Fewer summer chum and kings in Yukon than predicted

The Yukon River at the ADF&G Pilot Station sonar station. The distance between the two sonar-counting stations on either bank is 3,280 feet wide. (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Fewer summer chum salmon and king salmon swam up the Yukon River than expected this season. High water and debris made it tough to catch and count the salmon swimming by.

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At first, many hoped the king run was late and restrictions would be lifted, but with more than 90 percent of the kings past the lower Yukon, data indicates that only around 165,000 king salmon made it past Pilot Station. That is much less than the low-end projection of 175,000.

The summer chum numbers are also below the pre-season forecast of 2.5 million. The in-season forecast is now around 1.7 million fish.

The data also indicates that the Yukon River king run includes fewer older fish than predicted.

Johanna Eurich is a contributor for the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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