Sockeye salmon are pictured in this file photo. (File)

Sockeye salmon are pictured in this file photo. (File)

Fish and Game optimistic about 2019 sockeye run

After a poor sockeye return last summer, Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game is slightly more optimistic about 2019.

Six million sockeye salmon are forecasted to run through the Upper Cook Inlet in 2019, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2019 Upper Cook Inlet Sockeye Salmon forecast.

The forecast, released Friday, estimates a range of 4.8 million to 7.3 million for the total sockeye salmon run. Escapement is forecasted at 2 million while Upper Cook Inlet commercial harvest is estimated at 3 million and other harvest at 1 million.

The Upper Cook Inlet includes the Kenai, Kasilof and Susitna rivers and Fish Creek. To estimate the returns, Fish and Game examined the relationships between adult returns and spawners, adult returns and fall fry, adult returns and emigrating smolt, and sibling adult returns.

The Kenai River is forecasted to see 200,000 more fish than the 20-year average, according to Fish and Game’s release, with a run forecast of approximately 3.8 million sockeye salmon. Fish and Game puts the forecast at a range of 3.1 to 4.5 million. The 20-year average is 3.6 million.

Fish and Game forecasts escapement goals for the Kenai River to be between 1 and 1.3 million fish.

The forecast isn’t a guarantee, though, and last year’s sockeye run proved the unpredictability of the sockeye’s return.

Last year, the estimated total run was 3.1 million, 1.5 million fish below the mid-point forecast of 4.6 million. The estimated run to the Kenai River totaled 1.7 million. The Kasilof River saw about 697,000 fish, the Susitna saw 250,000 and Fish Creek saw 106,000.

The commercial harvest in 2019 is also forecasted 200,000 above the 20-year average. In 2018, the commercial harvest in Upper Cook Inlet of 800,000 was 1.1 million less than the forecasted 1.9 million.

Reach Kat Sorensen at

More in News

Sockeye salmon are gathered together at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnets for commercial setnet fishers given emergency approval by CFEC

Up to three 12-hour periods of commercial dipnetting “may” be allowed each week from June 20 to July 31

Council member Dave Carey speaks during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna explores increases to its water and sewer expansion fees

The fees are a single charge to people who are newly or differently demanding or utilizing the services of the city’s water and sewer system

Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to discuss short-term rental tax on Tuesday

The resolution describes a proposed tax of up to 12%

Photo provided by Special Olympics Alaska Central Peninsula
The Special Olympics Alaska Central Peninsula team stands together for a photo during the Summer State Games in Anchorage.
Area athletes claim 45 medals at Special Olympics Alaska Summer Games

The Central Peninsula team fielded 17 local athletes in the competition

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19 in Juneau.
Ruffridge talks successes, unfinished business after freshman session in Juneau

Ruffridge is up for election this year, facing a challenger in former-Rep. Ron Gillham

Homer, Seldovia to celebrate summer solstice

Events will be held starting June 20

A freshly stocked rainbow trout swims in Johnson Lake during Salmon Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Johnson Lake in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Slow sockeye fishing at Russian River, good rainbow trout at Kenai Lake

A Northern Kenai Fishing Report published by the State Department of Fish… Continue reading

Council member James Baisden speaks in favor of an amendment to the City of Kenai’s budget that would add funds for construction of a veteran’s memorial column in the Kenai Cemetery during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai budget amendment allocates funds for veterans’ columbarium in cemetery expansion

A columbarium is an aboveground structure that houses cremated remains

Council member Alex Douthit speaks in favor of an amendment to the CIty of Kenai’s budget that would reduce funds allocated to the Storefront and Streetscape Improvement Program during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Funding reduced for City of Kenai’s storefront improvement grant program

Just over a year after the City of Kenai established its Storefront… Continue reading

Most Read