Yukon River salmon fishery open — for now

Commercial fishing on the Yukon River will be open until Friday, and there's encouraging signs that a healthy run of fall chum salmon is already on its way upriver.
After dwindling stocks, the Yukon salmon fishery will reopen on a limited basis. (Janet Jensen/Associated Press)

Commercial fishing on the Yukon River will be open until Friday.

The news on Tuesday is a bright light for Yukon fishing enthusiasts in an otherwise dark summer for fish stocks across the territory.

Salmon fishing on the Yukon River has been restricted all summer because of low numbers of Chinook salmon returning to spawn. But, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the Chinook have made it safely upriver, and now they're seeing a healthy run of fall chum salmon making its way upriver — enough to open a commercial fishing on a limited basis.

"The area that this commercial fishery would focus in we are quite confident that the chinook have moved through that system," Steve Smith, the area chief for the department of fisheries and oceans says. "We still have closures for the recreational fishery in the Johnson Crossing as well as the Tatchun Creek areas and that is just to protect those last Chinook on the spawning grounds."

Commercial fishing on the Yukon River was opened up near Dawson City at Noon today. Fishing will be allowed until Noon on Friday. But officials say depending on the level of interest and the size of the fall chum run, a second opening may be possible.