Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Bag limits for coho doubled


The Department of Fish and Game this week doubled bag limits on coho fishing, citing one of the strongest Chilkat runs in recent years.

Anglers can now take six coho per day and have 12 fish in possession.

The agency is projecting escapement of more than 100,000 fish, compared to an escapement goal between 30,000 and 70,000 fish. “There’s a lot of fish in the river,” said sportfish biologist Rich Chapell. “There’s a pretty good harvestable surplus.”

It’s been eight years since coho regulations have been so relaxed, he said.

Due to heavy rains, sportfishing harvest has been low. “It’s been high water with a lot of silt in it. Fishing hasn’t been good so far. As the temperature cools off and we get a break in the rain, the water should clear up.”

Coho catches typically peak in mid-October, roughly coinciding with Canadian Thanksgiving, a holiday that draws Yukon anglers to Haines.

Between 65,000 and 300,000 coho return each year to the Chilkat River, the second-largest coho stock in Southeast Alaska, after the Taku River.

Commercial and sport harvesters typically capture about 40 percent of the return, with the sportfish harvest averaging about 1,500 fish, according to Fish and Game.


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