Division of Sport Fish
Dave Rutz, Director

Anchorage Headquarters Office
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner

P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526

Advisory Announcement
(Released: June 23, 2021)

CONTACT: Mark Somerville
Area Management Biologist
(907) 822-3309

Copper River King Salmon Sport Fisheries Closed

(Glennallen) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is restricting sport fisheries for king salmon in the Upper Copper River drainage.

The Upper Copper River king salmon sport fisheries upstream of Haley Creek are closed effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 26. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. All king salmon incidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, the use of bait is prohibited in the Gulkana, Klutina, and Tonsina rivers and the Copper River mainstem from the Slana River to Haley Creek.

The Copper River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 24.361) directs ADF&G to manage the Copper River fisheries to achieve a sustainable escapement goal to the Copper River of 24,000 or more king salmon. The 2021 king salmon run to the Copper River is substantially weaker than the preseason forecast of 37,000 king salmon. Catch rates of king salmon in the Native Village of Eyak research fish wheels through June 22 are the third lowest on record since 2003 and recapture rates indicate a potential inriver return below the Copper River drainage king salmon escapement goal, providing no surplus for harvest. Additionally, only 132 king salmon have passed the Gulkana River salmon counting tower as of June 22, which is the second lowest count on record for this date and 79% below average. Therefore, prohibiting the retention of king salmon in the Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence salmon fishery and the Upper Copper River king salmon sport fisheries is justified to ensure sustainable escapement.