean below forecast. Last year, the historical midpoint of July 4 came and went with only 8.87 million fish harvested, about 35 percent less than the five-year average. All signs pointed to a Bristol Bay harvest of less than 20 million fish. By the end of the season, a late burst of sockeye produced one of the largest runs on record. Read the rest here 16:19

Yukon River king salmon pour over the Canada border

 A surge of Yukon River king salmon crossed the Canada border this week, which fulfilled a treaty obligation to deliver Chinook to their Canadian spawning grounds.  About 44,400 kings had been counted by Thursday at the Eagle sonar project, which is the final count before the fish enter Canada waters. An escapement goal of 42,500 king salmon is called for in the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the U.S. and Canada. Read the rest here 23:12

Southeast trollers get bad news from ADF&G

There will be no second summer king salmon opening for Southeast Alaska trollers.In an update released Friday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that preliminary fish tickets indicate about 150,000 kings were taken by trollers during eight days of fishing at the start of the month. That catch figure means the fleet’s summer quota has been met and there will be no second opening.,, the next opportunity for trollers to take king salmon won’t come until Oct. 11, when the winter troll fishery opens. Read the rest here 09:26

Despite promising numbers, king salmon managers still uncertain about run strength

A strong, early pulse of king salmon on southern and central Kenai Peninsula streams has runs off to a good start. But, managers say it is still too early to tell if the Cook Inlet’s ailing king salmon runs will rally from the last few years of poor returns. Thirteen days after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began counting early run king salmon on the Kenai River, there are hundreds more fish estimated to have passed the sonar by the end of May than the last two years combined. On the Anchor River, there were more kings counted in the river by May 30 than any year since 2007. Read the rest here 09:30

Sacramento River King Salmon hold on, but drought, heat may take toll next year

The California drought and a strange warming trend in the ocean have not yet killed off the Sacramento River’s king salmon, which are swimming off the coast unaware of all the doomsaying. That could all change next year, fisheries experts warn, when the full effect of the four-year dry spell hits the scaly creatures where they live. There are 652,000 fall run chinook salmon that were born in the Sacramento swimming in the sea right now, about 17,000 more fish than there were at this time last year, according to estimates by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the rest here 09:23

Fish and Game hopes research initiative will help to better manage king salmon

KENAI – The state of Alaska is spending millions of dollars to try and solve the mystery of what’s happening to the king salmon population. For the past decade, the fish have been returning to Alaskan rivers and streams in ever dwindling numbers. Video, Read the rest here 15:13

Mendocino Coast fishermen smiling over 2014 salmon returns

Over the past decade the numbers of fall run Sacramento River Chinook salmon predicted to return by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) have been overestimated, sometimes wildly so. Read more here 14:58

Southeast commercial troll fleet gets second crack at king salmon

Southeast Alaska’s commercial troll fishing fleet will have another crack at king salmon in August even with a big haul from the first Chinook opening in July. Even with the big first opening, the fleet will have a short, second opening sometime in mid-August.The season typically shuts down for a few days in early August to allow coho salmon to return to streams on the inside waters. Read more here 10:27

King salmon allocations jump in southeast Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska — King salmon fishermen in southeast Alaska have reason for optimism this year with news that estimates of the fish’s population have more than doubled from 2013 and allocations for sport and commercial harvest will significantly increase. Read more here  18:25

Southeast Alaska King Salmon All Gear Harvest Quota Jumps to 439,400 fish

The allowable harvest of Chinook salmon covered under provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty will be 439,400 fish this year, up from 176,000 fish in 2013 and 266,800 fish in 2012. The quota was announced April 1 by state of Alaska fisheries biologists at Sitka. Read more here  18:25  Also, NIOSH Video Highlights the Use of Personal Flotation Devices in Cold Water Survival in Alaska,  Today’s Catch – Wild on the Columbia, and more.

California Salmon forecasts favorable, despite drought uncertainty

Predictions for a robust king salmon haul buoyed California fishermen assembled Wednesday for a preseason meeting with state and federal regulators, even if forecasts fell short of last year’s projection. Read more here  pressdemocrat.com  09:01

Rosa Meehan: Fisheries board has prime opportunity for smarter management

Salmon, and fishing for salmon, is an iconic aspect of life in much of Alaska — so are conflicts about who is entitled to fish for how much and when (allocation issues). Read [email protected]  12:37

A king without a crown: Chinook vulnerable to ocean forces

Editor’s note: This is the ninth in the Morris Communications series –  “The case for conserving the Kenai king salmon.”Alaska’s long-lived monarch — the king salmon — has fallen from its throne. The species, which once thrived as a fabled ruler in state waters, was sought-after by fisherman from all over the world. Their massive presence in rivers like the Kenai, the Yukon and the Taku, to name only a few, brought sport and commercial fisherman to banks and river mouths for a chance to harvest this mighty resource. Read [email protected]  08:48

Fishermen focus on how ADFG sets, achieves escapement goals

Editor’s note: This is the eighth in the Morris Communications series, “The case for conserving the Kenai king salmon.” Each spring, as the early-run king salmon start returning to the Kenai River, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game begins a four-month effort to manage fishing effort in a way that ensures enough salmon swim past fishermen of all types to meet escapement goals. “’Escapement’ is actually what escapes fisheries and lives to spawn,” said ADFG biologist Tim McKinley, who helped draft the current king salmon escapement goals during the fall and winter of 2012 and 2013. [email protected]  12:15

Alaska promises to do better on Yukon River salmon

CBC_News_logoInternational salmon talks with the Yukon River Panel have wrapped up in Whitehorse. In the last seven years, Alaska has delivered its salmon quotas on the Yukon River, twice. This year, the Alaskans are promising to do better. Andrew Bassich is the U.S. delegate from Eagle, Alaska. [email protected]  20:31

Call the king salmon taken by Cook Inlet setnetters what it is: bycatch

What is bycatch? Here is the generally accepted definition of the term that first began popping up in common usage in the late 1990s: [email protected] 13:38

Widespread decline of kings points to natural forces – Saving the Kings – Salmon species – other than kings – thriving around Alaska

“We’re not sure what is causing the downturn, and in many cases, we do not have the basic information needed to understand the causes,” said ADFG’s Bob Clark, summarizing some of the symposium’s findings. [email protected]  22:18

Saving the kings – During the 2013 fishing season, when both sport and commercial fishing were restricted to ensure that enough king salmon made it up the river to spawn, the importance of healthy king salmon runs should’ve become clear to all concerned. more here 22:25

Salmon species – other than kings – thriving around Alaska This year — which saw a state record of some 270 million salmon harvested — Mathisen said he, “was impressed and proud by the way the salmon return came in. “The volume was incredible. The numbers we’re seeing on the good cycles are good enough to sustain the salmon fishermen.” more here

Kuskokwim Chinook salmon Fail to Reach Spawning Grounds

radio-microphoneKuskokwim Chinook salmon – or Kings as they are known locally – did not make it to the spawning grounds this year as managers had expected. Counting projects are showing the lowest escapements in history for nearly all of the river’s tributaries. Managers and residents are trying to make a plan for next year. [email protected]  07:57

Kenai kings barely meet goal; record set for salmon catch

23523_354387901211_7651997_aThe seem to have met their escapement goal after all, but it was still the lowest return on record. [email protected] of commerce  13:25

The 2013 King Salmon Run To the Nushagak River is a Success Story

radio-microphoneIt’s been another year of low king salmon numbers to many of the major river systems in Alaska. However, one of the biggest king runs in the state is doing quite well. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the story. [email protected]

For Alaska’s prized king salmon, the good-old days morph into not-so-hot present

CHITINA — A cheer went up along the Copper River Monday as a dipnetter struggling in the churning, brown waist-deep water finally dragged ashore what is becoming an increasingly precious catch — a blush-colored king salmon of more than 30 pounds. It was one of two kings seen caught by a couple dozen fishermen hard at work, swinging or drifting long-handled nets in the murky glacial water on a dusty day beneath a 90-degree sun. It would also be among the last kings landed in the fishery this year. [email protected]

With king salmon returns slowing to a trickle, Alaska managers roll out closures

Abysmal king salmon returns to the Kenai River already have fisheries managers curtailing fishing in one of Alaska’s most popular fisheries — and wondering what’s next. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game ordered closures on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers for personal-use and sport fishermen Tuesday. “When you look at numbers going to the Kenai, it’s alarming,” area commercial fisheries biologist Pat Shields said Tuesday. “It’s forced our hands. ”[email protected]


Closure fresh in memory, setnetters innovate for season

 KENAI — Gary Hollier has a king salmon problem.The commercial setnetter has had it for a few years and he’s far from the  only one. Most of the east side setnet fishery in the Cook Inlet was largely shut out  of their fishing season last year after seeing their fishing time drastically  reduced in 2011 in the name of king salmon conservation.With last season’s federally-declared economic disaster hanging over his  head, and the threat of being largely shut out of another season in 2013  looming, the 42-year veteran of commercial setnetting decided to make some  drastic changes of his own. continued