The sockeye salmon run to the Kenai River this summer should be average. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2019 Upper Cook Inlet salmon forecast, released on Friday.
The forecast run for the whole inlet is for 6,035,000 sockeye, which is above the 20-year average of 5.8 million.
The Kenai River has a total run projection of 3.8 million sockeye, about a quarter-million more than the average. The 2019 goal is for 1 million to1.3 million to escape to the spawning grounds.
The Kasilof River has a run of 873,000 forecast, down about 100,000 from the river’s 20-year average. The escapement range for the Kasilof is 160,000 to 340,000.
Farther north, the Susitna River has a run of 343,000 forecast, which about 35,000 fish below the 20-year average. Meanwhile, Fish Creek has a forecast that is 50 percent higher than average. With 124,000 sockeye expected to show up, the forecast is a solid 41,000 more than the 20-year mark.
The other four salmon species, while not commercially targeted, do have harvest forecasts attached to them. For pinks, it’s 103,000; chum, 175,000; silvers, 207,000; and 7,300 for the mighty chinook.