Alaska Fisheries Sonar

Chilkat River

The return of sockeye salmon to Chilkat Lake occurs over a long season. Chilkat sockeye salmon begin to return in May and continue to arrive into November. The vast majority arrive from June to October and the returns peak in September.

The Fish

Sockeye salmon originating in Chilkat Lake contribute significantly to the Lynn Canal commercial drift gillnet fishery. Chilkat Lake has produced annual commercial sockeye salmon harvests as high as 168,000 in 1986, with an average harvest of about 85,000 fish from 1976 to 2007. In addition to the commercial harvest, sockeye salmon originating from Chilkat Lake are also taken in the Haines area subsistence fishery. Reported subsistence harvests in Chilkat Inlet and Chilkat River averaged approximately 6,700 sockeye salmon from 1990 to 2004.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages Chilkat Lake sockeye salmon according to a biological escapement goal of 70,000 to 150,000 fish. For inseason management, ADF&G relies on a lower Chilkat River fish wheel project, while a final escapement is determined based on Chilkat sonar site counts.