First Surge of King Salmon Enter Yukon River

The first major surge of king salmon is believed to be entering the Yukon River. The Chinook run is expected to be weak, and fishery managers have eliminated one of two weekly-subsistence fishing periods at the river’s mouth to try to get more early-run fish upstream. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Steve Hayes told participants in a weekly Yukon River Fisheries Drainage Association teleconference, that salmon passage began picking up near the river’s mouth early Tuesday.

Yukon River commercial and sport king fishing are on hold until the number of fish returning can be gauged.  Fishery managers have struggled in recent years to get enough kings to upriver spawning grounds as required by treaty with Canada. The first pulse of Yukon kings is comprised largely of Canadian stock fish.  The pulse of kings typically arrives at the mouth of the Yukon between June 12 and 15 and lasts 4 to 5 days.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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