Steady King Salmon Stream Will Likely Meet Canadian Passage Objectives

A steady stream of king salmon moving up the Yukon River past Eagle in recent days, means Canadian border passage objectives will likely be met.  As of Wednesday, 44,200 chinook had been counted by a state run sonar near the border at Eagle. State biologist Steve Hayes says the third and final pulse of kings has been encouraging.

That’s significant as Yukon River Canadian king salmon passage objectives were not met four out of the last five years. Yukon king runs have been consistently weak, and managers have relied on fishing restrictions to help get more salmon upriver. Hayes credits this year’s success to additional fishing restrictions, including recent closures in the Eagle area. He says the effectiveness of a reduced net mesh size requirement implemented this year will take longer to determine.

Hayes says fishers have reported catching smaller kings this summer, a sign the mesh size reduction is working. The bigger fish bounce off the smaller mesh, enabling them to continue upriver to spawn.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.