Last Saturday the Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened part of Pullen Creek to king salmon fishing.
“We have a weir set up in Pullen Creek that we’re using to collect broodstocks for the hatchery king salmon program,” said Richard Chapell, a Haines/Skagway assistant area biologist.
“At the rate that the fish are coming in, we will get enough at that weir and we’re passing the excess salmon over the weir.”
All king salmon entering Pullen Creek pass through the weir, where fish needed for hatchery brood stocks are held in net pens.
Eggs and milk collected from these fish, are used to spawn king salmon at a hatchery in Juneau. The juveniles are transported back to the net pens at Pullen Creek. And excess brood stock is released into the wild.
“It provides angling opportunities for king salmon that would not otherwise exist,” said Chapell.
The creek is open for king salmon upstream of the markers at Pullen Pond in Skagway.
The regulations will remain lifted until mid-September.
“By regulations of the Skagway area, that’s when fishing is closed,” said Chapell. “Pullen Creek is closed to fishing, by regulation … from September 15 to November 30.
“I don’t know the history of (those dates). It’s probably to protect the Dolly Varden and coho stocks in that creek.”
Both natural and human influences can determine whether brood stock levels are met.
“Sometimes there’s been some vandalism at the weir, people have let the fish through, so they go up into the Pullen Creek drainage where we can’t catch them and use them for brood stock,” said Chapell. “So in past years we have come up short on our brood stock needs because of that vandalism.”
Both a 2008 king salmon tag and a 2008 sport fishing licence are required for anglers trying to land the royal fish.
However, exceptions to this requirement do exist and can be found in the Southeast Alaska sport fishing regulations summary. For example, nonresidents under 16 do not require licences, but do require a harvest record.
“They do not count towards the nonresident annual limit towards king salmon,” said Chapell. “So those fish do not have to be recorded on the back of the fishing licence.”