Subsistence fishing for king salmon on the Stikine River near Wrangell won’t open this spring because of expected low returns.

The federal subsistence board May 8th announced the season for Stikine River kings that runs May 15th through June 20th will not open. Fishery managers forecast only 18,300 large adult kings will make it back to the river, which flows out of British Columbia into Southeast Alaska.

Fisheries on the river’s salmon stocks are managed by the U.S. and Canada under an international treaty. The forecasted returns are not high enough to allow a subsistence fishery. However the season could be opened later this spring if the actual number of returning kings is more than expected.

When the fishery is open, residents around Wrangell and Petersburg use gillnets on the river to harvest Stikine kings. Subsistence seasons for sockeye and coho this summer are not impacted by the king salmon closure.

The commercial fishery for Stikine kings is not open this month either and sport fishing around Wrangell and Petersburg has been restricted, but not closed, because of the low forecast.