16 July 2018, SSRAA Chum Common Property Update:
The more “outside” returns to Kendrick and Nakat should just be moving into the peak week of the return, and continue at some level into early August. The more “inside” runs, Neets and Anita, should peak at about the 25th of July or a few days later and remain strong into early August. There will also be both 3 and 4-year-olds coming back to Burnett Inlet this year, but we don’t have enough historic information to forecast this return. Our intent is to use what returns to Burnett as broodstock. Note, with the current extended period of high pressure (good weather), it looks as if the return is a few days late – which isn’t unusual.
Summer chum harvest (drift, seine, and troll) from all of the releases has been less than we would have anticipated at this date. This has been slightly confused by the lack of opportunity in time on the south end where there was no mid-week opening for the seine fleet. This had a greater impact on Kendrick, Neets, and Anita than on the Nakat fish.
While it certainly appears that the returns are less than anticipated, the male/female ratio is still predominantly male and the fish are still large, averaging close to 12 pounds in Neets Bay now. These indicators suggest we are still early in the return.
There is another factor that may confuse normal run tracking…at this moment the 3-year-olds are stronger than we anticipated while the 4’s and 5’s are not as strong as anticipated. We have mentioned in the past that both 3’s and 5’s tend to be slightly more male than female, while the 4’s are slightly more female that male. If the 3’s prove to be strong, and that is not certain until more time has passed, the run will reach its peak with a slight male predominance. Of course all of this is just conjecture until we can look at things in retrospect.
Observations: the fish are generally slightly larger than usual at 11 to 12 pounds now, the 3’s may be stronger than usual (though uncertain), and males still predominate in the return.
2018 SSRAA Summer Chum Returns through Stat Week 28 (7/15/2018):
|2018 Harvest||201 Forecast||% of Forecast Harvested|
|Neets Bay (w/cost rec.)||183,704||1,354.630||13.5%|
|Total Summer Chum||387,106||3,006,430||12.9%|
Note: Anita and Neets returns are generally at least a week to 10 days later than Nakat and Kendrick.
Many of you reading this may not know that the Department stopped sampling chum salmon catches some years ago. SSRAA currently samples Ketchikan and Wrangell processors daily, seven days a week, and collects thermal tags (otoliths) as well as size and male/female ratio information. SSRAA also processes the otoliths and reads the tags. The information is provided to ADF&G managers in real time…within the week harvest occurs.
SSRAA Harvest (Common Property and Cost Recovery) Update, 10 July 2018
It is too early in harvest for the normal detailed updates to be meaningful. It is possible to make general comments about the ongoing fisheries.
Summer Chum: Returns to all of SSRAA’s release sites are in the early stages. As usual, summer chum will return to Nakat and Kendrick earlier than Neets, Burnett, and finally the Anita Bay. They simply have further to go to get to the more “inside” sites. As I write it appears the returns to Nakat and Neets are in the ballpark of what was anticipated. The Kendrick return, on the other hand, is unusual in that at this point the 3’s are the predominant year class. This doesn’t mean this group is strong: more likely the 4-year-olds – that usually predominate -are not returning in anticipate numbers. It is too early to say anything about the returns to Anita Bay or Burnett except that some of these fish are already being caught.
Cost recovery at Neets Bay is slightly ahead of last year. Both this year and last year the fishery only started in earnest on about this date. Today less than 10% of the Neets cost recovery goal has been harvested.
Chum troll at Neets: there is greater effort this year, at this date, than we have seen for several years. The boat count yesterday was 58. Harvest, both per boat and total, has lagged recent years. And, there is more disparity between the individual boat harvest numbers…a bigger range in daily per boat harvest.
There has been some confusion about what is open and what is closed for troll at Neets Bay. The Bay (SHA) is now open from Bug Island outward to Chin Point – and into whatever area of the Behm that is currently open to troll. This area (Bug to Chin Point) will likely remain open after 31 July as on August 1 the SHA shrinks from the Chin Point Line to the Bug Island line…the area outside Bug is not in the SSRAA SHA after 1 August every year.
Chinook: we have not carefully tabulated chinook numbers and probably won’t do that until after the July chinook fishery is closed. Anita, Whitman Lake, Neets Bay, and Crystal Lake releases all produced noticeable adult harvest this spring. There are also some Deer Mountain fish in the harvest (Carroll Inlet and Ketchikan Creek), though only one year class was available at Carroll. Because of time and area constraints on the troll fishery, most of this harvest took place in terminal areas as opposed to spring troll corridor fisheries. Neets and Anita SHA’s were the primary producers for net fisheries while Mountain Point will probably prove the best producer for troll harvest of SSRAA fish.
Snow Pass Coho: SSRAA summer coho, released at Neck Lake and Whitman Lake Hatchery, are starting to show in the D106 drift harvest and sport harvest in Whale Pass and the Mountain Point area. About 2,000 coho were harvested in D106 during stat week 27. The survival of almost all coho (wild and enhanced) returning to southern SE in 2017, summer and fall fish, was poor to very poor. At this point the summer coho return this year seems similar. Historically these fish have not moved during extended periods of good weather (high pressure). This is certainly the case at the moment. We are hopeful that this will pick up, at least somewhat, with some weather.
Going Forward: We will begin providing the more usual detailed updates next week.