Alaska salmon seiner  Credit: ASMI

Salmon fishing is still sluggish in most Alaska regions so far, with a few exceptions. The statewide catch through yesterday topped 6.5 million fish, well below the five year average of nearly 15.5 million salmon.

Sockeye landings are down by more than 70 percent from this time last year, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s weekly salmon update.

The harvest at Bristol Bay has been especially slow so far, with production down nearly 80 percent, year to date.

Cook Inlet sockeye catches also are lagging behind last year; likewise, at the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian regions. landings there so far are the strongest in the state.

The peak for pink salmon is typically in late July and early August, but the Alaska Peninsula is leading all regions for catches so far.

Kodiak also is seeing ok catches of pinks and is 85 percent ahead of 2019 chum landings

Overall, Alaska’s chum harvest is down nearly 40 percent from last year and off by 50 percent from the five year average.

Anecdotal reports say the average sizes of sockeye are down at Bristol Bay and the same for pinks at the AK Peninsula.

Chinook salmon in Southeast also are smaller, on average. The fish are weighing in at 11.7 pounds on average, down two pounds compared to the past five years.

But trollers did get some good news: the summer fishery that opens July 1 can target 83,900 treaty kings, up 51 percent from last year

Alaska is projecting a total statewide salmon catch this year of 132 million fish, down 36 percent from 2019. There’s lots of fishing left to go.

ASMI’s  weekly salmon report is compiled by the McDowell Group.