PETERSBURG, AK Gillnetters and trollers may not get a chance to fish for king salmon returning to the Stikine and Taku rivers in Southeast Alaska next May. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Friday released forecasts for the two transboundary rivers. Fishing opporunity on Stikine and Taku salmon stocks is governed by a joint agreement between the United States and Canada. Fishery managers expect 23,000 kings to return to the mouth of the Stikine River, near Wrangell, and a little over 41,000 kings to reach the mouth of the Taku River, south of Juneau. Gillnetting and trolling near both rivers won’t open in the early part of May. Fishery managers will wait for some actual returns to comeup with an in-season forecast in the middle of that month and then decide whether to hold any openings for the Taku fish. If it holds up, the Taku forecast would allow a harvest of just under 1,800 chinook. Fishing on the Stikine River run could happen if in-season numbers turn out much higher than the forecast. Commercial fisheries on the Stikine and Taku stocks re-opened in 2005 for the first time in decades. Combined sport and commercial harvests in the Stikine fishery have dropped since 2005’s catch of just under 30,000. Last year the Stikine run also did not allow for a directed fishery. In fact, the 2009 run came in at a little under half of the preseason forecast of 32,000 chinook. Bill Davidson, Fish and Game’s regional salmon management coordinator, discussed the preseason forecasts.
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