The summer chum salmon run on the Yukon River has begun, and so far the numbers are coming in higher than historical averages. It is still early in the run, though, and the fish may just be returning early.
The number of king salmon returning this year are at about the same levels as last year, and about average for the river system.
Here are the numbers according to the sonar station at Pilot Station, which began operating on June 2. As of June 9, the number of king salmon that have passed the station is estimated to be 12,236 fish, which is above the historical average of 8,577 fish. The number of summer chum salmon that have passed the sonar is estimated to be 4,752 fish, which is very close to the historical median of 4,699 fish.
Subsistence fishing times are being limited to half of the regulatory fishing schedule as the run progresses upriver in order to limit the harvest of king salmon while managers collect more information about the timing and strength of the run.
The 2019 summer chum salmon run in the Yukon River is expected to be similar in size to the 2018 run. But due to limited buyer capacity, commercial summer chum fishing openings may be delayed in Districts 1 and 2 until approximately June 17. There is no commercial buyer this year in District 4.
The next 18-hour subsistence opening in District 1 of the Yukon River starts at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 14, and ends on Saturday at 8 a.m. on June 15.