The Bethel Test Fishery is the best real-time tool there is to measure abundance of kings passing Bethel. At yesterday’s Working Group meeting some people were heard mentioning the “second pulse” that usually shows up this time of year. Unfortunately the BTF is not showing that, in fact, the numbers have been declining and are extremely low.
As of yesterday’s meeting the Department of Fish & Game wasn’t sure if the drainage-wide escapement of 65,000 kings would be met; if these numbers continue, it’s almost certain that that lower bound will not be met.
For now the weirs on the Tuluksak and Kwethluk are holding up well as far as water levels are concerned, but at least the Kogrukluk weir, the longest running project in the drainage, is likely getting washed out due to the heavy rains the middle Kuskokwim has been receiving the past few days.
The Kogrukluk weir is located approximately 100 miles upriver from Sleetmute on the Holitna and has been in operation for over 20 years; the BTF does a fairly good job of tracking with Kogrukluk weir as far as showing how the run eventually shaped up. It will be a shame if we don’t get good counts at the Kogrukluk or any other project this summer to determine the effectiveness of the management decisions.