Taken from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game News Release #7:
To date, the sonar count is the 9th lowest on record (1978-2017). Cumulative commercial harvest this year is the 2nd lowest harvest to-date of the last 50 years. Miles Lake sonar passage has declined since June 4. Cumulative sonar count through June 5 is 95,515 fish whereas a minimum of 175,559 fish are projected by this date. The 0600 count for June 6 is 2,484 fish. Fishermen are advised that the Copper River commercial fishery may open on short notice should indices of sockeye salmon abundance support fishing. A minimum of 17 hours advance notice of a fishery opening is anticipated.
This link will take you to the Department's Miles Lake passage estimates webpage for the Copper River which shows the projected and actual performance of in river passage of salmon.
These passage estimates paint a dismal picture on the strength of the 2018 return. They reveal a trend that may be hard to make up even if enough salmon escapement is realized. Our hope is that there will be enough escapement and we will fish again this month, however, at this point, the escapement is dismal enough that another opener may not be announced until July. Typically, the run curve is falling off sharply by the end of July which will only add to the dismal, less than stellar year on the Copper River. We however, continue to be positive and are prepared for an opener at any given moment.
I will head over to Prince William Sound to participate in the chum and sockeye season that is presently underway. With the Copper River delta closed, the whole fleet will be targeting these returns. Let’s hope these fish show up and everyone does well. This is an astronomical change to our operations as the Copper River delta is my home waters where I purvey my catch for our customer base. Needless to say, this is troubling to curtail our direct to consumer business model in light of this closure of the Copper River delta. We will keep you informed with every notice from ADF&G and will process your order as soon as we possibly can. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding.
On the bright side, we enjoyed a very nice day in Cordova in the mid 50’s with a full day of much needed sun. I spent the afternoon on the docks with my one-year old grand-daughter, Emberlyn, finishing up the net mending. She watched intently what grandpa was doing and I am sure I instilled something in her very young mind. As you can see, she too is disgruntled with this dismal season.
Off to change nets for the Prince William Sound fishery some 90 miles to the west. Not my cup of tea but we gotta do what we gotta do to float the boat with the only game in town.
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