The Carcross/ Tagish First Nation (CTFN) has a long history of cultural connections and subsistence interaction with Yukon River Chinook salmon. There are documented accounts of adult Chinook salmon in the Tagish River system between Marsh Lake and Tagish Lake and elsewhere in the southern lakes system, including at the bridge in Carcross. Residents, CTFN citizens and commercial fishers have caught Chinook salmon in the past within this system and in the summer of 2014 CTFN Heritage, Lands and Natural Resources department (HLNR) caught two adult male Chinook salmon in one net that had been set at Deep Bay near the southern end of Tagish Lake. This catch provides the furthest upstream record, as well as the most recent account of Chinook salmon activity within the Southern Lakes.
This project will research and document through an Environmental Scan, the historical and traditional knowledge of where salmon were historically caught and their spawning areas in the Southern Lakes up-river of Marsh Lake.
CTFNs long term goal is to have substantially more salmon using traditional spawning grounds up-river of Marsh Lake and ultimately in the Yukon River. This project is one component of a larger overall project designed to identify and characterize Chinook salmon spawning sites in the Southern Lakes, up-river of Marsh Lake, with the long-term objective of restoring and enhancing the productivity of those sites. CTFN’s objective for the work outlined in this R&E proposal, is to understand the historical distribution and relative abundance of Chinook in the upper reaches of the Yukon River watershed through the collection of historical data and traditional knowledge. Other components of the overall project will use that data to assist in identifying and characterizing existing and historical spawning sites.