Last night’s Taku & Chilkat River Chinook Salmon Symposium, hosted by Territorial Sportsmen at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, was well attended by Juneau locals wondering what’s going on with our kings.
The overarching answer? We have no clue.
Despite having 24 years of full stock assessment data, some of the only defensible wild king salmon data in existence, the closest answer science can provide is that there has been a significant drop in marine survival in the critical first few months to a year at sea. It might be predators, water temperature changes, fishing, or any number of interactive causes. The complex and highly variable migration patterns of kings once they hit the ocean doesn’t help us much, either.