Hello Copper River salmon lovers, Bill Webber, your personal fisherman here to provide you my view of the season we have going on so far. With three fishing periods now behind us, this creates three data points in a trend that is revealing an unprecedented not so great start to the 2018 season. In my now 51 years as a Copper River fisherman, I have seen the many ups and downs in over 10 sockeye salmon life cycles (one sockeye life cycle is five years). Needless to say, this year feels unprecedented in the sense that escapement objectives have been either met or typically exceeded in the recent 20 years. There are many factors that can contribute to a successful return or a not so great return. I won't get into all of these because there are so many and some are hard to quantify.
At this juncture, it kind of feels like environmental conditions may be contributing to this slow start; next weeks hopeful Monday fishing period will further reveal a developing trend in establishing the run strength.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s most recent announcement today is that there will not be another fishing period this week. This is their justification, "Miles Lake sonar is currently operational on both banks. Cumulative sonar count through 5/29 is 23,732 fish whereas a minimum of 67,708 fish are projected by this date. The 0600 count for 5/30 is 1,470 fish. Preliminary harvest estimate from the 12-hour period that occurred on Monday, May 28 was 3,000 Chinook and 20,000 sockeye salmon. This compares to a projected harvest of 97,600 sockeye salmon for this period."
For the many customer orders we have not been able to fill, just know we are doing our best to seek out the fish; with hopeful better run entry into our region we will accomplish order fulfillment. We definitely want to place our high-end product into your kitchens or display case in order to share these magnificent fish for awaiting appetites.