COPPER RIVER SOCKEYE
As taken from the ADF&G News Release #20, The Copper River District will open at 7:00 am on Monday, July 9 for a 12-hour commercial fishing period. The 0600 counts for July 7 is 3,216 fish. For the week ending July 7, the actual Copper River Delta survey count was 42,990 sockeye salmon versus an anticipated range 30,055 – 71,040. Run entry into Delta index systems is low considering the absence of regular commercial fishing effort in the Copper River District. Cumulative sonar count through July 6 is 492,625 fish whereas a minimum of 475,179 fish are projected by this date. Additional fishing opportunity will need to be supported by ongoing assessment of run entry for both upriver and delta stocks.
With this announcement, Lori and I will be changing the net back over to the legal gear for use in the Copper River district and head out on tonight’s tide for the 7:00 am opening tomorrow. With nearly seven weeks of continued closures to allow for the much-needed escapement goal to be met, it is uncertain what the abundance will be like out on the fishing grounds. It is our hope that there will be a strong summer run to work on, so we can hopefully gain back our customers and work towards their order fulfillment. The weather, however, is a little precarious with winds up to 35 mph and nine foot seas, but we will do our best to weather the storm.
It has been an extremely tough season this year leaving the commercial fleet and the local Cordova economy in a very precarious situation in meeting their financial obligations. A strong run of PWS Keta salmon has brought some relief to many fishermen but the rug has literally been pulled out from under the fleet this year. It is my hope that there will be sufficient sockeye out on the delta on this reopening for continued openings to occur. Typically, the sockeye run falls off sharply around the 20th of July and then is a slow trickle into the first week of August, but it is unknown what the current run strength and catch rate will be till the end of the 2018 sockeye run.
I have seen in years past a strong late push of sockeye-entry into the delta add some relief to the fleets bottom line but once again, we shall see. Around the end of the month, all concern about the returning sockeye at the end of the 2018 sockeye run will be moot. The ADF&G will switch over to Coho management and we will again hope for a long over due strong Coho return to further help our fleets requirement to meet their obligations.
Our crewman, Todd, will rejoin us on deck for the Coho season this fall after having let him take a job on a salmon seine boat for the latter part of summer to earn a pay check. With some of the other salmon producing regions around the State also coming up short, hopefully the PWS Pink salmon season will come in strong to further mitigate much of this fleets financial concerns.
As always, you can place orders on our website, message or call Lori or myself to place your order for our Processed at Sea fresh Copper River Sockeye. In order to meet a Tuesday ship date for arrival on Wednesday, orders need to be placed asap. We anticipate, but are unsure of, another Copper River opener on Thursday with arrival on Friday.
Thanks for choosing Bill and Lori to be your personal fisherman.