Winter king salmon in 2015. (Photo by Matt Lichtenstein)

Looking ahead to king salmon fishing next year, it’s expected to be poor on the Stikine and Taku Rivers. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which released its forecast for the two rivers in Southeast.

The Stikine and the Taku are both transboundary rivers that flow through the U.S. and Canada and both countries agree to follow limited harvests. Managers on both sides of the border want there to be enough kings to spawn for future years and, if possible, allow for subsistence, commercial and sport fishing. But next year, it doesn’t look like that will happen.

The forecasts for the Stikine and Taku king salmon are slightly better than 2019 but still way below the numbers biologists want to see returning to spawn.

The forecast for the Stikine River near Wrangell is 13,350 kings. That doesn’t meet the escapement goal range of 14,000 to 28,000 fish. That means there won’t be enough fish to allow for much commercial, sport or subsistence fishing in District 8 near the river.

Likewise, the forecast for the Taku River near Juneau is 12,400 king salmon, which is better than last year’s forecast of 9,050 but well below the escapement goal range between 19,000 and 36,000 fish. All fisheries in District 11 near the Taku will also be limited.

The largest king salmon run on record for the Stikine River was in 2006, which saw 90,000 kings.

On the Taku, the record year was 1997, at nearly 115,000 fish.