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ADF&G predicts rise in area sockeye run

Posted: December 27, 2012 - 9:42pm  |  Updated: December 28, 2012 - 9:14am

Fishermen could catch a few extra sockeye salmon in Upper Cook Inlet waterways during 2013.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced its sockeye salmon forecast today, projecting a total run of 6.7 million fish, and a harvest of 4.9 million for all users.

That’s up slightly compared to a 2012 harvest of 4.4 million, and about 1 million more than the 20-year average harvest of 3.8 million fish.

Sockeye on Upper Cook Inlet river systems are caught in sport, personal use, subsistence and commercial fisheries.

The Kenai River forecast is down slightly compared to 2012. The prediction is for 4.4 million sockeye in the Kenai, compared to a run of 4.7 million in 2012.

Fish and Game Biologist Pat Shields said the forecast ties to a management plan, which Fish and Game will use in the summer to oversee the fisheries.

“This puts us in the middle tier for management next year,” Shields said.

Under the middle tier management, Shields said east side setnetters will have two closed windows on Tuesdays and Fridays after July 8, with some flexibility regarding the timing of the closures. It also means that there will be twelve hour openings on Mondays and Thursdays, with an additional 51 hours of fishing time allowed each week. And it sets an escapement goal of 1 to 1.2 million sockeye passing the Kenai River sonar.

Although the Kenai sees the biggest share of the Upper Cook Inlet sockeye run, several other river systems will see fish return as well.

The sockeye run on the Kasilof River is expected to come in just under a million fish at 903,000. That’s about 200,000 more than last year.

The Susitna River could see a decline, with a forecast of 363,000 fish compared to 443,000 in 2012.

The Crescent River, on the west side of Cook Inlet, could see an increase, with 110,000 sockeye predicted to swim upstream compared to 89,000 last year.

The Fish Creek forecast is 61,000 fish, down from 84,000 in 2012. Fish Creek drains from Big Lake into the Cook Inlet at the Knik Arm.

About 872,000 fish are expected to return to unmonitored systems.

The Kenai, Kasilof and Crescent River predictions are all above escapement goals listed in the department’s forecast, while the Fish Creek estimate is within the escapement goal range. An escapement goal isn’t available for the Susitna River, because that river is gauged based on three different lake escapements: Larson Lake, Chelatna Lake and Judd Lake.

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sparky 12/31/12 - 10:46 am

Sounds like a great year of fishing on the Kenai River,just like last season.Keep the set nets off of the beach & put them out with the drifters,then all will have a good year & ADF&G will still have their tool to control the escapement numbers.

kenai123 07/29/13 - 08:06 pm
Planting a zillion sockeye's is upsetting natural stock ratios.

Really great, projecting a total run of 6.7 million fish, and a harvest of 4.9 million for all users. I wonder how many sockeye nature would normally have run in Upper Cook Inlet without the help of the ADF&G?

"Fishermen could catch a few extra sockeye salmon in Upper Cook Inlet waterways during 2013."

Has anyone sat down and tried to consider what "extra" feed those "extra" sockeye are suppose to be consuming? Na, its meaningless, they just eat "nothing" and harm nothing? I have news for you, those extra sockeye's are feeding on the same thing our kings used to feed on. Both sockeye's and jack kings feed largely on crab larvae, only the sockeye's eat them when they are a quarter inch long and jack kings eat them after they are about a half inch long. All these extra sockeye are consuming most of our crab larvae before it can reach the half inch stage.

If a king does manage to survive the above ADF&G starvation package, they can then attempt to dodge the trawlers as they will kill and dump 4 kings for each ton of pollock.

All the extra ADF&G sockeye's will also causes lots of extra commercial gill netting time. So if a jack king does not somehow ADF&G starve to death, it will either be trawler by-catch or gill net by-catch eventually. Gee I wonder why we aren't seeing very many kings...

It's a triple barrel shotgun effect, if a king isn't killed by ADF&G sockeye over stocking, it gets trawler killed and dumped, if it somehow manages to dodge both of those killers the glut of sockeyes force extra heavy gill netting which kills off any escaping kings.

The ADF&G needs to be forced to stop selective stock enhancements. If they want to enhance they should be forced to enhance at the natural stock ratios thus not upsetting our natural stock ratios. The ADF&G is a large part of the problem with our kings. They need to stop selective enhancements. Dumping a zillion sockeye's into the ocean is upsetting our natural stock ratios and must be stopped.

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