Salmon fishermen are back out on the water at Copper River…Bristol Bay is breaking records …

You can easily track Alaska’s salmon catches, daily and weekly with two free sources. The first is the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s so called Blue Sheet which updates salmon catches daily for every Alaska region from May through September.

Through June 9, for example, the Blue Sheet showed that nearly 26 million salmon had been taken so far – more than 19 million were sockeyes and over 5 million were chums.

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Along with the daily Blue Sheet, Fish and Game also provides a weekly in-season summary by region.

Weekly harvests are graphed to show the progression of commercial harvests for this season, with comparisons to last year and   5-year averages. The timing charts can be customized by region, area, district or fishery, and all five salmon species.

The summary shows, for example, that the Copper Rivers sockeye harvest is the lowest in 50 years.  Kodiak’s sockeye salmon harvest is the weakest in 38 years, and  no sockeye  harvest has occurred yet at Chignik.

Conversely, at the Nushagak District in Bristol Bay, for  the third time since 1884 more than 1 million sockeye salmon were harvested in a single day.

Another Alaska salmon source is the weekly harvest summary done by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. It also shows catches by region with comparisons to the previous year’s catch.

For last week, the summary shows that the pace of Alaska’s salmon harvest is about 25 percent below the same time last year, an improvement from last week.

Although the sockeye harvest so far is 20 percent below the previous year, the volume of 6.7 million reds set a record, thanks to the haul at Bristol Bay.

The summary calls the Cook Inlet sockeye harvest ‘stable’.

For chums. Or keta, the take so far is comparable to the five year average but lower than last year. Chum catches at Prince William Sound were especially strong with good chum takes also in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region.

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