There are five species of salmon caught in Southeast Alaska: kings (chinook), silvers (coho), pinks (humpies), chums (dogs), and sockeye (reds).
Kings are managed under an international treaty between the U.S and Canada. The number of kings allowed to be caught in Southeast Alaska each year is determined by a number called the Abundance Index (AI). The AI for the coming season isn’t made official until the first week of April. Once the AI is determined, the number is plugged into the State of Alaska’s king salmon plan which allocates the fish between the sport and commercial fisheries. If the AI is very high, the non-resident limit is 1 per day and 5 per year. Moderate levels yield limits of 1 per day and 4 per year. Low but not disastrous levels yield 1 per day and 3 per year. If the AI gets too low, we’ll see additional constraints on catch. We should know the 2013 numbers and our salmon regulations for this year by Friday, April 5. We’ll post this information the moment we get it, so stay tuned.
The regulations with the other species are far less complicated:
Silver Salmon (coho): Silvers generally show up sometime in late June or early July. The stocks are strong throughout southeast Alaska. Daily limit 6, no annual limit
Chum Salmon (dog): Chums are seldom a big part of our catch. We often see a few chums in late May and early June, then none until the main run shows up in July. They are hard fighting and no matter what anyone tells you, a bright ocean caught chum is a fine eating fish. Limit 6 per day, no annual limit.
Pink salmon (humpies): Pinks arrive in late June and early July most years. Pinks are not held in high regard by sport fishermen because they don’t get very large, the fight isn’t that exciting, and they aren’t as good to eat as the other species. Limit 6 per day, no annual limit.
Sockeye salmon (reds): These salmon are plankton feeders and caught very rarely in the salt water around Sitka. The big sockeye runs are farther north and west in Alaska. Daily limit 6, no annual limit.
Update – 4-4-13
We promised to post the regulations as soon as they came in. Here are the 2013 King Salmon regulations for Southeast Alaska. We will provide a breakdown of what this means for anglers coming to Sitka this summer, in tomorrow’s blog post.