Upper Cook Inlet sockeye harvest forecasted to beat 2014 numbers

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Monday, December 8, 2014 11:04pm
  • News

If everything goes as forecast, Upper Cook Cook Inlet fishermen should see a total run of 5.8 million sockeye during the 2015 fishing season.

Of those, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that about 2.1 million will make it past boats, beach nets, dipnets and individual lines in the water to their natal streams — leaving a harvest of about 3.7 million fish.

Fish and Game staff on Monday released the 2015 Upper Cook Inlet Sockeye Salmon Forecast; the document outlines harvest predictions in several major systems in the Cook Inlet including the Kenai and Kasilof rivers, the Susitna River, the Crescent River and Fish Creek.

On the Kenai River, biologists are calling for a total run of about 3.6 million fish which is about 200,000 fewer than the 20-year average, according to the forecast. The run should be primarily composed of four- and five-year-old sockeye, according to the report.

On the Kasilof River, more nearly 1.1 million sockeye are forecasted to return which is about a 12 percent increase from the 20-year average. Biologists estimate that the run should be primarily three- and four-year-old fish.

In the northern part of the inlet, Susitna River and Fish Creek sockeye salmon runs are each expected see far fewer fish than 20-year averages for the two systems with 276,000 predicted to return to the Susitna and 61,000 to Fish Creek.

Biologists also estimated commercial harvests of the other four species of salmon returning to the Cook Inlet. Chum salmon at 176,000 and coho salmon at 161,000 are predicted to be caught in the largest volume while 98,000 pink salmon are predicted to be caught. The fleet is expected to catch about 6,700 king salmon in 2015, according to the report.

Reach Rashah McChensey at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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