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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Kodiak Management Area
Fishing Research - Buskin River

Federally qualified subsistence users harvest sockeye and coho salmon on the Buskin River drainage which is located approximately 2 miles from the city of Kodiak and salmon from this drainage have been identified by the Federal Subsistence Board as a resource important for customary and traditional use by the residents of Kodiak. Annual operation of salmon escapement weirs on the Buskin River and a key tributary stream allow for inseason management of the subsistence fishery as well as the development and evaluation of biological escapement goals (BEG). Weir counts are needed to ensure that the BEG is met annually and maximum harvest opportunities for federal subsistence users are sustained.

Objectives

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

Sockeye Salmon

  • Annually census the sockeye salmon escapement into Buskin Lake from early June to early August, into Louise Lake from early June to late August, and into the mouth of the Buskin River drainage (at Bridge 2) from early August through early October.
  • Annually estimate the sex and age composition of the sockeye salmon run to Buskin Lake, combining subsistence harvest in the Chiniak Bay section and escapement.
  • Annually estimate the sex and age composition of the sockeye salmon run to Louise Lake.

Coho Salmon

  • Annually census the coho salmon escapement into the Buskin River from early August to early October.
  • Annually estimate the sex and age composition of coho salmon in the Buskin River sport harvest.
  • Annually estimate the sex and age composition of coho salmon in the Buskin River escapement.

Sockeye salmon spawning escapement will be censused through a weir at the outlet of Buskin Lake between early June and early August. Based on escapement timing over the last ten years, about 97% of the migration into Buskin Lake is anticipated to occur by August 1. The sockeye salmon escapement into Lake Louise, a tributary of the Buskin River will also be enumerated from early June through late August. Fish traps used to sample the runs for age, sex and length will be operational at the Buskin and Louise Lake outlets beginning in early June.

Coho salmon escapement will be censused through a weir operated on the lower Buskin River at Bridge 2. 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 early August to early October. Based on historic migratory timing, this time frame should account for over 99% of the migration.