Yakutat, Alaska (KINY) - Yakutat District Ranger Lee Benson, under authority delegated by the Federal Subsistence Board, has announced that the Situk River will be closed to the harvest of Chinook Salmon from 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Jun. 1 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jul. 30 due to conservation concerns.
The use of bait and gillnets is prohibited in the Situk River when fishing for other species during this closure to minimize the incidental mortality of Chinook Salmon.
Incidentally caught Chinook Salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has also taken action to close State commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries to conserve returning Situk River Chinook Salmon.
ADF&G has set the biological escapement goal (BEG) for the Situk River drainage at 450-1,050 large (>28 inches) Chinook Salmon.
The return of large Chinook Salmon to the Situk River has been below the goal in five of the last ten years.
Since 2010, the goal was achieved in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2019-2022 after restrictive management measures were implemented.
Even though the 2023 forecast is within the escapement goal, the wide margin of error in the estimated run and chronic low returns require a conservative approach to ensure the BEG is achieved and allow as many Chinook Salmon as possible to reach the spawning grounds.