Upper Copper River King Salmon Annual Limit Reduced
The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 21, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is reducing the sport fish annual limit of king salmon 20 inches or longer for the Upper Copper River drainage from 4 to 1 fish. Any king salmon harvested from the Upper Copper River drainage prior to June 21 will not count toward the 1 fish annual limit.
The 2021 Copper River king salmon run appears to be substantially weaker than the preseason forecast of 37,000 king salmon. As of June 15, the cumulative commercial harvest is approximately 6,100 king salmon, which is half the most recent five-year average for this date. Gulkana River tower counts and data from fish wheels at Baird and Canyon Creek indicate the escapement goal of 24,000 king salmon for the Copper River drainage may not be achieved. Therefore, reducing the annual limit for king salmon 20 inches or longer from 4 to 1 fish is justified to ensure the achievement of the sustainable escapement goal.
ADF&G will continue to evaluate in-season run strength and may take additional management action as needed to ensure that escapement requirements are met while providing as much sport fishing opportunity as possible.