Chinook run strengthens, finally

This time last year, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in had finished their catch of chinook salmon for the season. This totaled around 1,000 fish.

This time last year, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in had finished their catch of chinook salmon for the season.

This totaled around 1,000 fish.

But by the end of last week, they had hardly any.

“We were a little concerned,” said Tr’ondek Hwech’in fish and wildlife manager James MacDonald from Dawson City.

The First Nation met with the department of Fisheries and Oceans and were reassured that the salmon were on their way, said MacDonald.

“They said they were about a week late.”

And they were right.

Chinook salmon are finally flowing down the Yukon River.

They’ve peaked in Dawson.

So far 38 fish have climbed the fish ladder around the Whitehorse Rapids Dam.

Some have even reached as far as Teslin.

The Tr’ondek Hwech’in were busy pulling in what they could this weekend, as where other First Nations and commercial fisheries along the river.

The fish are late because of an ice blockage at the mouth of the Yukon River that didn’t thaw until late spring.

But by now, about 32,000 chinook have already passed the Alaska-Yukon border, according to biologist Pat Milligan at the department of Fisheries and Oceans.

There are still about another 15,000 to go, he said.

“We have an anticipated total return this year of 47,000.”

That’s about 5,000 more than last year.

A three-day opening for commercial fishing closed today at noon.

This will be the last commercial opening for Chinook salmon this year, said Milligan.

The average commercial catch between 1961 and 2004 was about 6,000 fish, but this year, Milligan expects only 2,000 to be caught.

“As of late last week, the commercial catch was around 1,600,” he said.

“Recent totals are way down from what they used to be in the mid 1990s,” he said.

Aboriginal fishing has so far caught more than 6,000 fish.

Milligan expects recreational fishing to bring in at least 300 and domestic fishing — allowed for certain people residing in remote areas — less than 100.

The total catch should end up being about 8,000, which leaves about 39,000 to reach their spawning grounds throughout the Yukon, he said.

This year Alaska harvested around 46,000 salmon in its commercial fisheries and another 50,000 is expected in its subsistence fishery for native and non-native people in rural areas.

About half of this is Canadian-origin fish.

“They’re catching fish that are also bound for US tributaries,” said Milligan.

Staff of the Whitehorse fish ladder expect fewer fish will be going over this year than last, said manager Jody Giesbrecht.

“We might be lucky if we get 2,000 fish through on this run,” Giesbrecht said.

Last year there were 2,600.

Giesbrecht expects the run to peak about August 15th, the day of the fish ladder will hold its visitor appreciation night.

“We’re having free refreshments, door prizes and a few games for the kids,” she said.

“We hold the salmon all afternoon so hopefully we’ll have a full tank for the entire evening.”

The chinook can also be caught live on camera at www.yukonerergy.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read