Chinook Salmon Research Initiative
Susitna River Chinook Salmon

Juvenile Abundance

Project Summary

Project Name:

Susitna River Juvenile Chinook Salmon Abundance


The Alaska Department of Fish and Game performed exploratory Chinook salmon juvenile work in the fall of 2013 using funds provided by a $2.5M Legislative CIP for Susitna salmon research. Prior to this work, the department conducted smolt marking feasibility studies during 1993-1997 that concluded Willow Creek (a Susitna River tributary) was the most suitable stock to describe the marine harvest of upper Cook Inlet Chinook salmon. During 1997-2002 juvenile Chinook salmon in Willow Creek were marked with coded wire tags and a weir was operated for adult Chinook salmon on Willow Creek to estimate the marked fraction. Salmon harvests were sampled as far away as Kodiak Island, and the contribution of Willow Creek Chinook salmon to marine commercial and sport fisheries was intermittent and low. During 1981-1985 the department operated the Susitna River Aquatic Studies program as part of the environmental assessments for a proposed hydroelectric project at Devils Canyon, which included juvenile salmon sampling, but not drainage-wide abundance estimates. At this time, the department is focusing efforts on estimating the drainage-wide escapement for adults and plans to continue feasibility work with juveniles in 2014 and intensive juvenile work in 2015.


Susitna River near Wasilla, Palmer, and Anchorage

Total Project Cost:


Project Dates:

2015, 2016

Project Type(s):

Juvenile abundance

Life Stage:



Susitna River Chinook salmon


Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
1800 Glenn Hwy., Suite 4
Palmer, AK 99645

Fishery Biologist 3

Nicholas Decovich
Phone: (907) 267-2239