Kodiak and Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands Management Area
Fishing Research

Road System Research

Fish WeirBuskin River
The Buskin River, located approximately 2 miles from the city of Kodiak, is the most heavily fished drainage in the Kodiak Regulatory Area. Federally qualified subsistence users harvest sockeye and coho salmon on the Buskin River. The Federal Subsistence Board has identified salmon from the Buskin River drainage as an important resource for customary and traditional use by Kodiak residents.

Annual operation of salmon escapement weirs on the Buskin River allows for in season management of the subsistence fishery as well as the development and evaluation of a biological escapement goal (BEG) for sockeye salmon and a sustainable escapement goal (SEG) for coho salmon. Weir counts are needed to ensure that both escapement goals are met annually and maximum harvest opportunities for federal subsistence users are sustained.


The long-term goal of this project is to evaluate the BEG for sockeye salmon and SEG for coho salmon. To accomplish this, total return by age will be constructed including estimates of the spawning escapement and of the subsistence, sport, and commercial harvest. Specific objectives are as follows:

Sockeye Salmon

  • Annually census the sockeye salmon escapement into Buskin Lake.
  • Estimate the age composition of the sockeye salmon run to Buskin Lake.
  • Measure sockeye salmon scales for freshwater and saltwater growth phases.
  • Reevaluate the sockeye salmon BEG.
  • Provide education and career development opportunity for Alaska Natives and federally qualified subsistence users.
Fish Seine

Sockeye salmon spawning escapement will be censused through a weir at the outlet of Buskin Lake from approximately May 15 to July 31, which will account for over 91% of the migration (based on the recent 10-year average). A beach seine is used to sample the run for age, sex and length at the Buskin Lake outlet.

Coho Salmon

  • Annually census the coho salmon escapement into the Buskin River.
  • Estimate the age composition of the coho salmon run in the Buskin River escapement.
  • Index the inseason run of coho salmon in each of the American, Olds, and Pasagshak river drainages.
  • Index the postseason spawning escapement of coho salmon in 9 selected streams by foot survey.
  • Estimate the abundance of coho salmon migrating into the Pasagshak system via a mark-recapture study.

Coho salmon escapement will be censused through a weir operated on the lower Buskin River. Operation of the weir in the lower river is necessary due to the significant level of spawning activity below Buskin Lake. The weir will be operational from approximately August 1 to September 30, which accounts for over 85% of the migration (based on the recent 10-year average). A fish trap is used to sample the run for age, sex and length at the lower Buskin River weir.