The Fishing Branch River is a major spawning destination for Porcupine River chum salmon. Past R&E work has indicated that in excess of 65% of chum salmon in the upper Porcupine River have been known to spawn in the upper reaches of the river, above the site of the DFO enumeration weir. The 2011 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan developed by DFO and the Yukon River Panel included an escapement goal of 20,000 to 49,000 chum salmon at the Fishing Branch weir. However, since 2006, counts at the weir have been displaying a downward trend and fallen within the lower end of, or below this range during the last several years. In addition, recent chum salmon returns at the Fishing Branch weir have been lower relative to Yukon River border escapement than historical returns, despite active in-season harvest management.
The overall objective of this project is to collect baseline information on chum salmon spawning ecology in the Fishing Branch which may help to explain the decline in the stock and/or inform potential restoration activities for chum in the watershed.