Weak Runs Shut Down Copper River Sockeye Fishery

Fish & Game Has Closed All Waters For Sport Fishing Of Red Salmon with Emergency Order  Last Year Fisherman Were Still Sport Fishing...

Fish & Game Has Closed All Waters For Sport Fishing Of Red Salmon with Emergency Order 

Last Year Fisherman Were Still Sport Fishing Reds Late In August. (Photo, Country Journal)

The Copper River Has Weak Returns Of Both Wild And Hatchery-Spawned Red Salmon. 

Mark Somerville of Glennallen Fish & Game told the Copper River Country Journal that biologists couldn't identify any particular conditions that caused the weak runs. He said that a decade ago runs were way easier to predict, but there has been increasing variation in returns from one year to another.

Normally, Fish & Game would expect a million red salmon to be detected by the sonar counter. This year there were only 500,000. The low numbers at the sonar counter caused commercial fishing to close after only three openers and later in the season there were a couple of 12-hour openers. Copper River commercial fishermen only caught 98,000 – when the normal catch would be around a million, he said.

Personal use dipnetting has also been closed for the remainder of August. Dipnetting will reopen on September 1st. Mark Somerville said that by then most of the sockeye salmon will have gone upriver and the early fall fishery will allow dip netters to catch some silver salmon.

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