Salmon pile up waiting to go upstream       Credit:

Alaska’s statewide salmon catch has topped 155 million fish, or 73 percent of the preseason forecast of 213 million salmon.

Many fishermen have called it a wrap but a 30 million salmon catch through August 19 was the largest weekly harvest of the 2019 season.

The push was due mostly to strong pink salmon catches at Prince William Sound, Kodiak – and Southeast finally got a surge of pinks – catches there jumped from 11 million to almost 17 million in a week, close to the 18 million expected.


Add in the South Peninsula’s whopping 15 million humpy haul this summer and total Alaska pink salmon catches have topped 87 million, 63 percent of the preseason forecast.

Sluggish chum salmon catches of 12.5 million are way off pace in what was supposed be a record setting 29 million fish.

Southeast fishermen are hoping for a late season bump for chums but it’s unlikely they’ll see the 18 million projected catch. They’ve taken just 3.3 million chums so far, off by more than half from last year.

For cohos, a catch last week of 265,000 was a weekly best but overall production is off by about 30 percent from last year. All regions continue to yield modest volumes.

Chinook salmon volume at 230,000 is down about five percent year to year but Southeast should see an uptick in catches.

Alaska’s total sockeye catch of 55 million came in at 131 percent over the forecast thanks to a 43 million haul at Bristol Bay.

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Based on five year averages, around 300,000 reds per week could continue to be landed through early September.

Our numbers come from ADF&G’s daily Blue Sheet and ASMI’s weekly update from the McDowell Group.