A preliminary outlook for Yukon Chinook salmon timing released in May by the Alaska Ocean Observing System advises being prepared for an early run of kings on the Yukon Delta.
The earliest scenario would see increasing numbers of Chinook entering the lower river during the last week of May, with the first significant jump in abundance around the end of the first week in June, AOOS said.
The forecast of the dates of percentiles of the Chinook run for the Yukon River delta has been posted by AOOS since the 2012 season, along with a qualitative assessment of the timing for each season in the context of historical spring weather conditions.
Last year, due to warm water conditions in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, the conventional wisdom called for an early run on the delta, similar to the very early run in 2014.
Nonetheless the timing forecast model predicted slightly late run in2015, and the companion timing outlook called for an average to late run, in contradiction of conventional wisdom. Since 2015 turned out to be a late run the outlook and forecast helped fishery managers put the incoming test fishing catch information in its proper context.
This timing and environmental information is intended for use by fishery managers, residents of Yukon River communities and others to estimate when the king run will reach the delta and how it will develop through June and July of this year.
The outlook and its associated forecast are based on historical fish and environmental variables.
AOOS, online at www.aoos.org, focuses on safe marine operations, coastal hazard mitigation, tracking ecosystem and climate trends, and monitoring water quality.
Its stakeholders and users include mariners, fishermen and subsistence users, search and rescue operations, scientists, coastal security operations, resource managers, educators and others who ply Alaska’s oceans for their livelihood, subsistence or recreation.