Promoting the Chum Salmon Angling Fishery

Chinook salmon numbers in the Canadian section of the Yukon River have been low in recent years, which has precluded non-First Nation Yukoners from fishing Chinook and resulted in reductions in the First Nation fishery. While Chinook numbers are low, mainstem chum have been more than sufficient for spawning escapement (70,000 to 104,000) and supporting a harvest. The harvest of chum in the Yukon has been around 3,000 per year since 2009.
The reasons for the small harvest are varied. The chum run is much later in the season (peak in September), which means children are in school, and it can be cold (good for storing chum, hard on boats, gear, and people). Perhaps the largest barrier to the fishery is a perception that chum salmon are dog food and not good for humans. This project is designed to change that perception and show anglers how to catch them. In addition to changing the perception that chum is not for humans, anglers need to be encouraged to catch chum in the Yukon River. The angling fishery on the Yukon River has essentially been closed since 2007 (with limited opportunities until 2011) resulting in Yukoners going to Haines, Alaska to fish. This project will showcase the Chum salmon angling opportunities here on the Yukon River to get Yukoners thinking about fishing for salmon here at home.