King salmon run begins

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010

False Outer Point produced a few kings for fishermen last week, but they're really hoping it picks up this weekend when the annual Spring King Salmon Derby starts Saturday.

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Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

Similar to the past few years, sport bag limits and rules have been eased for the early part of the king salmon season.

The projected return for the Taku River king salmon is slightly below the 10-year average but is still above the state's escapement goal, Area Biologist Brian Glynn with the Department of Fish and Game said.

"Escapement" is the portion of the run that survives to reach the spawning grounds.

Resident sport anglers in the Juneau area can use two rods per person and take three kings 28 inches in length or greater, instead of two. The liberalized regulations are in effect until June 30.

"That's always a good thing," said Dan Miller about the eased regs while putting his boat, Solo Tu, into the water Thursday in preparation for a Sunday fishing trip.

The derby continues until the end of May.

Once the Taku kings enter the river, the hatchery kings start showing up.

"Hatchery returns should be about average, as hatchery smolt releases in the Juneau area have been relatively consistent in recent years," Glynn said.

Coho salmon production has been low over the past few years and is projected to continue this year, Glynn said. But milder river conditions suggests higher adult returns next year.

The Southeast Alaska pink salmon forecast for 2010 is only about 50 percent of the 10-year average. And for Southeast Alaska chum salmon, the forecast is about even with the recent three-year average.

The statewide commercial salmon harvest is projected to total 138 million salmon of all species, a decrease compared to last year.

Statewide commercial projections are similar to regional projections, with a decrease in pink salmon returns and coho and chum returns similar to last year.

The state's harvest projections are based on previous spawning levels, smolt outmigrations, returns of sibling age classes and survival rates observed for hatchery releases.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or kim.marquis@juneauempire.com.



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