Chum catches strong in second week
Gillnetters netted 120,000 hatchery chums during a three-day opening in Lynn Canal last week, as a record number of boats – 135 from all around Southeast – crowded the fishery.
There were nearly three times as many boats in the local fishing district as there were in any other district, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
Besides good fishing here, catches elsewhere in Southeast were relatively weak, helping draw boats here, said commercial fisheries biologist Randy Bachman. “It was a combination of things.”
Historically, about 70 boats fish Lynn Canal in the second week of gillnetting.
Last week, vessels averaged 889 chums and 30 sockeye each. The Boat Harbor terminal harvest area was opened indefinitely.
Sockeye escapement at Chilkoot weir reached 15,000 at the end of last week, the highest escapement for the week since 1992, when escapement was at 16,000 reds. The average for the week is 4,000 reds, Bachman said.
District 15A north of Seduction Point on the east side of Lynn Canal was closed to protect Chilkat Lake sockeye escapement.
About 3,000 sockeye had passed Chilkat Lake weir as of last week, about 1,000 sockeye above the average for the week. “It’s early to start worrying about Chilkat Lake,” Bachman said.
Due to high water flows, fish wheels were stopped June 23-26 on the Chilkat and some pickets were pulled at the Chilkoot weir June 22-27, Bachman said.
A tugboat and barge servicing the Kensington mine apparently hooked one net while trying to navigate through the fleet at the south end of Berners Bay last week. Tom Gemmell of United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters said the skipper of the vessel has been advised to avoid boats there by staying west of Vanderbilt Reef.