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Copper River Sockeye Run Still Weak


  A weaker than expected return of Copper River Sockeye salmon kept the commercial fishery on the river delta closed this week, but the state still plans to hold the season’s first opening of the popular personal use upriver dipnet fishery at Chitina next week.  Area management biologist Mark


Sommerville says fish counts have been about half of what was expected, but there’s still enough for subsistence fishing and a limited initial dipnet opening.

"We're still not sure if we're looking at a reduced size of a run for Sockeye salmon. The first opener is going to be on the 7th, and it's going to be open 24 hours. The pre-season schedule for the week following that shows the entire week would be open, but looking at the sonar, at this point, I think that's going to be a shorter week, anywhere from two-four days, rather than the full week.”

Sommerville says Sockeye runs this late are pretty rare.  He says the much smaller Copper River Chinook stock initially appeared to be coming back closer to forecast, but those counts have recently slowed.