After dipnet opener, Copper River run continues to lag

The sun sets over the harbor near downtown Cordova on Sunday, September 8, 2019. (Photo by Nat Herz / Alaska Public Media)

The Copper River sockeye salmon run continues to lag. Citing Monday’s numbers, State upper river management biologist Mark Sommerville says the sonar count and fishing both remain sub-par.

“The sonar count now we got a cumulative count now of 164,000 the objective for this date was 268,000, so we are still running about 100,000 short at the sonar. The first personal-use opener was about as expected — pretty slow for sockeye fishing. Most people we talked to were in the five to 15-fish range,” said Sommerville.

That’s well below the 25-sockeye season limit. Sommerville says most people were getting their limit of one king salmon. The weak return resulted in closure of Monday’s scheduled commercial opening on the Copper River Delta, where fishing has also been poor.  

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“The harvest to date is well below forecast,” he said.

Sommerville says the state is looking at holding a commercial opener Thursday depending on fish numbers. The next personal use dipnet opening at Chitina is set to run from noon Thursday until Midnight Sunday.

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