This year was not a great year for Salmon Returns in Haines Alaska. Haines Alaska Fishing was hampered by a closer of the Chilkat River to King Salmon Fishing. Just when you thought it wasn’t going to get worse, the Chilkat River was extra high this year, the high water and high silt content made fishing even more difficult.
So what does it mean when the fishing is hard? Should you take your rod and lock it in the shed? Should all the Yukon fishermen stay in Canada? Of course not.
There are always places that the fish will be. Salmon are predictable, and even in the silty Chilkat there are areas where streams feed into the river and the water clears up. There are places where the current changes and the salmon will stack up, and most of all, there are places that you will catch fish.
With low salmon counts a personal moral question comes up: if don’t need to go meat fishing, should you take fish out of an already reduced spawning pool? Personally I don’t. When I know that I am not going to be keeping the fish I catch I use barbless hooks, and never fish with baits that will be taken deeply. Handling the fish properly also helps to ensure their survival. I always say, do NOT pull fish out of the water if you do not need to, and if you intend to release them.
Good luck next fishing season, whether you are fishing in the Chilkat River for Silver Salmon, or somewhere else, remember to conserve our resources and enjoy the time you spend on the water.