Common Property: Fall Coho

6
Oct

2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: October 6
The all gear harvest of the Chickamin stock (most SSRAA releases) decreased through the past 10 days as fisheries closed and effort decreased; and as the remaining fish moved to the terminal areas. The Klawock Lake stock (Klawock Hatchery) is an earlier stock and pretty much disappeared from harvest several weeks ago. There are still a handful of Chickamin fish being harvested by sport anglers in the Ketchikan area, but all commercial fisheries are closed and SSRAA is no longer fishing in Neets Bay.
The Klawock fish (Klawock Lake Stock) did relatively well in 2016, but none of the SSRAA traditional releases (Chickamin Stock) survived at a normal rate – which was also true in 2015; likely due to the same ocean conditions (the Blob) that affected southern SE pink salmon in 2015 and 2016. While total return numbers won’t be available or settled for another month, it is likely only a little more than 2% of the coho smolts released in the spring of 2015 will have survived to adult and returned in 2016. This is only about a third of the average survival rate of these releases. Unfortunately, just noted in recent articles that the demise of the Blob was prematurely reported last spring; it is still around.
The spike – in the attached graphics – in the harvest of SSRAA fish in 2016 is due solely to the inclusion of Klawock production in SSRAA numbers. These fish contributed heavily to troll; adding Klawock production has had the intended outcome of increasing the troll portion of the enhanced coho harvest and value. Due to the poor survival of SSRAA traditional releases and the relatively normal survival of Klawock fish, this difference was accentuated this summer. Klawock’s coho are harvested primarily by trollers while SSRAA’s traditional releases contribute more to a mixed harvest by the different gear groups.
All of the traditional graphics are included again this week. As is always the case, even this late in the season, use caution interpreting the graphs as some of the data is not complete related to the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues. We will update this data in another several weeks as a more of the information is available…regardless, the changes will not be significant.

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2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: September 24
The all gear harvest has increased through the past three weeks. The primary increase in late-season harvest is related to coho entering the drift harvest in Clarence Strait. This is dampened some as the Klawock fish are dropping out of harvest now. That is usually the case with the SSRAA Chickamin River stock from mid-September until the end of the fishery. We anticipate the more terminal (near the release sites) fisheries on these fish will continue into early October.
The Klawock fish (Klawock Lake Stock) did well in 2016, but none of the SSRAA traditional releases (Chickamin Stock) has done relatively well – which was also true in 2015; likely due to the same ocean conditions (the Blob) that affected southern SE pink salmon in 2015 and 2016. Unless there is a dramatic increase in harvest the next week, about 3% of SSRAA’s smolt release in 2015 will return as adults in 2016. This is less than half the average survival rate of these releases. Unfortunately, just noted in recent articles that the demise of the Blob was prematurely reported last spring; it is still around.
Please note that the spike in the harvest of SSRAA fish in 2016 is due to the inclusion of Klawock production in SSRAA numbers. These fish contributed heavily to troll; adding Klawock production has had the intended outcome of increasing the troll portion of the enhanced coho harvest and value.
All of the traditional graphics are included this week. As is always the case, use caution interpreting the graphs as it is too early for some of the data to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues. Coho data will not settle quickly.

 


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: September 17
The all gear harvest of SSRAA coho picked up two weeks ago, and even more this past week. The primary increase this week related to the SSRAA coho entering the drift fishery in Clarence Strait. That is usually the case from mid-September until the end of the fishery. We anticipate the more terminal (near the release sites) fisheries on these fish will continue into early October.
While Klawock Hatchery has done relatively well, none of the other SSRAA releases have survived particularly well – which was also true in 2015; likely due to the same ocean conditions (the Blob) that affected southern SE pink salmon in 2015 and 2016. Unless there is a dramatic increase in harvest the next two weeks, about 3% of SSRAA’s smolt release in 2015 will return as adults in 2016. This is less than half the average survival rate of these releases.
The spike in the harvest of SSRAA fish in 2016 is due to the inclusion of Klawock in SSRAA numbers. These fish contributed heavily to troll; adding Klawock production has had the intended outcome of increasing the troll portion of the enhanced coho harvest and value.
All of the traditional graphics are included again this week. As is always the case, use caution interpreting the graphs as it is too early for some of the data to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues. Coho data will not settle quickly.


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: September 10
The all gear harvest of SSRAA coho picked up this past week. That is usually the case through these stat weeks. Troll harvest of these fish has been steady the past three weeks. The gill net harvest increased in this past week; regardless, it is well below what we normally see – primarily in District 106.
It is of some interest that a good number of fish have already reached the raceways at Whitman Lake, more than we would normally expect related to the number that have been caught in common property fisheries. We are also harvesting coho at the barrier seine in Neets Bay, not large numbers, but they have been there for about a week. Chum/coho trollers are catching some of these fish in the mouth of Neets Bay. We anticipate this fishery will continue into October…or as long as local processors are willing to buy the fish.
While Klawock Hatchery has done relatively well, none of the other SSRAA releases have survived particularly well – which was also true in 2015; likely due to the same ocean conditions (the Blob) that affected southern SE pink salmon in 2015 and 2016.
The spike in the harvest of SSRAA fish in 2016 was due to the inclusion of Klawock in SSRAA numbers. These fish contributed heavily to troll; their inclusion has had the intended outcome of increasing the troll portion of the enhanced coho harvest and value.
All of the traditional graphics are included again this week. As is always the case, use caution interpreting the graphs as it is too early for some of the data to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues. Coho data will not settle quickly.


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: September 5
It is no longer early in the season for SSRAA’s traditional fall coho. These are late-run fish, and it is getting “late”. In the very early stages of the return this looked like a strong run, but that assessment has changed. At this point it does not look like a strong return. As recent as 2014, SSRAA’s coho return (excluding Klawock) was as large as it has ever been, close to 700,000 fish total. This year’s total return (excluding Klawock) will be closer to 200,000 coho. The past two returns (2015 and 2016) have not survived well, likely due to the same ocean conditions (the Blob) that affected southern SE pink salmon in the same seasons.
The spike in the harvest of SSRAA fish in 2016 was due to the inclusion of Klawock in SSRAA numbers. These fish contributed heavily to troll; their inclusion has had the intended outcome of increasing the troll portion of the enhanced coho harvest and value.
All of the traditional graphics are included again this week. As is always the case, use caution interpreting the graphs as it is too early for some of the data to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues. Coho data will not settle quickly.


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production:  August 13, 2016

It is still early in the season to assess SSRAA’s traditional fall coho. These are late-run fish.  Several weeks ago there were enough of the fish in the harvest to feel good about the run, but there has not been a lot behind that in the interim.  This seems to mirror the entire fall coho return.  At this point, does this relate to coho behavior or overall survival?  It’s not possible to answer now; harvest in the next two weeks will answer the question. We don’t often see the peak of this return until mid-September – so waiting another two weeks to assess the return is not unusual. The troll coho closure has just ended as this is being written…the troll fleet is on these fish again.

Unlike the traditional SSRAA fall coho, the Klawock coho are an early fall coho.  Inclusion of these fish dramatically changes the appearance of the total SSRAA coho return. The different appearing graphics are related to adding Klawock to SSRAA’s program, not because the Chickamin return is stronger than usual.  The harvest of Klawock fish was trending upward as the troll coho closure was put in affect.  While we expect to see these fish in the data for some time, we may have just moved past the peak of their return.

All of the traditional graphics were included again this week.  Caution, it is too early for some of these graphs to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion – which is exaggerated this year by current State fiscal issues.  Coho data will not settle quickly.


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: August 9, 2016
It is still too early in the season to assess the return of SSRAA’s traditional fall coho, Chickamin River Stock. These are late-run fish. They are already in the harvest, but we don’t often see the peak of this return until mid-September. Early assessment of this run is always complicated by the lag in coded wire tag processing and tag expansion, which can take at the least several weeks after harvest to produce representative numbers.
Unlike the traditional SSRAA fall coho, the Klawock coho are an early fall coho. Inclusion of these fish dramatically changes the appearance of the total SSRAA coho return. The different appearing graphics are related to adding Klawock to SSRAA’s program, not because the Chickamin return is different from usual. Note that with the addition of Klawock, trollers have already harvested more SSRAA coho than they were able to harvest last year…granted last year was a poor return.
All of the traditional graphics were included this week. Caution, it is too early for some of these graphs to be meaningful related to the time of return and the lag in tag processing and expansion. Coho data does not settle quickly.


2016 SSRAA Coho, Including Klawock Hatchery Production: 23 July 2016
The Chickamin River stock of fall coho is used at most of SSRAA’s sites, Neets Bay, Nakat Inlet, Anita Bay, and Whitman Lake. The summer coho released in Whale Pass and at Burnett Inlet Hatchery are from Reflection Lake. The fall coho released at Crystal Lake Hatchery are from Crystal Creek. Klawock just became a SSRAA facility, Klawock Lake coho are used at Klawock Hatchery. All these stocks are different from one another. The Chickamin fish are late-run coho with the majority of the fish harvested from August through September – sometimes into October in the terminal areas. The fish are larger than average fall coho, often averaging well over 10 pounds in the terminal fisheries. The summer coho at Neck Lake and Burnett Inlet are early run fish, entering the fishery in mid June with some fish harvested into mid-August. The summer fish are smaller, averaging from 5 to 7.5 pounds. The Crystal Lake release is relatively small, primarily to replace the fish in Crystal Creek when the hatchery program blocked the creek to anadromous fish. The run is an earlier than the Chickamin fish and the fish are smaller. The Klawock Coho also return earlier than the Chickamin fish. These fish are smaller, usually averaging 6 pounds plus or minus.
As was the case in 2016, the SSRAA fall coho started showing up in the coded wire tag database in stat week 27 two weeks later than the previous two years. This is not a real difference as very few fish show up this early in the season, stat 25, 26, or 27. The largest numbers of fish are released from Neets Bay and Klawock (more than 4 million smolt each for the 2016 return). While it is still too early in the fishery to project the size of the return, considering the early numbers in the troll harvest, it looks like there will be a substantial return…just not how substantial. Because of the inclusion of Klawock Hatchery, it isn’t possible to compare this year’s SSRAA return with past seasons. The Klawock coho are earlier than the historic SSRAA fish. These are the fish causing the early spike, exceeding past production, in the return. The traditional stock of Chickamin fish is also starting to show up in troll.
Harvest distribution of the two stocks is different. Trollers are the primary harvester of each stock; but good numbers of Klawock fish are also harvested in seine fisheries while the Chickamin fish contribute to late-season drift fisheries. Klawock coho are almost all caught in outside waters while the Chickamin fish are caught both in outside waters and inside corridors as they return to Neets Bay and other SSRAA release sites.
We report independently on the Snow Pass summer coho on the web page. Those fish are included in some of the graphics (“harvest by gear type”). Summer coho (We call them Snow Pass Coho.) comprise almost all the drift coho harvest at this date. Fall fish enter the drift harvest in District 101, 106, and 108 fisheries primarily in September.
Coho data does not resolve itself as quickly as thermal tags in SSRAA chum or coded wire tags in chinook. Because of the volume of tags recovered, coho tags take longer to process, read, and expand to represent harvest. There is some frustration as the numbers “settle” through two or three weeks after the harvest with continual changes in tag expansion estimates: coho graphics will lag one stat week.