For Pinks, Opener a Good Sign, Not a Promise of a Plentiful Season

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Salmon counts are low across the state, and it’s too early in the pink salmon season to tell if it’ll turn around. That’s according to Fish and Game area management biologist, James Jackson, who says they had a great pink opener last week.

“We had really good catches, especially on the south end of the island,” he says. “On an average, odd year opener for those three days, we typically harvest somewhere between 100 to 250,000 pinks and, that three day opener, we caught about 700,000 pinks, so it was a really good showing.”

But a good start doesn’t mean a good finish.

“It’s way too early to make any inferences about how well the pink run is doing right now. We just started pink management last week,” says Jackson. “Every once in a while, you get a lot of traveling fish that pass through Kodiak. We’re an island in the middle of the gulf. Fish swim around us from all over the place. And so, just because we had really good catches last week doesn’t necessarily equate to a good run to Kodiak. It’s a good sign for right now.”

Jackson says the forecast for wild stock pink salmon is poor this year.

“I think we only have a harvest estimate around 7 million, which for the wild stock is not very good, so our early pink salmon weekly openings are set at 57 hours. Right now those early catches would indicate that that’s maybe a little off, but like I said, it’s too early to tell,” says Jackson.

Fish and Game announced an opener for yesterday and the next one is fast approaching.

“Usually by the third opener, so the third weekly opener, the third week of July, you can kinda look at the harvest and, if it’s above average, and if you fly some aerial surveys, and you have good buildup of pink salmon in the bays and good early escapement, then you can kind of gauge the run. You can tell ‘okay, this is a good run or this is not a good run,” says Jackson.

According to a Fish and Game announcement, the current 57-hour commercial salmon fishing period continues until Wednesday.

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