Yukon chum salmon returns low so far

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2009

FAIRBANKS - The Yukon River fall chum salmon run has been poor, worrying subsistence fishermen hoping to use chums to replace kings.

The chum run so far has been the worst on record.

As of Friday, about 150,000 fish had passed a sonar counter at Pilot Station, about 120 miles upstream from the mouth of the Yukon. Normally, more than 350,000 fish have passed the village by now.

The Pilot Station sonar count is the lowest it's been since the Department of Fish and Game started using that method in 1995.

Managers forecast a run of 650,000 fall chums. Fishery manager Fred Bue said there's a chance the run is later than normal this year but it's not looking good.

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