North

'Beautiful' chinook salmon at Whitehorse fish ladder

Jesse Trerice, fishway manager, says the run was average in terms of numbers, but the salmon were in fantastic physical condition this year.

Fishway manager credits fishing restrictions for the salmon's healthy appearance

Jesse Trerice, manager at the Whitehorse fish ladder, with one of the last chinook salmon to be counted at the fish ladder this summer. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

The Whitehorse fish ladder is now closed for another season, which has officials assessing the kind of salmon run it's been this year. They say it was average in terms of numbers, but the physical condition of the fish is what was noteworthy.

There were 1,461 chinook salmon counted, making their way up the fish ladder, around the Whitehorse dam, en route upriver to their spawning grounds, by the time the ladder closed for the year on Tuesday.

Jesse Trerice, fishway manager, says while the run was average, she noted that the salmon were in fantastic physical conditions this year. 

"Beautiful, we didn't see many net scars, none at all actually," she said.

Trerice credits Alaskans, who this year accepted severe fishing restrictions on the Yukon River to ensure maximum returns to the salmon spawning grounds in Canada.

"We're so thankful to those people who didn't fish the chinook," Trerice said. "We understand it's a huge request to ask of people."

Trerice says staff saw a lot of large females come through, this year, which is what they were hoping to see.

This season's salmon return to Canada broke a 10-year record, with more than 83,000 salmon migrating past the border counting station at Eagle, Alaska, into the Yukon. Last year's count was about 63,000.

The Whitehorse Fishway was built in 1959, one year after the Whitehorse dam was built. Chinook Salmon arrive here all the way from the Bering Sea at the mouth of the Yukon River. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

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