The Yukon River draws into its mouth the largest migration of chinook, chum, and coho salmon stocks in the world. For the chinook, or kings, the river offers passage from the Bering Sea to spawning streams across Alaska and Yukon Territory all the way to British Columbia. The iconic fish run is one of the longest freshwater fish migrations on earth.
Webster, a commercial Bristol Bay setnetter from King Salmon, was the target of an intense lobbying effort by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association that swayed several members of Parnell’s party into voting against him with a few declaring their decisions to be a protest against fisheries management in Cook Inlet that they assert favors commercial over recreational interests.
Each spring, as the early-run king salmon start returning to the Kenai River, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game begins a four-month effort to manage fishing in a way that ensures enough salmon swim past fishermen of all types to meet escapement goals.
The species, which once thrived as a fabled ruler in state waters, was sought-after by fisherman from all over the world. Their massive presence in rivers like the Kenai, the Yukon and the Taku, to name only a few, brought sport and commercial fisherman to banks and river mouths for a chance to harvest this mighty resource.