A troller near Coronation Island in southern Southeast Alaska (Photo courtesy of Matt Lichtenstein)

Most of Southeast Alaska shuts down to commercial salmon trolling just before midnight Thursday, August 6th.  The fleet will have their second shot at king salmon this summer season over a week later.

The mid-summer closure is a normal management measure, allowing coho salmon to return to the inside waters of the panhandle. This eight-day closure is the same as last year, but that’s longer than usual because of low coho numbers.

Catches of coho in July were down by one third from last year and two-thirds below the recent five-year average. One bright spot, the price for troll-caught silvers is up from last year, averaging $1.73 a pound, up nine cents from last year.

After the coho closure, the second king opening of the summer starts August 15th. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game expects it could take around four to six days for the fleet to hit its remaining allocation of just over 50,000 chinook.

The first king opening lasted six days in early July. 602 permit holders landed over 71,000 kings. The summer price for chinook averaged $4.78 a pound, down 35 cents from last year’s price and nearly a dollar below the five-year average.

Some hatchery areas remain open for trollers targeting chum and other salmon during the region-wide closure.